“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

I’ve never been one for group projects or collaborative work, especially in school. Often I think, “Who better to do it than me? I’m dependable. I don’t need help.”

Coming out of high school I thought that once you got to college most of the group work was over. I’m sure you could imagine my disappointment when I read my syllabi fall semester of my first year only to find the words, “group work” in more than half of my assignments.

Well, here I am a year and a half later humbly telling you that group work isn’t that bad. I know, it’s quite a change of heart but let me explain.

If you take a second to think about where you are in your life today, chances are you did not get there alone. You had the help of your parents, friends, teachers, classmates, mentors, the list goes on. The idea that it takes a village to raise a child, or even an adult, is correct.

Now think about where you want to be a year from now. Do you want to land that new job, start a new company, apply for graduate school, get accepted as an undergraduate? Whatever your goals may be, think about how many people you will need along the way.

Drake (the rapper) lied in his song “All Me”, because chances are it wasn’t only him who got him to where he is today.

Living in a day and age where people think that struggling alone is necessary and that asking for help is a sign of weakness, I’m not surprised that I despised group work as much as I did. I’m also not surprised that I had an “I can do it all by myself” mentality either.  But here I come to you humbled and corrected.

Maybe it was just high school group projects that gave collaboration a bad name, but allow me to retitle it for you. It’s called networking.

It might be that I’ve been bitten by the LinkedIn bug, or that I’ve actually done a fair amount of face-to-face networking in the past couple weeks, but I never realized just how helpful other people could be.

While there are people out there with their own agendas, it is important to realize that not everyone is out to get a leg up on you. Some are truly there to help, and want to help you if you allow them.

My Challenge To You: Don’t be jaded. Don’t let your pride or unwillingness to work with others hold you back from reaching your full potential. Remember even the greats needed help, so don’t feel you have to do it all alone.