When I create something or think up something creative, I like to get the credit for it. I’m not always good at sharing the credit. Maybe I just didn’t learn enough about sharing in pre-school and kindergarten. Maybe I’m more selfish than I ever thought. Maybe I get jealous if someone else gets credit, especially if it’s for something that came from me.
Over the years, I think I’ve gotten better at this. It’s probably happened due to some amount of maturity, but it’s also happened because I’ve seen the insignificance of getting credit. I’ve also seen what happens when I put my head together with other creative people. Collaboration, for me, has been a savior of sorts, providing for an exponential amount of creativity. Two heads are better than one, and if you have more than that, imagine the possibilities.
Years ago, I tried to come up with ideas all by myself. It was exhausting. I would float things to people here and there, but I would never sit down and brainstorm with anyone other than myself. If I didn’t think of it, nothing would happen. I was at the whim of the creative moments that I found or created. If those times were unproductive or ineffective, I was up the creek.
As my schedule got busier and busier, I began to see all of these incredible people around me. In conversations, I would hear them floating ideas about this or that and it got me excited. I thought, “Wow! I wonder if they would be interested in some kind of collaborative effort.” As I began to develop relationships, I began to branch out into the world of collaboration and now, it kind of makes me shiver to think of what life was like before this discovery.
My dad was pastor of a small church in Connecticut when I was growing up. In order to have bigger events or services, he needed to understand the need for collaboration. I watched what happened when he collaborated and I saw the benefits. He never had the burning need or desire to get the credit or glory for something that took place, he was content to share credit, or pass the credit off to someone else. The end result was the most important thing to him, not who got credit along the way.
The other advantage of collaboration is the safety net that it provides. When ideas come from collaboration, it’s harder for someone to put all the blame on one person when it doesn’t meet their preferences. If I don’t like something, and that something was one person’s idea, it could easily become personal. But if an idea came about through the collaborative process, there is shared ownership of everything and there is safety and protection in that.
I have finally come to a place where I am surrounded by a group of really creative people. All of us have different perspectives and all of us have fairly broad experience. It’s a beautiful thing to see an idea take shape and form in a group like this. What starts small can easily grow into something magnificent and grand. What seemed like a dream at one moment can become a reality when all of this creativity comes together to work in tandem.
I hope that I have many more years of ministry and creativity before me. I hope that I will always see the importance and need for collaboration. I hope that I continue to see the benefits that it provides. I hope that I always look to the benefits that come from collaboration rather than worrying about who gets the glory. When I hesitate to collaborate, it seems like I can easily stagnate. That’s a lesson that I would much rather learn by seeing it happen to others and not to myself. Here’s hoping and praying that collaboration stays a top priority for me.