In praise of partnerships

This is not a post about romance. But it might be about loneliness.

Don’t worry, dear Listers – I’m fine. No cry for help here. But I’ve been keenly aware lately that the pandemic has left a lot of very creative people adrift, and even now that the light is shining through the clouds, there are a lot of performers who don’t know what to do next.

Don’t wait

First off, get moving. It’ll be awhile before things get fully back to “normal”, and of course we know this — I’ve been haranguing you about it for months now. But NOW is the time to start building something for your future, not in spite of current uncertainty, but because of it. The biggest thing to remember is this…

You are not alone.

Collaboration has never been more important. At this time when the arts are evolving because they have to, adapting to an unfamiliar world with questions hanging everywhere, it is in working together, finding strong partnerships and nurturing them almost obsessively, that creator/performers can take a certain amount of control in their future work. After so many, many months of isolation, lost opps and technological challenges, the lack of the familiar has been deeply frightening for many Listers, but working through that fear and building something of your own is one of the most powerful choices you can make. And combining your skills, vision, network and experience with that of one or two other creative people can spark a nearly alchemical reaction, and you can build projects and events together that none of you could achieve alone.

Finding your partners is a process and takes a leap of faith, but even if one partnership fails, others will not. This is worth pursuing, because even if you fall flat on your face, the things you learn along the way may be among the most important lessons of your life.

Action steps

  1. Take one idea and flesh it out. Write down or type out everything you can think of, creating a vivid image in your mind. Some of it won’t happen, but it doesn’t matter at this stage. Just start developing that idea so you can talk about it coherently.
  2. Now that you have some inkling of what you’re aiming for, talk to colleagues you trust and fit well with. Don’t tell them everything, but see if one or two of them might share some of that vision. Figure out in your own mind what they might bring to the table. And then, when the time is right, find out if they’d be interested in investing some time on this project, or another one, with you. If not, go through the same process with someone else you trust, until you have one or two really solid candidates in hand.

These are the first steps in a longer process, but they also represent a habit that you can use throughout your career, and even after you’re no longer actively performing. Identifying and idea and finding creative buddies is a skill you can apply to every area of your life, and while it may leave you feeling vulnerable at first, the process becomes far less scary once you’ve been through it a few times.

This is the way dreams are built. Get moving!

Here’s a requisite nudge: if you need some guidance in laying out your project or even in how to find and approach your potential buddies, please feel free to schedule a session with me. But either way, you can do this!

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