Stop…Collaborate and Listen

I used to hate school group projects. I always wanted to take on the extra work and know that even if I didn’t do a perfect job that I could atleast have power over the outcome. Sounds control freak-ish I know, but it felt better to dive in deep with my ideas rather than wasting time coordinating schedules and divvying up work I wasn’t excited to do (mostly because I was worrying about my peers’ quality of work). Classic do-gooder.


It wasn’t until after college that I found I actually liked working in groups and didn’t mind the collaborative process that I used to dread. The thing the changed? Who I worked with.


Your teachers and professors are right when they tell you that the group work is reflective of real-life work situations. The nice thing about liking what you do for a living is that there are usually like-minded people in that same workplace environment. Once I started working I found myself truly interested in my contemporaries–wanting to know their full story of how they got where they are now, admiring their strengths and learning from their weaknesses and wanting to be a part of their awesomeness. You know the moth-to-flame analogy? That happens when you work with or around people with bright inner lights.


Of course there will always be those people with whom you don’t jive even though they seem like they’re cut from your same cloth, but I’ve learned to love collaboration. Here’s why and how:


You have to step it up

When you’re working with people you respect you not only show up but you add your best self to your work. Your to-do list isn’t just checked off, but you find yourself going above and beyond. It’s a constant lifting up.


You inherently learn to listen

As an adult, it’s not cool to be the bossypants anymore. You have to give everyone their turn, and it becomes apparent quickly if you’re not tapping into what’s being communicated. You have to be present. You listening is a requirement to give feedback, continue the informational snowball effect and put ideas into action.


Your work habits are challenged (and maybe redefined)

We all have ways we prefer to do work, that just feels right to us. But holy hell, it could be all wrong to someone else. Collaborating with others introduces you to different work styles that will challenge your own and get you to question whether or not you’re actually doing things the most productive, efficient or creative way.


Your idea isn’t always the best

And when you work on your own, your idea is alwayssssss the best. Congratulations, but there’s probably other stuff that’s, well, better. And even if you have the best idea, way or path in a collaborative environment, I bet your counterparts have a way to enhance what you bring to the table.


Beautiful things can happen

As adults we can learn to collaborate as a skill, but then there are those people you work with who add chemistry and magic and sparkle to the dynamic. It’s something you’re bringing to the table that’s equally vibing with them, but it’s usually with those people that you can bring your strengths together to make something that’s, shall we say, amazing? On the edge of something great? Life changing?


One of those people for me is Courtney Romano and our collaborative “aha moment” comes in the form of Dream. Set. Make., our workshop debuting in June where we want you to own your creativity and make shit happen.  


You can read all about it in that link above, but you should know that this was born out of the need for a pop up community to empower each other through practical skills and resources to make your voice heard, make your creative life a career and make your dreamiest dreams practical, actionable and achievable. You ready? Join us.

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