When you’re stuck in life, get outside your own head, and collaborate.
As a digital expert and a trainer, I was asked to prepare technology training for my organization. Over-complicating the issue, I struggled for weeks figuring out where to start. I brainstormed on paper, created outlines, and still could not determine the way forward.
Everything changed in a single, fortuitous collaboration. Two colleagues needed help with the tool so I offered a short lesson. With a 15-second outline as my guide and 30 minutes to teach, we launched into it. In a flash, we were 15 minutes past time. After distilling the knowledge through practice and a few minutes to collaborate, it was game on.
45 minutes of sharing ideas produced greater results than weeks of stewing over something myself. When we’re stuck in our own heads, this process can become a self-defeating loop. Inspiration is often not even about finding new ideas but distilling and making the right connections. David Perell‘s an example of a master collaborator and designed a course around the idea. He’s constantly sharing and sharpening ideas through conversation and social media. Through this feedback loop, he refines the idea until it’s ripe for writing has built.
Without a strong network, this has been a new frustration point of working remotely. I’m suffering from the absence of the low-cost engagements of our office culture. I can’t just randomly wander over to another colleague’s office, exchange ideas for 15 minutes, and have a resolution. Working remotely, spontaneous conversations are far and few between. The magic is lost or long-delayed when you have to coordinate meetings and remember the nuances; it’s awkward.
What are some things we can do?
Build time into the work schedule for informal conversations with your co-workers.
Call a friend or family member; they’d likely appreciate the call regardless!
Discussion with your significant other; you’re strengthening your relationship by having meaningful conversations and working collaboratively to solve problems.
Contribute to a community, on or offline. I’m in a writing group and a Bible study, both meeting on a weekly basis. Both offer surprising insights beyond writing or God.
Better utilize social media. Twitter is full of different perspectives willing to solve problems, albeit some more practical than others. Come with an open mind and curate your feed to avoid distractions.
Connect with interesting people. In the digital age, there’s no easier time to reach out and have conversations with anyone, anywhere.
Write online and share your work through a blog or newsletter. This can require persistence as the feedback may not be immediate, but the writing process helps distill thoughts.
As for me, after wasting hours planning, fretting, and stressing, a 45-minute collaboration sent me flying across the finish line. The project that I’d dreaded for weeks was embarrassingly completed in two hours. Collaborate for better results.