Last week we talked about those times when our growth means that we have to let go of certain people. Not because we don’t care about them, but because they’ve chosen to stay put… stagnant. Our action was a reflection, for them, of their inaction and they continued to act out against our better choices. But the other side of that coin is remarkable. Your choice to move forward and grow will attract like-willed people. When you endeavor and dare to live an extraordinary life, people of higher caliber who are seeking the same will suddenly show up beside you. It's amazing to have friends walking next to you on an extraordinary path, parallel to yours, because they’ve chosen to answer their own life’s calling. This is a necessary component to your growth and you won’t have to look that hard to find these people. This is because people who dare to do great things with their life recognize that quality within others. You’re at a conference and you can see it shining within the eye of a passing stranger. You hear it in their tone of voice when they are giving a presentation or simply talking about a project over dinner and drinks. You sense it in the way they treat those around them, particularly the way they treat the waiter, bartender and the young lady behind the airline ticket counter.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to these people, they want you to! They want to have the same type of connection and support that you crave. Imagine having a cohort or three that you know you can call when you get ‘stuck’ in the creative process. Someone or ‘some-ones’ (yes I make up words, go with it) who understand what it’s like to encounter resistance on a particular project and understand without you even having to explain. Yet they’ll force you to express your frustrations because they know that when you get that ‘stuff’ out in the open it will no longer own you.
These remarkable people are trustworthy. They value you and your mission and purpose in life. They know that you have great intentions, but they care too much to stand by and say or do nothing when its obvious that you’ve been stuck in a rut and dealing with something that seems to be holding you back. These are the people that are aware of their own shame and welcome you to share yours because they know that nothing works better against the grip of shame than bringing light to it. They won’t talk to you condescendingly and they can keep a tight lip because they have experienced that themselves and know how carefully what you share needs to be held.
One of the coolest aspects of having cohorts in your life is that when they share their passion and describe a project and their process it will inevitably stir something within you in regards to something you’re working on. The two projects may not even be related in the least, but your hearts for creativity most certainly are alike. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to a cohort share about a project so completely unrelated to my life and yet standing next to their fire somehow sparks were ignited within me.
When you do find yourself journeying next to these people, give freely. What you give to them without emotional, financial or spiritual strings attached will return to you with the same intensity with which you gave it.
So how exactly do you ‘reach out’ to these people? Keep doing what you’re doing, but lift your head up from time to time and take a look around you to see who else is moving in the same direction. Then summon the courage to ask a simple question. “I’m interested in what you’re working on these days, would you take a moment to share your experience with me?” If they say no, don’t take it personally, because it isn’t personal. Just try it again… and again… and again until someone bursts at the seams in response. Trust me, people love to talk about their passions and processes. Brene Brown says, “One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on ‘going it alone.’ Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone.” No one cares if you made it on your own. Because those who have had a moderate amount of success are already aware that it isn't possible alone. It doesn't work that way.
Someday you may find that a cohort’s passions and yours intersect on a particular project. Should that be the case, you will find that you are one of the most blessed people on the planet. When that wave comes along you just may have one of the most enjoyable experiences of your creative life. Ride that wave for all it’s worth.
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"My friends have made the story of my life. In a thousand ways they have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges and enabled me to walk serene and happy in the shadow cast by my desperation." - Helen Keller
"When a match has equal partners then I fear not." - Aeschylus
"I love acting with kids, cause they're great acting partners. They're totally present. Even when they're acting, they're still available and you can crack them up or something weird will happen and they'll go with it." - Mark Ruffalo