We fall in love with a creation, a work of art, a song, a poem, or piece of code. We’re floored. Just gagging. There’s something about it that we couldn’t have ever possibly concluded. Like Einstein and the Theory of Relativity.
We want to know what genius was behind it. What nurture/nature paradox produced the human being that thought this up? How audacious! How tenacious! How did they think so clearly and elegantly? How did they put such a novel spin on it?
So we google them,we watch their videos on YouTube, and we follow them on Instagram. Then we retweet their posts about Reactive Native because everyone needs to know about this right now because I’m really feeling this and I want to be the first one to recommend it to my friends.
In “The Culture Code – The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups,” Daniel Coyle explains that successful collaborations are like triangles. Stable. Three-pointed. Elementary.
“To live comfortably in a triangle, it seems to me that certain feelings about oneself have to be in effect. The individual has to feel good about himself and be able to stand on his own two feet without having to lean on someone else. He can be temporarily odd-man-out without feeling bad or rejected. He needs to be able to wait without feeling he is abused. He needs to be able to talk straight and clearly, and let the others know what he is feeling and thinking and not brood and store up his feelings.” – Daniel Coyle
Choose the wrong advice to follow and the triangle breaks down. The collaboration tanks. It’s barely noticeable but then the more you look at it, the more you realize it’s actually happening. The work doesn’t sing anymore. The paint starts to peel. The communication gets rough, like someone bumped up the elasticity in the physics world. The rice starts to taste sour. The gears rust and the collaboration seizes up.
“Pain instructs.” – Benjamin Franklin
This weekend I talked to my friend Larry on Zoom. First we talked about the new widgets at WWDC. Then we tried to figure out exactly how long the new laptop batteries could theoretically last with Apple Silicon. Then we started to talk about how the stay at home order has affected our moods and productivity. That’s when the conversation really got interesting.
Larry and I both work out. Not a lot. But we have “set it and forget it” routines that keep us fit and active. The spike in infections in California and Hawaii made us both reconsider how wise it is to run outside, and now we’ve both stopped running.
We’re both noticing our moods tanking. We have goals we’ve set for ourselves. And now that we’ve postponed them. We don’t feel good. Literally, we don’t physically feel good because we’re not coming through on the promises we made to ourselves.
“Self esteem became hooked more easily when a person had not really developed a solid, appreciative sense of his own worth. Not having his own, he would use an other’s action and reactions to define himself. If someone called him green, he would agree with no checking and take the other’s comment as one fitting him. He was green because the other person said so. It’s easy for anyone with doubts about his own worth to fall into this trap.” – Daniel Coyle
Larry and I discovered that getting things done contributes so much to our self-worth and actual feelings of well-being that we need to reassess our goals to set new metrics to gauge our success.
Sticking to the old goals leaves us feeling bad. Because we’re not coming through on what we said we were going to do. That’s the reason we’re so immaculate with our words.
“The single most crucial factor in understanding how an initial love relationship flourishes is the feeling of worth each has for himself, together with how he expresses it and what demands he makes of the other, and how each acts toward the other as a result.” – Daniel Coyle
All collaborations are a love affair. Even the collaborations you make with yourself. Keep the relationship from tanking by building up your own self-worth.
The way to keep your self-esteem high is to come through on the things you say you are going to. Be immaculate with your word. But also understand that these changing times may require you to take a moment and assess how you’re doing. Do you need to take a look at the script? Maybe it needs a rewrite? Maybe it needs some new characters?
Are you living your life from an old script?
“If humans never find their sameness, they will never meet; if they never meet their differentness, they cannot be real or develop a truly human and zestful relationship with one another.” – Daniel Coyle
Keep your collaborations on point and take care of your self-esteem. Did this post raise any questions for you? Contact me I’d love to hear about it.