Do you want to be the kind of person who makes things happen? Who can go from idea to reality at lightning speed? The go-to person when something needs to get done like, yesterday?

If you said, “YES! OMG, THAT WOULD BE AWESOME”, this is the post for you.

In my experience, there are two types of people:

  1. The Independents who, when faced with a task or project, put their head down and go it alone. Independence is their motto – they hate to be a burden (and/or, in some cases, admit there’s anything they can’t handle alone)
  2. The Collaborators who, in a similar situation, immediately start wondering how they can (or should) get other people involved

The Independent: “I don’t need nuthin’ from nobody!”

Lots of people try to go it alone, and only ask for help if they get into such a pickle that they can’t get themselves out and they’re desperate.

I mean, I get it. We’re living in a time where everything is designed to make us think that going solo is somehow better, that we should all be rugged individuals and never ask for help. Commercials, movies, books – there are plenty of messages out there trying to convince us of this. It would be easy to buy that BS, frankly, but let’s not.

Taking that approach, even if you don’t get into such a hot mess that you are forced to finally call for help, is just wasting your own time. Sure, maybe you CAN do everything on your own. Maybe if you work super hard and Google constantly and sacrifice a bunch, you can pull everything off single-handedly. But WHY, dagnabit?

Why would you waste your own time like that when there is a whole world of awesome people out there just waiting to be asked? For the love of little green apples, they might even ENJOY being a part of whatever cool thing it is you’re trying to make happen. Who knows? There’s only one way to find out.

The Collaborator: Taking names and kicking ass-umptions

The kind of person who can really get things done isn’t some kind of superhuman. They don’t know everything about everything, necessarily have a lot of money, or stay up all night figuring things out all by their little lonesomes.

Here’s what they actually do: when faced with a challenge, they start by asking one simple question:

“Who do I know?”

Who do they know with the inside scoop on how to do this thing? Who do they know who would be willing to help out? Who do they know with the right connections to make it work?

Then they get busy reaching out. Phone calls, emails, text messages, whatever. They activate their networks, call their troops up for battle. After all, that’s one of the biggest reasons we have networks: to be our teams when we need them.

If one contact can’t help, they try another. Before you know it, the network provides. And becomes stronger in the process (just as an added bonus) because believe it or not, most people like to help, be useful, and be a part of something worth doing.

Don’t worry, you can still work alone

If you like to work alone, this idea might sound TERRIBLE to you. Are you freaking out, picturing a world where every undertaking is like a scaled up version of the hellish group projects we were all forced to do at school? Calm down, it’s going to be ok.

Involving people in the stuff you’re doing doesn’t mean you can’t ever do anything on your own. It means you consult, delegate, call in favours. It means you draw on the awesomeness of your people when there’s something they know or can do better than you. But there is plenty of stuff you’re good at, too, and it makes sense to do those pieces solo.

Heck, I’m the biggest fan of collaboration you’re ever going to find, and I spend 90% of my work hours alone at my computer. It’s not one or the other.

IN CONCLUSION: how do ultra effective people get things done? They have strong networks and they’re not afraid to use them. Steal this secret. You won’t be sorry.