Unsplash photo by Kelly Sikkema

Last November one of my dearest friends returned to the UK almost unexpectedly.  At the time it was such a gift balancing the changing nature of another very important relationship to me that year.  And very early on she spoke about going into business with me. It seemed like the answer to prayer as a very successful business partnership had ended earlier in 2019; and in many ways her skillset complemented mine.

Too much longing makes you blind

I was so keen to make it work I ignored all the warning signs.  I accepted all her reasons for procrastinating at the start because they were very real.  She and her family made the decision to leave South Africa very quickly so of course she needed time to settle her daughter into a new school. Looking back there is a part in all this that is quite amusing because, it showed just how versatile I could be.  Every time she came up with a new problem, I found a way to accommodate it. That said I was firm on one boundary and that was whilst we were setting up this second business, I was only prepared to give half a day a week to it.

When my coach advised against forming a collaboration until my business was more established I felt he was being over cautious.  After all with my rule I had it all in hand didn’t I? And so my lesson continued.

Almost at the finish line

In June through a business associate, I found out about conscious contracts.  This seemed like the perfect way to set up our business on a firm footing.  My friend agreed.  So we spent 6 weeks designing it with a great lawyer who I would recommend to anyone else wanting to do this kind of thing.  We both enjoyed the process and my friend said that it was what she needed to get things up and running.  I thought great we have gone over all these hurdles and now we are ready to go.  We had drawn up all the legal documents we needed to create a social enterprise, I was so excited.  All that was needed was a signature. And then nothing.

My initial thoughts were that it was summer and everyone was going on holiday so of course we were in a go slow.  I just didn’t want to look any deeper than that.  Then this month three weeks after we had moved, she came to visit and said she was pulling out.

I was disappointed but not surprised.  A part of me had been expecting it. Let me extrapolate in terms of what could be helpful for you.

Divine will

As I wrote a couple of weeks back it is all about isness.  Who are you in your beingness? Taking time to feel into what’s happening can help you connect to your higher self and see beyond your own perspective.  That way you will start to see your patterns.  What I learnt from my 10 month experience of wondering when or even if my friend was going to commit to the business was you cannot force anything. My will was not enough to carry us both.

In other words there has to be energetic alignment.  It would have helped to take a moment to check in through meditation to see if this was what we were meant to be doing.  The phrase not my will but thy will comes to mind.  Before the start of a project or joining a new group, check in with your higher self or the Divine and see if it feels right.  Follow your intuition.

Even before any of that, collaborations work best when there is energetic resonance between you.  Put this another way, both parties need to be in their power, and have their own sovereignty.  When there is a match like that amazing things can happen.

What practical steps can you take to test whether a collaboration is for you?

Start small.  Agree to do something which doesn’t cost much time or money and see how that works.  When I had a business partner for nearly 6 years we did a number of little things together first before investing a lot of time or money.  In that way we got a real feel for how the other worked and we were ready to make a much bigger commitment.

In another very successful collaboration I had for over 18 months, we were both clear from the get go what we wanted from it; and what we could bring.  We developed a product that demonstrated both our skills and vitally important we put in the same amount of energy to make it a success.  When I realised my energy for the idea was waning, I then brought the collaboration to an end because I had so much respect for the person I was working with that I didn’t want to let her down.

Why didn’t I collapse when this venture fell through?

Three reasons: the friendship was more important to me than having a business together.  Second I do believe in Divine will.  I have a fantastic idea for a business but either it’s not mine to do or it’s not for this time.  I am also an eternal optimist and believe that there is something better waiting for me because energetically when you create a vacuum, it will be filled with new possibilities providing you don’t get in your own way.  Lastly I have learnt that I am not alone.  Whatever choices I make there is always space in the armchair of the Divine for me and you.  A space where we can be with it all.

Why are collaborations not always the answer?
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