The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
“I've always been an individual contributor. Somebody who can power through things really well on my own.” When she was growing up, “you name the club, I was in it, and I became the president of it.” Suzi Levine, who you met in the prologue, is a master connector today, but she didn't start out that way, as her words above convey. Like many of the skills these regular heroes have developed over the years, learning to believe in the power of building connections is a slow, and sometimes arduous, process. We need people who step up like she did, no doubt, but she might not have always had enough of the right people coming along for the ride.
During the summer between her freshman and sophomore years of college, Suzi traveled by herself through Europe for six weeks. As she told me, “I had the opportunity to have a lot of conversations with myself. Then I went to Israel in the fall and one of the biggest lessons I learned was what ‘community’ means. It is where people open their homes, where people care about each other, where it is completely nonjudgmental.”
It was in this context that she started to develop some of the skills that have made her a great connector today. She continued, “I learned to ask questions. I learned to ask the dumbest questions. I learned to formulate better questions. And then, I learned the value of having better ...