Teamwork – Going Fast vs. Going Far

You’ve probably heard the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Or, if you’re like me, you only heard of this recently (maybe even right now).


It’s a simple yet powerful concept. One that emphasizes the importance of teamwork. Putting this in to practice is another thing. “Going together,” means making constant adjustments. It means that sometimes you’re moving at breakneck speeds – everyone is working efficiently, pushing the rest of the team in some sort of motivational infinity-loop. Other times it means that you have to slow down, re-asses and re-group. Which can be frustrating.

A few weeks ago I and the rest of The Peakbaggers decided to take this proverb to heart and create #DiscoverYour Wild. #DiscoverYourWild is a program where we invite anyone to join us every Wednesday at 7pm for a different, free outdoor adventure. We decided to invite others to join our training.

Initially it felt counter-intituitive. I asked myself, “Why bring others along?” Alone I could train how I wanted, when I wanted. In a group I would have to worry about planning, programming, and promoting the weekly adventures. Being in a group also means I’m accountable. It means that I HAVE to show-up, even when I don’t want to.

Last week I led a 12km bike-ride around some of Toronto’s scenic bike paths. Before the event I felt nervous and anxious and tired. It was hot and I was hungry and not sure if I felt like a ride. I also wanted the event to go really well and everyone to get something out of the experience. I questioned everything, “Is the course to short or long?” “Was there a better spot to meet?” etc. Once we met up a lot of those feelings disappeared.

Then, in the middle of the ride, I thought about how I really wanted a harder workout. The path was relatively flat and I wanted to either go really fast and leave everyone, or stop and do pull-ups. I joked about this with another rider and he said, “Why don’t we bike up that big hill at the end?” I rode up and let other’s know they could try and climb the hill too, or wait at the bottom. Everyone finished the 12km and then 4 of us started the climb. As I switched to my road bike’s lowest gear I started to pant heavily. The air was humid and thick and I thought about giving up. Then someone passed me and I knew I had to keep going. Four others joined in on the climb and we all high-fived at the top.

I was reminded again in that moment that having patience in a team can result in moments where you push yourself harder than you thought you could go. I rode my way home with some of the people (which was a workout in itself) and we all joked about how exhausted and tired we were and how the short bike ride turned in to so much more.

While I know at times I will still resist being around others and working in a team, I realize that going beyond my limits to unimaginable places means re-joining the group and letting each of us carry the other forward.

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