To Collaborate or not….
Collaboration is one of the things I enjoy the most. It is enriching to my life and I love hearing other perspectives, ideas and creating amazing things together.
Collaboration helps me grow and keeps me open-minded while serving the world in any way I can.
Collaboration, though, can be tricky.
For years and years I have considered myself a collaborator and a connector. On that Journey, I have experienced many challenges – the main one being: working on understanding why so many people I run into (in certain countries) seem to be concerned about collaboration – or have a completely different view of what that collaboration means compared to me.
In all actuality they seem to think that collaboration is a threat.
It is apparently a threat to them because they need to partner and work with someone else – honestly and openly. This means you have to be open-minded to suggestions, you have to be willing to, at times, negotiate the approach. It also means that any glory – any success – will be shared.
In other words, you have to be vulnerable and know yourself. I learned that, in some parts of the world, that is something that is not honored. Instead there is a mistaken belief that strength means never ever being vulnerable, never ever listening to other people’s improvements, and certainly never ever admitting fault or Sharing Glory.
As a historian and lover of philosophy it is fascinating to look at Ralph Waldo Emerson for example… his groundbreaking work, the basis of the U.S. philosophy of Transcendentalism, is the essay called “Self-Reliance”. A remarkable essay that is usually misunderstood: because of the title. At the same time it has served and continues to serve as a psychological underpinning for much of what is happening especially in the U.S. – where the general, historical motivation is, of course, individualism. Individualism tied to the misunderstood concept of “self-reliance” makes for an interesting arena when you wish to collaborate with others. “Self-Reliance”, the essay, by the way is really addressing the issue of knowing oneself, knowing one’s strength and weaknesses, and knowing when to ask for help! That last part if the key that is often left out and leads to the view of collaboration as a thread vs. enrichment.
It is fascinating to watch, as very often this type of approach ends in complete isolation as well as backstabbing amongst normally like-minded people. This backstabbing then of course becomes an added hindrance to future collaborations. It all is, of course dependent on your upbringing.
Are you being brought up in a communal focused way or individualistic focused way thus, as a collaborator, who understands that the more Minds come together in a like-minded fashion the more can be achieved through empowering each member of the collaborative team. It also means that you know yourself perfectly well. Knowing yourself perfectly well means that you know what areas you are great and what areas you’re not great at. This in turn means you are aware of where someone else with a different expertise might be able to jump in and improve what you are currently working on. Those improvements can of course make all the difference to the end product.
While observing this, witnessing this, and in some ways analyzing it – I am fortunate to be able to see the possibilities that align with my vision and thus, create the atmosphere that still allows me to meet people who are collaborators as well. Real collaborators, those individuals who don’t look at “What is in it for me?” and instead they look at “what is in it for all?” and “how can I serve?”. That is how we can actually BE THE Change – if that is what you wish. If you wish to be a collaborator, a connector, and enrich your life further and you just have not had the change to fully explore that … here are some basic tips:
- Get rid of EGO (as we like to say: give it a cookie and let it way in the corner)
- Care first about others
- GIVE first to others
- Communicate without agenda
- Be open-minded and listen
All these tips will lead you there and key still is: Know yourself and allow others to add to your life as you add to theirs!