We often use sports analogies to talk about teams and teamwork. The sport which best describes the best kind of team is baseball. All members of the baseball team are working together towards the same goal, while at the same time, all members of the team are very much working as individuals.
Unlike other sports where a ball, or puck, is being passed from one team member to another, advancing toward a fixed goal, base ball involves one individual hitting the ball out into an unlimited space. How the hitter performs affects everyone else, but the hitter hits alone. It is the same with the players out in the field. Each individual is responsible for his or her own space.
The best kind of team to work with in any setting is one where each member acts as an individual doing his or her own unique task to further the whole team.
In this day and age, there is nothing stopping you from connecting and working with whoever you want. All you need to do is identify those near you whom you want to work with and approach them with your plan. Sometimes they’ll say no, and that’s okay. They might be too busy, or have different goals than you. Keep the line of communication open with them anyway. They might come back to you later and want to work with you then.
Once you are working with someone, meetings are unnecessary. You can communicate quickly through email, texting, or through quick in-person discussions when you are at the same location. If you and them are dedicated to the work, no one needs to be inspired by what might be said at a meeting, everyone simply needs to be inspired by the work itself. If you need a vision statement to use as a handle to keep everyone on the same path, then create one, but don’t let it become more important than it needs to be.
Often people go to conferences and meetings to virtue signal their loyalty to the organization or to the leader. They listen to the leader with notepads at the ready like Kim Jong-un’s entourage of loyal courtiers pretending they’re hearing what’s being said for the first time. In reality, all the important things said at a meeting can be said in an email, and most of what’s said at a meeting need not be said at all.
Don’t go to conferences. Don’t do in-person meetings. Don’t do online meetings. Avoid these things as much as possible.
There is a technique in blacksmithing called the convenience bend. If you’re working on a piece, you might find you can’t get your hammer at a particular spot because another section of the piece is in the way. No problem. Just bend it out of the way, work on the section needed, and afterward bend it back.
Usually, when bending the obstructing piece out of the way, you must deform the piece from what it is intended to be, and you might even undo some of the forging already done. That can be bothersome, especially when you tend to think linearly and you hate straying from the straight and forward path. To have your work at a place you want it to be, only to have to put it out of shape again, goes against the grain of most people’s thinking.
But it’s a good lesson for life though, isn’t it? How often do plans play out in a non-linear fashion? How often do you have to temporarily veer off the main course in order to stay with the main course in the long run? I find it’s quite often.
With blacksmithing, you know what you’re starting with, and you know what you want to end up with. However, you are not assembling a bunch of prefabricated parts — the work piece itself is changing shape and will go through several different manifestations before being complete. That is hard to do. What shape does this iron need to be now in order to get it to the shape it needs to be next? This challenge of sculpting is the reason the trade of blacksmithing has always been occupied by artists.
And such is life. You might know what you want, but you might not know how to get there.
Sometimes you just have to move forward blind, try new things, and make a few convenience bends.