Reflecting on Collaboration: Learning to Relinquish Control

The other day, a comment was made that I needed to be more collaborative. For days, I’ve gone back and forth in my mind over this statement. I know that I have spent a great deal of time collaborating with others when they reached out to me. However, in my own life, the reality is that I have NOT been great at being an instigator of collaboration.


When I embark on creating something, I am a bit of a control freak. In my mind, I have to “own” every piece. I may ask for opinions but I have never really asked for ideas. Those two actions are completely different. Asking someone for their opinion is really about the validation of your own thoughts. You will consider what they have to say but what you are truly seeking is a nod of approval because otherwise, what you aimed to do may be invalidated.

On the other hand, seeking ideas is about opening your mind to the input of others at a greater depth. You will not only consider what they have to say but also allow your work to be changed.

Ideas change “your work” to “our work”

Embarking upon my path to being a better collaborator means that I have to let go and relinquish control. Today, I own this new journey both personally and professionally.

There are elements of what I do that may very well be mine alone but I can identify plenty that would be greatly improved by including other voices in the conversation. Collaboration is the key to growth, after all.

Yesterday, during David Jakes and Christopher Long’s session on “Wonder by Design”, I found myself sitting in a group embarking upon an activity that required total collaboration. I will admit to being uncomfortable with NOT controlling it. It was frustrating waiting on others to come up with their parts however it was also instructional.

Collaboration has nothing to do with the individual person and everything to do with the growth and outcome of the entire group. We all have room to grow in many areas and when we collaborate, our weaknesses can very well be another person’s strength. I like to think of collaboration as a “self-healing circle” and it only works if we are open to it.

Step 1: Let go and relinquish control

Note to Self…



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