I love sixty's music! Yup, turn up the Rock & roll for me! I was listening to Classic Rock on TV today and heard Simon and Garfunkel singing, 'I am a rock, I am an island'
That song takes me back to darker times in my youth, when I'd been hurt by someone or a situation, and I'd sit in my room and moan along with the music and think...
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock, I am an island!
Oh yeah - I was given to drama in those days. I'm wiser now. I understand what John Donne meant in 1624 when he said that, "No man is an island, entire of itself." Now I know that we are all connected, and that the more we intentionally band together the better the outcome.
The most important things I've accomplished, in business and life, have been in collaboration with others. In the early parts of my business career I joined a master-mind group, and for four plus years we met monthly, a full day each time, to vet each other's ideas, give input on emerging programs and proposals and challenge egotistical thinking and faulty notions. Early on we committed to uncensored honesty and I routinely left those meetings a bit shocked at the feedback, but stretched and sharpened by my colleague's observations.
Early in my coaching career, I joined a small group of coaches whose purpose was to share in large coaching contracts while supporting each other's professional growth. We strategized client relationships, brought in professionals to train us, shared leads and helped build each other's credibility and reach. This experience taught me how to bow to the wisdom of a colleague who was more experienced, and sometimes, simply more passionate than I, on a particular subject or issue.
Throughout the creative process of building programs and products, I've joined forces with designers, editors, artists and media types and I've thought of each of them as a partner, not a supplier. A fine distinction maybe, but an important one. Each partnership has brought me: (1) fresh ideas, (2) specific talent I lacked and, (3) the energy, and sometimes resources, I needed to keep me going when it was tough.
Joint ventures have their challenges; collaboration is not for the faint of heart. If you decide to throw your lot in with others you can expect a good deal of surprising information, opposing opinions, differing objectives, and those ever popular power struggles and personality conflicts. Collaborate anyway. It's the only real path away from naval-gazing and onto excellence. So, what would it take for you to join forces with two or more people in the pursuit of your goals? What stops you from reaching across the table at a networking event or meeting to say, 'Hey, let's work together.'
Remember - you can change it, we can help!