Creativity and Collaboration Part 2: Do your own thing
If you asked me whether I'd rather do something hard alone or with a group, I'd likely choose the group. Since you know I am a pastor and a follower of Jesus, this shouldn't surprise you. If I didn't like working with other people then I'm in the wrong profession. However, I'm also becoming ok with the possibility that our preference for collaboration and community can diminish or degrade some of our endeavors. At this point you will likely be tempted to convict me of heresy because churchy people are supposed to do everything together, right? Well don't, I'm thinking out loud, which is what writers do, so don't write me off because I dared to question a fundamental assumption. Besides, more than one faithful character from the Bible has spent a season alone, isolated from his/her group. Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness is the first example that comes to mind.
With this new possibility in mind, I responded to a friend of mine via email that will likely start a new non-profit soon. His idea is so creative, fascinating, and different that I'm afraid I won't tell it well if I tried. So instead of describing his idea, I'll share my response to his invitation to review the business model, a multi page document that got me excited enough to blog on a Friday afternoon. Here is what I wrote:
I'd love to sit down with you and encourage you to keep pressing forward. I also have some suggestions re: the proposal (the style and the content) that may or may not be helpful. But I should also preface any comments with something I've learned as an entrepreneur: trust your instincts and don't let anyone rewrite your passion. This is your baby, and it is a baby. And babies need to be nurtured and cared for by their parents. You wouldn't sub-contract your job as a parent to someone else right now, would you? You are the only person in the entire world that loves (the name of his project) enough to dream about it at night and think about it when you wake up. Nobody is ever going to love it as much as you. So, listen to other people's advice, and then do exactly what you want. Trust me, it's a lot easier to implement your creativity than someone else's.
Right now I'm ok holding in tension the importance of community and the need to sometimes ignore the community. For the sake of his project, I hope my buddy takes my advice and then does what he wants.