This week I learned about the work of a company and the team that makes it all happen. More accurately put, I was assessing them and they were evaluating me to determine if we want to work with each other. From my vantage point, it is a world that is both familiar and entirely new. There is a sense of focus and purpose, but with an openness to new ideas and conversations. The environment is collaborative with an eye to changing the playing field.
In the hotel room, under the covers each evening, I wondered about the day’s dance…sometimes shy and apprehensive; sometimes direct and assumptive. I pondered the relationships that were developing…some slowly; others immediately. I tried to envision the future and what it would take to get there.
* * *
I watched an interesting Ted Talk about the way we talk about love. Mandy Len Catron highlights ways our culture uses negative metaphors for feelings about a relationship that should be wonderful. For example, we fall in love and are crazy in love; we are smitten and struck by love; and we even burn with passion. She offers the notion that these types of terms for describing love actually position us as victims of uncontrollable circumstances.
While it’s true that love can be painful, addictive, possessive, and obsessive, Mandy suggests we change metaphors and thinking of stepping into love…that we approach love as a process for creating a collaborative work of art.
The Ted Talk resonated with me. First of all, it reminds us that words have the ability to color what we see. They have the power to control how we feel.
Secondly, and more importantly, it made me think about the meaning of collaboration. What does is look like — and feel like — when there’s a meeting of the minds? How awesome is it when people come together to explore what they can make together? How great can relationships be when we are open to and embrace what others have to offer?
Collaboration is about patience, compromise, creativity, communication, respect, and even joy. Imagine being in love with this set of ground rules.
* * *
Is it possible to approach our professional lives — our daily jobs and the people with whom we work — as a process for creating a type of collaborative work of art?