Did you know that graceful Canadian geese fly in a V-shaped formation add at least 72 percent to their flying range compared to a single bird flying alone? As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately behind it resulting in the ability of the flock to fly easier and longer. When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back in the formation and another goose flies point for a while. As they fly, the geese in back honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed and momentum. Do they know that performance is enhanced with encouragement and affirmation? Any time a goose gets sick or wounded and falls out of formation, two geese drop out and follow the hurt goose to help and to protect it. They stay with the wounded bird until it is able to fly again or is dead.
In a world of independent, self-sufficient hotshots who say by their actions I don’t need anybody’s help, they give evidence to the incredible power of partnership.
John Maxwell wrote, “Partnership is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organized objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. Simply put, it is less ‘me’ and more ‘we.’” Mother Teresa said, “You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together, we can do great things.” An anonymous author wrote, “It is better to have one person working with you, than three working for you.” Andrew Carnegie confessed, “I owe whatever success I have attained, by and large, to my ability to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am.” John Wooden, perhaps the greatest basketball coach of all time, reminded his teams, “The man who puts the ball through the hoop has ten hands.”
Call it whatever you want—teamwork, association, synergy—partnership is the remarkable ability of two or more people working together to accomplish more than what one can do alone. Here is what it means to me.
Partnership means work. Teamwork makes the dream work. It means legwork; it means teamwork; it means we work. John Maxwell says, “Partnerships don’t work for people unless people work at partnerships.”
Partnership completes us. When a team comes to a task or a project or an obstacle, the collective whole maximizes strengths and minimizes weaknesses. Former University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney said, “We have not come together to compete with one another—but to complete one another.” When we are working together in harmony with each other the talents and gifts of the body minimize the weaknesses and shortcomings of the body thereby making a stronger unit. If you took away one musician from an orchestra the symphony would be incomplete.
We need each other. You need someone and someone needs you. We are not isolated islands. To make this thing called life work, we have to lean on and support. And relate and respond. And give and take. And confess and forgive. And release and reply. Only together are we complete.
I can’t imagine facing the tragedies and disappointments of life without the partnership of family. I can’t imagine losing a parent and not having friends to lean on. I can’t imagine facing the premature birth of a child without having others to rely on. I can’t imagine losing a job without having a small group to encourage and rally around during the transition time. I can’t imagine getting a call from a hospital that my child had been in a car accident without having friends gather around to pray and support me. Can you?
We really do need each other. We can’t make it alone and be healthy and productive. We are made complete by the love, support, encouragement, and strength of others.
My book, Defining Moments: How God Shapes Our Character Through Crisis, takes a fresh look at the hard times that God uses to shape our character. This book offers hope that God can be found in crisis and shows how He turns our struggles into defining moments—opportunities to dramatically transform His people. Click here to claim your copy.