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You Can't Get There By Yourself

Some time ago, while away on business in Eastern Europe, a colleague and I encountered an old gypsy woman. It was after hours and we found ourselves wandering back to our hotel after an evening of entertaining clients at a well-known drinking establishment. The night air was damp. The cobblestone street glistened softly from the light of the full moon that was starting to reveal itself from the wisps of slow-moving clouds.

Through the mist ahead of us, we could make out two shadowed figures standing on the corner. Foolishly, we approached and confronted the two people. One immediately ran off into the darkened alleyway. The one who remained, turned to us and mumbled in an aged and gravely voice of experience, “You can’t get there by yourself.”

We looked at her in a puzzled bewilderment. Then she came closer while repeating what she had just said, “You can’t get there by yourself. You can’t get there by yourself.” We looked at each other for but a moment, and then she too was gone – vanished into the night. Again, we looked at one another – wanting to know what just happened, and was she real? As we continued the walk back to our hotel, we contemplated what we had inadvertently stumbled upon, and prepared to live the rest of our lives with the old gypsy’s curse.

In returning to New York, the encounter with the gypsy woman continued to haunt me. Whether she was real, some conjured spirit from a bygone era, or simply a figment of our inebriated imagination, I never forgot the truth in the words she had spoken to us. Over time, they became less of a warning and more like reasonable words of wisdom with which to live by.

From the experience of being out and about on that dark and dangerous alley, the team at //NKST has adopted the chilly apparition’s statement as an ideal that frames our core values as our main mantra.

You Can’t Get There By Yourself.

It’s true. We all need each other from time to time. As an operating principle, we place our trust in one another’s skill sets, talents and expertise. And we thrive when collaborating with others to better understand and solve the problems our clients face. That comes in handy when we need the strength and courage to put our professional reputations on the line with new ideas, fresh perspectives and earnest displays of consumer empathy.

Our point of view on this is simple. Each of us can use a little help along the way, and we all have valuable skills to offer one another. As an individual, as a team and as an organization, we become stronger and are much better off when we accept this plain truth, “We can’t get there by ourselves.”


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