Entrepreneurs and leaders are often depicted as the Lone Ranger, riding out alone and striking a blow for justice. OK, he did have a trusty Native sidekick, Tonto, but really, the Lone Ranger was the one around whom things revolved.
That depiction as a rugged individualist doesn’t reveal the truth. When you become an entrepreneur or leader, it becomes immediately apparent that you’re not going to be doing this alone. You need other people to build your organization. You need other people in order to have real impact.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
The idea that you can go it alone just doesn’t mesh with our neurobiology. John Cacioppo’s neuroscience research indicates that we don’t derive strength from going it alone. We derive strength from our collective ability to work together.
We are hardwired for connection, and we suffer without it. Our impact suffers.
Impact as I define it, where your unique self meets the world and makes it a better place for all of us, is a two-parter. It’s not just about you (or your company) being your (its) amazing self, thought that is essential. It also about what you contribute, individually and as an organization.
To have impact, your circle of connection is indispensable. It includes everyone connected with your company: customers, team members, suppliers, collaborators. It includes everyone connected with you: colleagues, friends, family.
How much impact you have depends on the quality of your community, your circle of connection.
So choose them well. Choose those who will help you have the impact you want to have. Choose those whose impact you want to help support. And when you can’t choose them, in the case of family, choose who you will spend the most time with.
The quality of those connections matters.
How can you nurture and improve the quality of your valued connections?
- Spend time.
- Make an effort.
- Notice what will help them and offer that help or a way to get it.
- Appreciate who they are and what they bring, and let them know.
You may at times have to thin your circle. Nothing damages your impact faster than connections who drain your energy. It’s possible that you have people in your circle of connection who will not support you in your impact goals.
How do you recognize them? After being in contact, you feel less energetic, less enthused. You have more doubts about your abilities, and you start to wonder if your impact matters.
Give serious thought to who you want in your circle of connection.
Having impact isn’t a Lone Ranger process. You can radically increase your impact by nurturing a circle of connection that actively supports you. And that means you doing the same for them.