“There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies. And that is to fight without them.” – Winston Churchill
In the journey of life we relish the company of others and that’s one thing that makes us unique. Our sense of camaraderie in different circles makes the journey called life worth it. I remember towards the end of the year 2020 I was super engrossed in reading “The Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight, a book that I’d recommend for anyone and everyone including those who don’t like reading books. He doesn’t give you some common rhetoric we are all used to about making it big in business or such. He distills his personal experiences in a way that’s humorous while at the same time enlightening and transformative. That’s the power of a lived experience shared by a trailblazer. Towards the end of the book, he says that all we wish for is oneness. To quote him: “Oneness – in some way, shape or form, it’s what every person I have ever met has been seeking.”
I have come to figure out that the human race is a competitive lot. Being competitive in the sense that everyone wants to be the best and to get the limelight on all occasions. When the attention shifts to another person, you are like a cut rubbing himself or herself on the owner when he gets home in the evening. I’ve come to observe that on certain occasions, you find an individual talk down another when they actually have excelled in their field just so they don’t get as much attention. Unfortunately, all this doesn’t even play out in their interest especially if the person isn’t even in their field of specialization. But that is human nature. On the backdrop of this, there is a tendency for individuals to try drawing others into their spaces to collaborate and work with them. At times they go out of their way to act with kindness towards others or even just to show support. By so doing, they are keen on forming an alliance which in some way or the other they believe may pay out in the future when they ever need. I don’t know for a fact whether it often does but I feel it should.
I’ve been lucky in my not so long life to interact with people who have contributed positively to my personal growth and these I can consider as critical allies in my journey. At the same time, I have come across individuals who are not allies as much but at the same time they are not enemies. They don’t support but also don’t oppose. In other cases they support by word of mouth when you expect more than that but then it is their nature. Coming to terms with such isn’t easy but we’ve got to.
So this evening I had a call with one of my good friends and an ally. Through the discussion he brought back to mind the fact that some of the successes that we hope for and work towards are possible but only if we put in place the structures that make them possible. This reminded me of the fact that at the outset we need to find a way that the operations can keep rolling without having to depend on our individual presence. This is a concept that has been perfected by corporations like Apple that’s been sustained beyond the death of Steve Jobs. Additionally, make allies that can help you set off. Reflecting on Phil Knight, he was lucky to have Johnson as his first employee who was passionate about selling sports shoes to work on it tirelessly. This trickled down to all other employees and partners he had along his journey even though some left it at the worst of times like Onitsuka the primary supplier. In short what I am trying to say is that we are human, we relish human connections and in order to make substantial growth in our lives, we need to form allies and leverage on these for the ultimate success while we also give value to the others.
“People inspire you or drain you – pick them wisely.” – Hans F. Hansen