In this episode you will come to understand the meaning of collaboration, and you’ll learn it’s importance to our creative lives! You will explore the different ways you can work together with others, and you’ll receive four easy ideas on how to seek out collaborative partners.
MM560 – Embrace Collaboration
Hello, everybody, and welcome to this week’s episode of Motivate Me!
It’s Me! Time here on Motivate Me! and we are working on coming back from flat.
Before we start, let’s get into the right headspace. Let’s engage in the idea that this is time where YOU are the priority. Let’s take two slow, deep breaths to get us centered. Just follow me.
Today’s focus is: Embrace Collaboration
First let’s discuss what collaboration is, then we’ll explore why it’s important in our creative lives, the different ways in which we can collaborate, and where we can seek to find it.
I can only speak for myself and my husband when I say that we have had a history of being stingy with our creative and entrepreneurial plans and ideas. Have you been this way? We were always very guarded about sharing our ideas with other people and completely closed to combining forces with anyone. We have had business ideas in the past, product ideas, book ideas, website community ideas, this podcast, and more.
Now trust me when I say, I believe we need to be very smart about how we do this. We need to make guidelines and boundaries, some in our own minds, some verbally with others, and some things need to be established legally on paper. My goal in what I would like to speak with you about today is really just the opening up of your mind to the idea of collaboration.
To collaborate with others simply means to work together on a goal or project.
When I think of the term collaboration, the arts are the first to come to mind, especially musicians. My nephew is a musician and producer out in Los Angeles and nothing is more free or open than the jam sessions he has with his peers. He’s living in a house with five other artists, and he has a white board set up in the house with a schedule for their collaboration times. They have writing sessions, brainstorming sessions on music and the business end, they have jam sessions. All they want to do is push and support each other and make great music. It’s pretty spectacular. They’re living their dream and striving to make it in their industry.
Think about all the famous musical collaborations of our time. We wouldn’t have had David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s, “Dancing in the Street,” or The Beatles and Eric Clapton’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – or so many other amazing songs – without collaboration.
Now here’s the thing about working with other people: We can only approach projects with our personal perspective that stems from our personal experiences and skills. Let’s say I want to start a craft business. I want to get a table at the local market and sell my crafts. OK, great. I can make a really great candle. The quality and color and scent is awesome! But I’m limited. I’m limited in my abilities to take my candle idea any bigger than presenting them in some type of glass container – as pretty as I may be able to make them look, I don’t have the tools or knowledge to do more.
But I have a friend who says, “Oh, wow. Your candles are great, I could cut and stain wood and make iron candle holders for them, would you be interested in combining forces?” The idea of working together may make you nervous. But you think about it and you decide to combine forces.
Next thing you know, another friend loves what you’re doing, and this friend is computer savvy, something you are definitely not, and not something your other friend has no time for. This person offers to set up an Etsy account and says they’ll handle posting pictures of the products, they’ll handle the processing of the orders, the packing, and the shipping. Wow. You just started a whole store, and all you’re doing is what you were good at in the first place – making candles.
Maybe your candles were great for Christmas and Easter, but your one friend who is doing the wood and metal work is also Jewish and offers to make a minora. And your other computer savvy friend, who is a little younger than you, tells you how the new craze is receiving a monthly box from different companies. People can sign up to have clothing items or make up items shipped automatically to them monthly – why not do a candle of the month box?
So, here’s my point: First, we need to share what we’re doing with others. Second, we need to be open-minded to new opportunities. That means we can’t be too tied to our original ideas, and we need to be open enough to entertain the suggestions of others. And third, we need to not be afraid to combine forces.
I am not saying to blindly trust; I’m saying not to be attached to the end result of this collaboration. I’m saying stay rooted in why you wanted to do this in the first place and love the process!
I know things can go wrong and people can disappoint you. This can happen just by even sharing your ideas and not signing up to collaborate. It happened to me and my husband. We shared an idea with some family, they took our idea and created their own version of it behind our backs. Their idea was unsuccessful and now we have no relationship. This is sad to say. In the end, I have to tell you that I’m glad it happened, because the character of these people was revealed. Because it meant that I could stop putting so much energy into caring about people who had no love for me. It hurt, trust me, but now at least I know.
But regardless of experiences like this, we need to share our talents and we need to support others in their endeavors. You know why? Because what we put out into the world comes back to us. Because the more we interact with people, the more they know what we’re about, the more likely someone will connect us to someone else that will help us grow and create even more.
Now sometimes, when we collaborate with others we are pushed out of our comfort zones. I’m pretty sure that’s the second most popular reason why so many of us avoid it. When I got back from flat and was so excited to share the steps I took to do that this season with you, my daughter, Mackenzie, offered to co-host and produce a Zoom program with me. Well, if you think for one second that I’d shrug off the opportunity to work with my daughter on something, then you don’t know me very well (haha).
So, even though I was very much out of my comfort zone, we did this together. And no, it was not my favorite thing, but I saw it through to the end, and I also created materials that I’m using here on Season 4 with you because of it – not to mention how much I grew from the experience. We learn so much from others, and if we opt out of these relationships, we learn less in life.
So, who can you collaborate with and how can you find them? Here are four easy ideas…
First, start with those you love. Bounce your ideas off them and really listen to their input. Consider this a brainstorming session. Don’t go in believing that you’ve already got it all figured out, but also don’t feel as if you have to act on their suggestions.
Second, look at your friend and business relationships. How can you and the people around you use each other’s strengths? How can you add value to each other’s lives? Just make sure you are giving to others before asking for anything.
Third, search online. There are so many online groups where people with similar interests gather. There are also groups where you can find local people. Get to know people this way. You can learn a lot about someone’s personal interests and skills online. Always remember to be careful when meeting them in real life – I know you know this, just needed to have a little mom moment with you.
Fourth, visit establishments that showcase your interest. If it’s crafts, find a market. If it’s cars, go to a car show. If it’s homebuilding or anime or romance writing, go to a convention. You get my drift. Get to know people there. Start conversations, give genuine compliments, ask for advice, pass out your card, exchange numbers, connect online.
Get out into the world with your ideas. Engage those you know and respect, and immerse yourself into the world of what you’re exploring. There is so much right at our fingertips.
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I am going to leave you with some truth talk from me to you: Collaborating with others is just another way to show our vulnerability. It’s another way to open the pathways in our creative brains. It’s one more way to surrender ourselves to the universe. What’s meant for us is coming; there is nothing we can do to stop it, but what we can do is free ourselves so we can enjoy it.
Remember, you Motivate Me!