I’ve been thinking a lot about coffee and the entire process it takes to make the perfect cup of joe. From the farmer first planting the seeds, to the hands picking the cherries off the tree, and the people roasting the beans at the perfect temperature. When you take a bag of beans home, there are infinite possibilities as to how you can grind and brew your cup of coffee. Many people make their contributions from the small seed to the porcelain cup. In the grand coffee process, we are all collaborating together for the sake of the end result – a delicious cup of coffee.
Similarly to the coffee-making process, different factors can make or break the end project of a creative collaboration. Working with other people can be both terrifying and exciting at the same time, because we all have wildly different expectations as to how the result of a project should unfold before it even happens. Kind of like making our own preferred cup of coffee.
A couple years ago, I moved to St. Louis. I followed my man out here who already had a solid group of friends, a job, and a good self-esteem. He is a highly creative person who does not allow ideas to sit for too long and always has to be doing something awesome with other creative individuals. Whenever around him while he was working on projects, I’d internally crawl into my little corner and immaturely cry, “Woe is me! What am I doing with my life?” One day he said, “Hey…want to do a project together?” I didn’t exactly know what to say, but all that came out of my mouth were timid, cowardly fragments saying, “No, I’m sorry but I’m not good enough to collaborate with a creative guy like you.”
While I ended up marrying that creative man last year, I’m so glad those times of little confidence are behind me. I think that our moments of dry ideas and lack of execution can be the most opportune times for us to reach out to those around us and collaborate with one another. Sometimes it might take a lot of courage and vulnerability to find someone and say, “Hey, I’m struggling with this. Could you lend me a hand and help me out?” It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and be open to both acceptance and rejection throughout a collaboration. This kind of relationship reminds me of Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one sharpens the countenance of a friend.”
As creatives, our collaborations have the ability to strengthen individual skills. When the desire to improve is present, the work will immediately follow and doing it with a community of people keeps the motivation going. Not only does collaborating help us improve our skills, but is also a fun way to connect with other people. Throughout the years, I’ve looked at some of the opportunities and projects I have been a part of and thought, “Wow. You know, I probably wouldn’t have met this amazing person if we weren’t a part of this.” The appreciation for their time and talent becomes more prevalent when reflecting at the end of the project. What a blessing it is to know that there are infinite possibilities out in the world that give us the chance to connect with people who live with passion and love to create in order to make the world a better place.
And not to mention, drink a delicious cup of coffee while in the process.