The Downside of Going it Alone


zorro - dreamstimefree_Diomedes66Have you ever come smack up against an old assumption that was just plain wrong?  The above video features a story about a painful lesson I learned years ago when I thought I could (and should) do everything on my own.  It was probably the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done that didn’t involve falling down or tripping over something.

Here’s what I said in the video:

Years ago I worked at a hospital and I was teaching classes to help clinical professionals work through all the changes they had to make when managed care hit.  These people had a lot of change to make.  There was a lot emotion involved.   They had to completely reinvent the way they saw patients and did all the things that they had done for years. There was a lot of resistance.

And I remember I got this idea that perhaps it would be helpful for them to see how others have worked through this.  So I decided I wanted to make a video and I got approval to make a trip to one of the sister hospitals whose staff had already begun making the transition.  I managed to find one of the oldest cameras around at the time.   It was so huge, that the VCR tape actually fit in it. You can imagine the contraption and all the gear I had to carry.

I finally got to the hospital.  We had a conference room arranged.  I managed to coordinate and have all these people show up in this one room.  I asked them questions that got on tape their reaction and their coping mechanisms and their pain – and the way in which they were able to take something that turned everything they knew on their head and work through it.  It was heart rendering.  It was moving.  It was beautiful.

I singlehandedly worked the camera, I asked the questions, I tried to zoom in on people’s faces when they talked, and I spent a whole day doing this videoing.  I came back and I edited it myself. Granted – I knew nothing about filming and editing videos.  I had to use the camera in order to do editing, cutting and pasting with my VCR.

When I got back and had my finished product, everybody crowded around and we put the tape in the VCR and hit play.  I was just devastated. It was horrible.  And I remember watching it and just feeling my heart sink.  Because all those stories that almost brought tears to my eyes as I was filming them – the sound quality was so poor, you couldn’t even hear people talking. The camera was shaky.  The editing was horrible.  And I was just so embarrassed.

That happened years and years ago when I thought I needed to do everything myself and had a lot of fire in my belly,  but for whatever reason, I was very resistant to asking for help. And I learned such a valuable lesson from that. What I learned and how I have benefitted from that experience is that I have allowed myself to let go of the things that I thought I needed to do myself and enjoy working with people that have skills that I don’t, who can get almost even more excited about my ideas than I am — and see things that I didn’t see — to make it richer and allow something to be created that is far better than anything my little mind could ever have imagined.

So here’s my question for you, “What great idea are you sitting on, and who do you need on your team to make it happen?”


Picture by Diomedes66 from Dreamstime

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