Everything starts with I


“The question is not ‘Can you make a difference?’ You already do make a difference. It’s just a matter of what kind of a difference you want to make, during your life on this planet.”

Taken from Black Ants and Buddhists, thinking critically and teaching differently in the primary grades by Mary Cowhey.

We’ve been talking for a while about the interaction of a team while facing challenges in their organization, or even in society. From interpersonal challenges with a specific person, as your boss, your employee or friend, to the challenges of the financial statements, such as EBITDA, the We always emerges. The We component refers to what is understood as inter-subjectivity, two or more people referring to something concrete. For example: a team deciding on the best strategy to reduce costs.

Even though the world is becoming more and more automated with processes being operated by systems, nearly every challenge we face, at some point, needs to be addressed with a conversation. Whether it’s about lending, asking, negotiating or inquiring, in our daily work, almost everything is manifested, in one form or another, in an interpersonal interaction between I’s in a We space. During work, we face and solve challenges in the We dimension through conversations, but it all starts with I. In order to have more effective results for all parties, it is essential to be very clear that as We is the space to face challenges, I is the only dimension that can have a significant improvement in We and impact It: the objective reality.

Everything begins with I means everything starts by becoming aware of what I feel, dream, understand, listen, wish, what I… Because conscious or not, the entire weight of I is present, as if it were a transparent bubble that defines my experiences at the We level. Therefore it also defines the experience of the other I who are part of the We, with whom I interact.

Everything begins with I also means that if I am capable of setting the I in service of the We, every aspect of I—everything I feel, I understand, I believe and so on—is in service of a better We, in a way that honors and feels comfortable; subsequently the It, which is the challenge, together with the We and the I is in much more balance. So everything begins with I also refers to the possibility that the challenge we face can be confronted in a better way if I am aware of my impact at the I, We and It level.

A first step to practicing the I within the We, is to speak in first person. Talking about what I understand, I think, I feel and I… leaving aside the common: one, i.e. “when one works too hard, one gets stressed” or “there is always a lot of work” changing it to “when I work too hard, I get stressed” or “I have a lot of work.” Undeniably everything begins with I means that everything begins and ends where my responsibility is.

Everything starts with I