I was recently asked to take on a project that I didn’t feel prepared for. I knew I had some skills to bring to it—namely, writing and editing. But the visual, artistic sense of design that the project required was completely beyond me. In addition, the project had technical requirements that I knew nothing about. So, I had to gather a team of people for the project.
My first days of working on this project felt like trying to pick up chunks of jello. I could never grasp anything concrete about it—although the chunks of jello were gradually being formed and then put together, the project felt completely out of my grasp. Everyone had a different vision of it, and we were all learning how to do something for the first time. Though I was working on a deadline, no one else had planned for this project and had to squeeze it into their own timetables. I had no assurance that we were going to finish it, never mind make the deadline.
Due to the remarkable people I worked with, the project not only came together, but came out beautifully and just on time. In the end, the project was not something I could point to and own, saying, “I did this!” Actually, I felt that I’d done very little; the beautiful result really came from the shared collaboration that we developed as a group.
Through this experience, I rediscovered two keys to collaborating on a creative project: 1) choose my creative partner(s) well and then 2) trust them.
These insights are even more true when I reflect on co-creating the “masterpiece” of my life.
1) Choose our Co-Author well.
We could try to “write” our lives by ourselves. But choosing to go solo is not only a lonely thing to do, it is also impossible for us to truly shape our lives on our own because so many things in life are beyond our control. Besides that, we’ve all run headfirst into our weaknesses; we know we need help. For the most important work of our lives, we want to have the best partner possible.
We may seek other collaborators as well, but it seems pretty obvious that choosing the All-Loving, All-Powerful, All-Good God—who loves us and always wants what is best for us—is the best choice we could make.
(Next post we’ll look at trusting our Creative Partner!)