United We Stand–Strength in Numbers?

Although the US job market has seen some glimmers of light (more in some industries and geographical areas than in others), the future–both near and long term–still clearly holds challenges for many of us. If you’re not currently in an employment situation that’s stable, satisfying and financially sufficient for your needs, you might be tempted to throw up your hands and say, “That’s it! I’m stuck and there’s nothing I can do to make things better.” While understandable, that admission of defeat doesn’t achieve anything except to let you vent some of your frustration.

It might be true that one person alone can only accomplish a certain amount, although a number of people in history have shown how amazingly much one person can achieve. However, I prefer to look for support in pursuing challenging goals and keep an open mind about where that support might come from. I encourage my clients to do the same, because sometimes really great results can come from doing that.

United We Stand–Strength in Numbers

I’ve been thinking recently about all the existing and emerging challenges facing individuals and entire countries throughout the world–major economic crises, tight job markets in many countries (or at least a scarcity of jobs for some groups and individuals), a growing gap between the “haves” and “have nots,” and more. Two phrases came to mind, and they’re somewhat related to each other. One is “united we stand,” and the other is “strength in numbers.”

According to Wikipedia, “‘united we stand, divided we fall’ is a phrase that has been used in mottos, from nations and states to songs. The basic concept is that unless the people are united, it is easy to destroy them.” What I get from this today is that there’s a temptation for us to think we’re alone in the boat and need to look out for ourselves first and foremost. However, that can too easily lead to an undesirable–maybe even disastrous–outcome. Whether it’s conducting a job search for a suitable position or doing your best to be a productive and valuable employee in a position you already hold, “me first at all times” is not really an outlook you want to hold onto.

In a similar vein, I found a number of quotes referencing the concept of strength in numbers, but one of my favorites was this: “There is strength in numbers, and if we all work together as a team, we can be unstoppable.” (Craig Kielburger, founder of Free The Children, an organization to stop child slavery) What you might not be able to do alone, it’s absolutely possible you could accomplish with some active help.

Practical, not Pollyanna-ish

One definition of Pollyanna is “unreasonably or illogically optimistic.” There’s nothing wrong with optimism (remember, I’m an optimist); however, optimism needs energy and commitment behind it to transform a gloomy picture of the future into one that holds promise and encourages hope. I don’t know about you, but that’s where I’d like to put my efforts, even if I’m “only one person.”

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