By Dr. Brenetia Adams-Robinson
In our post-pandemic world, we are hearing a lot as it relates to collaborating in order to make success happen. From corporate entities bringing resources together for community problem solving, to team members collaborating to enhance special project outcomes, to individuals bringing resources together to ensure success for the collective whole; collaboration has proven to lead to stronger, more productive outcomes for all.
At the core of any collaborative relationship is the simple but profound concept of trust. If an individual has dealt with emotional wounds caused by a traumatic situation, the capacity to trust will be negatively impacted. As a result, true collaboration will be almost impossible.
Trust is best defined as a belief or confidence in the probability that connecting to another entity will result in positive benefits. This definition recognizes that trust encompasses an inherent risk of vulnerability and the possibility of additional hurt or disappointment if trust is violated. Without trust, collaboration will never be established, or will fall apart quickly if the trust foundation is damaged.
When a person has been hurt or traumatized by life’s issues, the capacity to trust diminishes. Whether an individual is consciously aware of it or not, after trust is shaken, the subconscious mind automatically seeks to self-protect and ensure that future disappointment is minimized.
Without healing, that intense need to self-protect will lead to feelings of ‘you against the world’, which can result in the belief that the only person you can depend on is you, undermining the capacity to pursue a true collaborative relationship.
Collaboration is the most powerful tool in today’s society to enhance an individual’s success strategy, especially for those seeking to reach their next level. So, if one’s capacity to trust has been shattered, how do you jumpstart your journey to be able to collaborate without fear? Below are 3 power strategies to propel you on the journey.
Release Your Fears. You must first face whatever has occurred in your past that fractured your capacity to trust. Dealing with your past issues will put you on the path to healing and help you deal with the fears that drive your inability to let down your guard. Healing is critical to opening yourself up to trust and potential vulnerability.
Connect Outside of Comfort: Realize that stepping out of your comfort zone to connect to someone in collaboration will not be easy; but do it anyway. Practice pushing past fears and embrace the idea of being vulnerable to trust. Start with baby steps. Begin attending network events and connecting with just one person to put yourself out there. In the process, remind yourself to give new people a chance and get to know them. Avoid the urge to pre-judge them through the lens of mistrust.
Push Even in Discomfort: The more you put yourself out there, the easier it is to be bold in seeking more collaboration opportunities. Building trust again will take time, but it will come if you are persistent in pushing past your fears. Be adventurous in pursuing opportunities to network. Reach out to individuals you do not know who have similar goals and interests. Be willing to open yourself up to the amazing opportunities to see where a connection can lead.
Deciding to collaborate when you have been disappointed by the traumas of life will not be easy. You will need to ask yourself one simple question -- are you going to allow your fears to undermine your capacity to see your dreams manifest in your life? Success is not built in the silo of your safe environment. You must step out of your comfort zone and make it happen. COLLABORATION IS THE KEY to that level of success.