One of our most fundamental needs, as humans, and as artists, is connection. There is an element of creative work, however, that can border on the verge of isolating. You know what I mean. You’re following your internal inspiration and sometimes it seems like nothing else exists. And don’t get me wrong, when you are inspired and it’s leading you down the right path, that’s great! But what if you’re stuck? Maybe you’re not being led anywhere. Remember: you don’t have to go it alone. As we wrap up the month of March, which we have dedicated to focusing on our needs, we’re going to look at how collaboration can meet a critical need that benefits us as artists. There is an opportunity for all involved in a collaboration, provided that you take special care to honor your own needs throughout the process, and that’s what I want to talk about today.
I have found that there are 3 crucial pieces of the puzzle that make a collaborative effort successful and I am going to share them with you right now. Are you ready? The first is… *drum roll please*:
1. BOUNDARIES. Boundaries are so important in every aspect of your life. Without them, in this particular case, you might end up committing to something that doesn’t align with your brand or values. This could lead to a collaborative agreement that doesn’t feel useful or fulfilling and ultimately doesn’t serve you. Before you set out to start a collaboration, make sure you’re clear on why you’re doing it. What do you hope to get out of the project? What do you absolutely not want to compromise on? (NOTE: It might take a couple of collaborations to realize exactly what your needs are in this kind of working environment and that’s okay. Just be open and listen to yourself. You learn so much about yourself each time you work with others, so be sure to take note as you go along and do not let a frustrating experience put you off from future partnerships.)
2. DELEGATION. Once you’ve identified your boundaries and spoken with your collaborators about their goals, what’s next? You’re clear on what your project will be, but you have no idea where to begin. It’s time to delegate! Recognize each collaborator’s zone of creative genius and put those gems to use. What does each of you enjoy doing and do well? Delegate tasks accordingly. Doing so should allow each of you to really shine within the project. It will also allow you to create and work in harmony. Trust that each team member has got this and check in with each other frequently to make sure you are still on the same page. If there’s a bump in the road or a misunderstanding, approach it directly and with kindness. Be the kind of person that you’d like to have as a collaborator.
3. SELF-CARE. I could go on and on about the merits of cooperative creative efforts, and while there’s no doubt collaboration is great, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to remind you that you are your own advocate. Don’t get lost in the shuffle. Always protect yourself and your needs throughout the process. Take breaks. Go on artist dates. Work on your own projects. Say no if you are feeling overwhelmed. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: listen to yourself! You will know exactly when you need to take a step back, change direction or keep pushing forward. All you have to do is listen to your mind and body and follow your own direction. If your needs aren’t being met, take some time to reflect and figure out why. Only you will know what you are feeling and what you need so make sure to take care of yourself.
Think about your friends. When you all get together, everyone contributes their own personality, their own spark, to your conversations, outings, and events. It’s not the same if even one person is missing. It’s still fun, but maybe it doesn’t quite reach its full potential. Art is the same. We all think differently and bring diverse interests and passions to the table. It’s beyond cool when you bring two or more minds and talents together to create something you never could’ve imagined on your own. Some of the creative projects that I’m personally most proud of have been collaborations. Not only do I have this great product, but I also have awesome memories from working with some wonderful people. Using boundaries, delegation, and your commitment to self-care will enable you to do the same. Have you ever collaborated with fellow creatives? Tell me about your experience in the comments!
And if you’re of some collaboration and intention-setting to get some good creative work done, look no further. Join my Facebook group, Bravely Original, and come to my event, The Brave Space, every Friday at 3pm EST. This is 60 minutes of gentle accountability where we all get work done. Hope to see you there!