When One plus One Equals Three

Collaboration, the interaction of two or more people resulting in something greater than what would be achieved through solitary actions. Synergy. One plus one equals three.

While we usually think of collaboration in terms of two or more people working together to achieve a common objective, collaboration is really any two or more components working in concert that results in an outcome that would not have been achieved were it not for the collaboration.

Collaboration, although not a new term, is finding new life as more people and businesses use it as a means to invite and engage the complimentary skills and talents of others in meaningful endeavors. As human beings we look for ways to belong and contribute. Collaboration offers the opportunity to experience both.

The paradox of collaboration is that it is not always the simultaneous efforts of two or more components. It could be anything that is achieved or experienced as a result of what preceded it and upon which the new achievement or experience was built. Therefore, virtually every achievement is a collaboration.

“Every meaningful achievement is the result of a collaboration. Every achievement is meaningful.”

I have to be honest, I struggle with collaboration. At least the idea of collaboration. There is a need in me that wants to know that I have achieved something meaningful as a result of my own efforts and not the combined efforts of anyone or anything else.

And yet I know that whenever I engage the contribution of others what results is always greater than what I might have done on my own. Why then do I resist collaboration?

One reason is that subconsciously I feel that if I allow others to contribute to what I am creating it somehow diminishes the value of “my” work. It didn’t come exclusively from me; therefore, how can I claim it as mine?

Another reason, that follows on the coattails of the first, is the sense that if I allow others to collaborate with me it diminishes my sense of Self worth. If I can’t or didn’t do this by myself am I truly worthy of the benefits that might result.

Have you ever had these thoughts or experiences or am I alone in how I have felt? What I have come to know is that collaboration is inevitable and collaboration has three primary beneficiaries.

Beneficiary One: Me, or whomever has sought the collaboration of others. What results by engaging the support, talents and efforts of others will result in something greater than what might have been experienced or achieved through one’s seemingly solitary efforts.

Beneficiary Two: Those that willingly give of their time, talents and efforts to bring about the objective of the collaboration. They have the opportunity to experience the belonging and contribution that we as human beings seek in and from life. They derive greater meaning and fulfillment as a result of knowing they have contributed to something grander than they might have experienced or achieved on their own.

Beneficiary Three: All whose lives are changed for the better as a result of what was achieved through the collaboration. This could be one person, a hundred people, or all of humanity.

Collaboration takes form in several ways. Intentional collaboration, whereby 2 or more folks willingly work together towards a specific achievement. An example is McCartney and Lennon, the writers of the majority of Beatles songs. I chose this example to also illustrate that those in collaboration don’t necessarily have to like or get along with one another for the collaboration to be successful.

Another form of collaboration is unintentional collaboration, whereby there is an opportunity for one to share information, ideas or an experience with another without the intention of working directly with that individual, and yet as a result something greater is achieved. This can be as simple as one person sharing their experience of overcoming an addiction that inspires the other to change the course of their life.

Then there is the Collaboration of the Soul, what I will call from this point forward, Soulaboration. This is the interaction of two or more Souls, whether appearing as a random occurrence or one that becomes a more defined, longer term relationship. Every interaction with another Soul is a collaboration, whether or not it is acknowledged as such. Each contributes to the unique experience and expression of the other through the dynamics of the interaction. And each has agreed to play their respective role in the life of the other so that each can have the experience(s) that results from the interaction.

A collaboration of the Soul can be as simple and short lived as an engagement with a homeless person on a street corner or it can be a lifelong relationship that was agreed upon before incarnation.

And lastly, there is our collaboration with Spirit, that which seeks it’s expression in this world through each of us, individually and collectively. Spirit is ever present within us and moving through us so that we might live in full expression of the truth of who we are.

Each and every interaction with another is a collaboration. Each is unique and dynamic and offers the opportunity to live in full expression in that moment resulting in a greater understanding and experience of who we are than what was previously held.

All of life is a collaboration. In fact, life itself is a collaboration, perhaps the greatest collaboration of all. 

Jim Phillips is an author, speaker and certified L.I.F.E. and business coach. At the age of thirteen Jim had an experience that confirmed to him he had a specific message to share about our connection to the Divine. This message was to be shared when the time was right, that time is now.

Jim has authored two books to date, “The Key to Life”, which is available now on Amazon.com and “From Inspiration to Intention” which is available as an e-book on Amazon.com.

Additionally, Jim is one of the featured experts in an upcoming movie, “Becoming the Keys” that also features don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, and Dannion Brinkley, author of “Saved by the Light.”

You can hear more of Jim’s personal philosophy on life through his bi-weekly podcast, Ancient Wisdom for a Modern World which can be found on i-Tunes.

Jim graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. He currently resides in Aldie, VA where he continues his writing, coaching and speaking. www.livinginfullexpression.com

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