Think of the last three people with whom you've spoke. It can be anybody—a person on an elevator, a coworker, your spouse, anyone. Now write down the color of their eyes and the color of their hair. Can you do it? Do you know? Were you paying attention to them? If one of the people was your spouse, best friend, or significant other, I assume you can answer that question. But what about your coworker? What about the person on the elevator? Did you even talk to them? Or were you more interested in texting your friends or downloading a new app on your iPhone?
I bring this up because so often we look at people as stepping stones to what we want instead of as people with the potential to enrich our lives in ways that we could never imagine. For many of us, moments of compassion and kindness are rare in day-to-day life—even though these moments are the pinnacle of human emotion and can help us capture victory in both mundane and extraordinary circumstances.
Think about it: as you go about the business of living your life, are you more focused on "me" than "we"? The "me person" operates on a simple formula: What can you do for me today? It is one dimension, easy to understand, and simple to translate in everyday life terms. This is the friend that views your relationship not as us, but as me and whatever you can do for me. It's very difficult to establish close and detailed relationships with a "me person," because the conversation is never about us—the balance is always tipped toward them. With me people, the story is always about them at all times and at all costs. These are the individuals who never quite grew out of the self-centered mentality that we're born with, but that we hopefully age out of as we become socialized.
Then we have the "we people," the ultimate team members, the ones who understand and perfect the concept of the team. The richness of the team experience always outweighs the limited and shallow world of the me people. Whether in the workplace, in a family, or in a sports team, these concepts could not be more important to your success. Over time, any kind of leader must develop, build, and protect stable, compassionate and trusting relationships. They should be your best and most prized possessions. Success is a team sport!