Collaboration for the Win!...

So, I've got a question for you: do you play well with others? It may seem a bit cheeky, but I'm asking in all seriousness. As progressively and positively that we work on our own, many of us have limitations around collaborating with others. It's a common hang-up, and one I challenge you to let go of.

There can be any number of reasons why we have difficulty playing nice with others: trust issues, a scarcity mindset, victim mentality, or even a desire to be overly controlling -- just to name a few. Often, it boils down to us being uncomfortable with there being 'too many cooks in the kitchen'. In some cases, it's certainly alright to want to limit the number of voices being heard; just because we're collaborating doesn't immediately ensure success. Dissenting opinions, personal agendas, and individual issues (like those mentioned above) can easily send the collaboration train running furiously off its tracks. An awareness of the project being tackled, and who is collaborating on it, can often leave clues as to where things may go. However, we're not mind-readers, and often have difficulty extending our trust beyond ourselves when it comes to completing things. The problem about closing the door to collaboration, with a mind to avoiding derailment, is that we also close the door to all of the amazing possibilities collaboration holds.

We are all inherently limited by the narrow and individualized perspective we exist within. Our unique collection of experiences, beliefs, and values enables us to effectively pursue our own interests; however, accomplishing anything of significant substance and value almost always requires help. The narrow vision we possess allows us to focus, but prohibits us from seeing our goal from all angles. This is where collaboration can play a key role. Bringing together multiple individual perspectives -- all focused on the same outcome -- allows for a much broader and well-rounded view than any one person could have. Too many cooks in the kitchen may spoil the soup, but too few can leave the recipe stale.

Not only are we able to better accomplish our goals with the help of others, but the experience of collaborating allows us to broaden and expand our own individual perspective. We may not be able to understand the world in the way others do, but learning how others see, think, and succeed challenges us to explore our own thoughts, beliefs, and ideas. Successful collaboration really boils down to an awareness of the goals we seek and those around us that can offer help, as well as a willingness to learn, grow, and succeed by working with those people. Don't be afraid to share the love -- and the 'soup'!