When Dabney Porte and Britt Michaelian asked me to do a guest post on collaboration, I was thrilled. Not only do I love the topic, I knew it was a timely one.
This month alone we watched the London riots break out, the American debt crisis blow up, and reports of extreme weather and impending natural disaster.
With all that’s going on in our world, it seems pretty clear that collaboration is no longer an option.
This is not political or moral position. It’s simply an elegant if not obvious solution – a return to a more basic state and a more civil time. Collaboration is our natural way of being after all. In fact, it’s nature’s way of being.
We are birthed from “collaboration,” and in ashes and dust, we return to feed the soil. Plants and trees create the oxygen we breathe, and in turn they eat up the carbon dioxide we produce.
The rain forest is not conflicted or confused by the concept of collaboration, nor does the rain forest need to convince itself that collaboration is necessary or valuable. It just does it. It just is it.
Human beings are the only ones who insist on pretending that collaboration is an option or something to aspire to when we have the time or after we’ve been through enough training seminars.
It is only human beings who recoil at the thought of collaboration. We almost fear the perceived loss of control that comes with allowing ourselves to be truly influenced by the unique wisdom, perspective, and ideas of another.
Similarly, we fear our own power to influence another. Who are we to know what’s right? Will we be blamed if it doesn’t turn out as planned? Do we really want that responsibility?
And what is collaboration about if it is not about allowing others to influence us with their ideas even as we summon the courage to take a stand for our own?
The answer, of course, is conscious collaboration, which includes conscious choices of our partners in the collaboration process and conscious choices during each and every moment of the collaboration process itself. Indeed, it is the depth of consciousness within our collaborations that creates fair and equitable circumstances, outcomes, and solutions for the benefit of all.
Collaboration is our natural state. And in this recognition – the recognition of what is always, already happening all around us – we can begin to make conscious, healthy choices. And in our healthy and conscious choices in favor of collaboration, new possibilities arise.
And isn’t that the point of collaborating after all?
How do you feel about collaborating? More importantly, are you doing it and how?
Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.