Fish on its own

If you’ve read, listened and watched TED talks about doing something different, starting something new and changing the world, you will have heard people talk about the importance of not trying to do it all by yourself.

The image of that one little fish swimming against the flow of the shoal, it’s misleading. Yet we seem to want to try and do it all by ourselves, whether because we are independent and are used to being the one to strike out, or because we simply don’t know anyone who is interested in helping us.

I’ve talked before about ‘a deadline and deal‘ – taking our ideas to action and hurdling those procrastinating hours is best overcome by a time limit and the involvement of someone else. We need relationship in our lives. We need other people to encourage us when we have lost all our motivation, we need their skills when we haven’t yet learnt for ourselves and mostly we need the accountability.

Of course, meeting and connecting with new people regularly is important, but far and above in terms of effectiveness is a core of people who count themselves as ‘on your side’.

In her book, Wishcraft, Barbara Sher talks about success teams – the people who you gather around you to help you get what you want. I relished the idea, but had no idea how to find the people I needed, certainly most of my friends weren’t interested in meeting up to talk about my projects, and they didn’t have any of their own. I attended a few networking events to see whether the kind of people I was hoping to connect with, but it all seemed a bit, well, random.

It was when I met Richard Lalchan and heard about his intention to start Creatives Hub that I realised: This was the kind of group needed to join. People who were about creativity. People who, like me, struggled with their projects, who’d been thinking about things for years and not done anything about them, people who wanted to get going on something but didn’t know anyone to ask or where to start.

Even then, I could have not foreseen the effect that meeting a small disparate group of people would have on my projects. I realised just how much of my inspiration comes from working with other people. Of course, it’s not all plain sailing, you still have the awkward stage of being strangers and not knowing much about one another, and we’ve dealt with the unexpected tannoy announcements, illnesses and long-distance communication. So what is it exactly that makes this working together such a motivator for me? Here’s five reasons why joining a mini hub has inspired me.

Inspiration #1 – You learn a lot

Every mini hub meeting has a theme, and we undertake an exercise or have an discussion around that drawing on our knowledge and experience. As I had never met at least three members of the group before we started attending, it’s a great way to get to know people and hear a story. We have heard about necklaces and about harp music, about homelessness and the Peel Sessions, about sci-fi fiction and about the Sunday Times. It’s opening yourself up to hearing about other people’s worlds, experiences and strategies and I learn something new every time.

Inspiration #2 – You are encouraged

Seth Godin writes about the importance of showing up. Just being there is an encouragement to other people, and I find the fact that the rest of the group are there itself buoys me. Time is a gift and that act of giving, sharing and listening is something to lift your spirits. That’s before the words people give to spur you on, to affirm your enthusiasm with theirs and to take your idea seriously.

Inspiration #3 – Your ideas are valued

Sharing your precious dreams and thoughts is scary. Putting a big idea to the group, worrying that they will think it’s silly, or perhaps worse, impossible takes courage. Yet we are all there to do the same. When we were still effectively strangers, we shared cautiously, now we know each other better, we are more relaxed, knowing it’s a place to share without judgement. It takes time to get to know each other, but it’s worth it.

Inspiration #4 – You see progress

I find it incredibly exciting to hear about other people’s projects. Our original ideas that we shared at the first meeting are now growing little wings and taking their first steps. It’s fascinating to see something progress and a privilege to have been there for the beginning. We’ve seen the imperfect versions as they are developed and it gives you a big boost for your own project – it takes the pressure off and makes you realise that art doesn’t start off perfect.

Inspiration #5 – It becomes something

We started out as strangers with ideas. Now we are each others cheerleaders, with growing, evolving projects. We don’t know where they’ll end up but we’ve changed over time. We’ve got committed, we’ve dug deep and shared and now we are enjoying it. We get real feedback, we are stretching ourselves and making progress in a way we couldn’t have imagined.

It requires a commitment, showing up when you might not feel like it and sharing when it’s a bit scary. You never know whether you’ll get on or if you will strongly disagree. But when you have a purpose in common and a desire to grow, when you are encouraging and non-judgmental, great things can happen.

Over to you

What inspires you about working with other people?

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Creatives Hub Live!

We have a lot of interest in our mini-hub accountability groups. In response we run quarterly events to give you a taster of what happens in the groups each month. You’ll get to mingle with other creatives and entrepreneurs and get inspired to achieve ideas you’ve been procrastinating about for far too long!

We would love to see you there.

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Claire Meredith

Claire Meredith is a speaker, writer, and coach who loves to inspire people to go for what they REALLY want. She left her job in May 2014 to live in Italy and splits her time between la bella Italia and good old England. Claire has previously been co-host of Hatch podcast and blogger here at Creatives Hub. Her website is www.clairemeredith.co.uk

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