Collaboration is a nice idea. People working together to achieve an outcome greater than any one person could create alone. Like Utopia. And it’s become a kind of catchphrase recently. But not everyone is equipped from the factory for collaboration; even if we expect them to be. While some of us are natural born collaborators, some aren’t; and some may move too far over into the “but what does everyone else think? We must have consensus” side of the pendulum.
Healthy collaboration (based on interdependence) can be an amazing tool. But what does it really look like and how does it work?
Collaboration requires a certain type of space or environment to flourish.
Collaborative space allows for openness, for ideas to flow, and for the genius of more than one person to shine. “Me” space is limited by one person. “We” space stops being all about one shining superstar and starts being about a community; like a galaxy of stars or a universe. And when that happens, an infinite number of possibilities suddenly show up.
In a “me” space it’s all about “mine”: competition, scarcity, and “what’s mine and how can I control it”. Keep Reading →
If you fall into the category of people who drive themselves nuts by trying to constantly make others happy: PLEASE read on.
(Or don’t if you just don’t want to. I depise those things telling me I MUST follow this person or read this email or I’ll die or be disappointed for the rest of my life. If you don’t want to read this, I’ll be ok either way; but these rules have helped others and may offer some insight).
To any People Pleasers in the house: you’ve got my empathy! YES, it’s great to make others happy and feel good. It brings us joy. And yes, being kind is a wonderful thing, the world needs more of it. Many of us love seeing the look of pleasure on someone else’s face and like knowing we helped to put it there.
But there are rules. Limits. Boundaries. You can’t do it all the time and it can’t be your only focus. It will wear you down, exhaust you, and eventually you can end up overwhelmed, tired, and worn out.
That’s why boundaries are so very very important; and here I called them “Rules”. They can be limits, stops, or lines you create for yourself but they’re all boundaries.
Here are some of the hard and fast rules I train people on: Rule: Don’t please others in ways that cost you. Rule: Make sure you have the room to ask for what you want, not just focus on what someone else wants. Rule: Self care isn’t selfish. Rule: Be mindful of giving to others when you don’t have enough for yourself. Rule: Never place the value of someone else’s good opinion or attention above your own. Rule: If you’re afraid to speak your mind, pay attention. (P.S. There’s a way to do it gracefully).
If you are a reforming (or reformed) People Pleaser, know that you can change. You can learn how to take care of yourself AND also do kind things for others, when it works for you. The energy is different. NO longer will you give when you’re not filled up; you’ll be able to recognize when it’s time for you to give yourself a Time-Out and recharge BEFORE you say “Yes, I’ll do that.” Just to make someone else happy. There are no medals for martyrs due to exhaustion.
Is this you? Are you doing kind things over and over for others in order to get love?
This subconscious (and dysfunctional) relationship tactic might go something like: “If I give you this (or do this for you) then you’ll give me love (or treat me like I’m important/worthwhile).” And it’s destined for disaster.
Giving with an expectation of getting something in return is a common game we play on ourselves and in relationships.
Reciprocity (give and take) is built on the concept of mutuality; with both people participating. But when you’re playing the “giving to get” game, it’s far from mutual. The game is born out of a feeling of lack, and it ends in emotional pain. That lack is that you might feel needy, unimportant, not “good enough,” unlovable or unworthy exactly as you are.
In a “giving to get” cycle, one person ends up doing most of the giving, the niceties and forgiving while the other person is on the receiving end of all that kindness. Whether or not they asked for it.
In your mind you may think “they ought to love me, after all I’ve done.” You may not even know you do this, you may just wonder why you’ve ended up disappointed in relationships. “After all I’ve done for you, how can you treat me this way?”
May I gently remind you: it was your choice to do all that doing, no one made you do it. But the consequences remain that you may have given all of yourself to someone who wasn’t giving the same back.
What is it? It’s an unhealthy way we act in relationships if we believe we have to do something in order to earn the love of others. It’s ‘giving to get’ something in return; an expectation of being loved or cared for if you do the right thing or say the right things or act the right way. It’s a basic belief in conditional love.
Why do you need to stop it? It’s a set up for disaster. It leaves you disappointed and feeling taken for granted while you are angry at the other person for doing all the taking. But you set it up that way: you did all the giving.