We are conditioned to want more, do more, go higher, achieve more. I'm all for it but an emphasis is placed on upward mobility. I hear a lot of conversations of people trying to figure out how to get ahead and how to pair up or collab with someone to get more. It seems like everyone is looking for that one person/thing to bring them up to the next level. They are looking for a come up.. A couple of months ago, I watched an interview with Issa Rae and one thing she said really resonated with me. She spoke about working with her friends and peers to make more opportunities when those in status wouldn't give her a break. It got me thinking of:
Lateral Collaborations and how we tend to overlook those at our level because we THINK they don't have the connections we need.
We are so fixated on looking above us that we miss the opportunities beside us.
Why do we want someone to propel us to the next level? Why can't we do it collectively. If you have an idea, talk to your friends, see if there is anyone around who could help you. Do you want to start a podcast? Do you know anyone always tinkering around with electronics? Maybe they can hook you up with a good mic. Are you a photographer trying to flesh out a portfolio? Tap into your network to see if there are any budding models around. Maybe you need help with a business plan, talk to the friend who was the wordsmith in high school, they can make it pop for you. Use the resources around you. Don't worry about who or what is going to help YOU; think more about how to help each other. Symbiotic relationships are the best ones.
Look right within your circle. These are the people that want you to succeed the most, so they will be willing to help you achieve your goals. I know that if I have a talent or skill that I can use to help one of my friends with their project, i’m going to be there with bells on because I want them to succeed, because I’ve then succeeded as well.
You many not know a record executive but you may know someone who works at a digital radio station or someone who does marketing for corporate events. These people could have connections that will get you step further than you could on your own. Something that has always resonated with me:
It takes 10 years to be an overnight success
Some people seem to blow up immediately but we don’t see the work it took to get there. You usually hear someone blowing up and employing their crew: Lady Gaga and the Haus, Janelle Monae and Wonderland, Lil Wayne and Young Money. These are all collaborators; lending their talents to each other for the greater good. So take a look to the right, left and behind you; not just above and in front — who can you help and who can help you?
Assemble your squad and get to werk!