• Jean Strait

Going At it Alone? Don’t! - Here's Why We Need People


This message seems laughably ironic, because I write it to you as someone who thrives on being independent. It's part of my personality and lifestyle. I often recite the motto, "if you want something done right, do it yourself". I'm private about my projects and tend to keep people on a need-to-know basis.


Does this sound like you?


If so, that's okay. There's nothing wrong with being your own person and working hard.


But even the most brilliant people can't do it all. Let me tell you how this week reaffirmed that I need people even when I don't know it.

On Sunday evening, I got into a bad argument with a family member. These arguments don't happen often, but when they do, they're rough (to say the least). I was upset and damn near shaking in my frustration, ready to pack up my bags and leave.


I got a phone call from one of my closest friends.


He could hear it in my voice that I was not having a good night, but I was reluctant to give up any details other than an argument had taken place. He said, "I'm gonna come by", and he hung up.


When he arrived we sat silently in the car together for a few moments. Then, without a word, he turned the car back on, started some music, and began driving. Finally, I spoke and asked, "what are we doing?". His response: "I need gas".


We filled up at the gas station and drove off. As friends often do, he knows me very well, so he didn't expect me to speak. Instead, he spent an hour driving through scenic routes of our surrounding cities, and played music that felt like warm sunshine on my skin.

On Monday, I was busy on my computer, getting ready to launch this very website. I had already been working on it for some time, but I wasn't feeling like I'd accomplished anything yet.


As someone new to designing websites, I had a lot of questions. That's where Xavier came along. Since the beginning of this project, Xavier (a best friend of mine) has been there to let me bounce questions off of him. He's given me advice and access to helpful resources. He's been there for me every step of the way, providing constructive criticism and/or praise to my ideas.


On Monday when I launched the site, he was the first to see it. He was the first to read the blog post, congratulate me, and tell me how proud of me he was.

Today, Wednesday, was the icing on the cake. Today brought this whole message together for me.


Yesterday at work, someone new was moved into my work area. It was completely unexpected for me, but I didn't mind. I had been there alone in a big room for weeks. We didn't talk because our jobs don't require us to, but I kept feeling like I should approach her.


Today, I did.


I asked her if she needed help with anything, and asked her a question about how her work had changed since the pandemic. A conversation sparked.


Before long, we were chatting and I began to learn more about her. She was easy to talk to and equally talkative. As the conversation evolved, I could see how both of us cautiously started to open up more.


Turns out, we have a TON in common.


To make a long story short(er), my offering to help her opened up a door for us to help each other. She has connections to people that I have been trying to get in contact with, and I have connections to a restaurant owner and venue that she needs for her upcoming business projects.


Truthfully, it felt like we were meant to meet (a similar feeling I had when I met my best friend Ashley 3 1/2 years ago; a story for another time).

At face-value, these stories may not seem like much. But things really get put into perspective when I think about how my week would have gone without them.


As independent and autonomous as I am-


If my friend hadn't taken me on that calming drive, I don't think I would've been able to sleep well that night.


If I didn't have Xavier's support and encouragement, this website might still be in draft mode.


If my new coworker hadn't been moved into my room, I would still be left alone with no one to talk to for 8 hours a day, and would be missing the opportunity to receive value and add value to someone else's life.

Truth is, we all need people. It's scary, unnerving, and sometimes just annoying...but it's true.


And no matter how much you like doing things yourself, don't be blind to the little help you get along the way, because sometimes that's what makes all the difference.




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