Some of the most powerful stories in the world are about collaboration.  Think Hansel and Gretel – alone either would have become dinner for the witch but working together they defeated her.   Or think of any stories you know of teams tackling the arctic to get to the pole, or to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.

One of my favourites is the story of Ubuntu told by Bob Nelson and Stephen Lundin.  If you are unsure of what Ubuntu is – here are Nelson Mandela’s words on the subject.

“In Africa there is a concept known as Ubuntu – the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievements of others.”

In short – Ubuntu means “I am, because We Are.” The idea that we only know or experience our own humanity because of and through interaction with others.

So, back to Nelson and Lundin’s story of John Peterson.  John is a recently promoted manager at BullsEye, who is finding his new role and personal challenges a struggle.  When he complains about having to come in on a Saturday to redo some badly done paperwork, Simon – a student from South Africa – misses out on his college final to come in and help John.  When John asks why, Simon replies – “It is Ubuntu”.

How Ubuntu Creates New Stories

One of the important principles of Ubuntu, outlined in the story and also at the heart of what I teach, is that we tell ourselves stories to explain the stuff that happens to us in life.  These stories are often unhelpful, not the truth and limit the life we want to live.  They become our truth and as such remain unchallenged and damaging.

Ubuntu – or being connected to others – whether that is an inspirational peer group, a mentor or a coach – gives us the opportunity to challenge these stories that might be inhibiting our growth.  And together we can both achieve more than either would have achieved alone.  Like Hansel and Gretal.

And that is so true, as I have recently experienced.  Two weeks ago at the Professional Speakers Academy Awards dinner, my PSA cohort – Deenita Pattni – and I won an award.  It was the Trainer of the Year Award and we won it because our collaboration helps to make the PSA coaching a process of continual improvement, and because of feedback about the 5 star experience that delegates and members feel they get.

As you know, if you read this blog regularly, I am just back from another collaborative event – our WHY’s Women retreat in Marrakesh.  This is a collaboration with Marion Bevington.  And our combined skills of mind and body weave into one, and result in a magical experience where people are able to understand and rewrite their stories.

And also – this month – on the 6th September I was coaching at the Radio Works World, Make The News Mindset event, which was all about the stories you tell yourself and others – when for example pitching for funding or new business opportunities.  This is a collaboration with Dr Marina Nani.

All of these amazing events would not be quite so amazing without the collaboration of others.  Maybe they would not have even happened.

So when you find yourself unable to move forward because of fear of failure, or fear of success, or little voices in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough – then you know it is time for collaboration.  Time to experience that two heads really are better than one.  Time to know Ubuntu.

If there is one belief that you hold close to your heart, that you only tell yourself, and that – if it wasn’t true – would liberate you, email me on and let’s schedule a call to discover if we can Ubuntu that right out of you !!







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