I had an awesome experience this week. My friend Andrew teaches a course in “Advanced Group” at Laurier University. It’s a postgraduate course teaching Social Workers to facilitate groups…everything from parenting to addiction. He asked me to come and talk about my experiences as a member of various groups that were lead with different styles – some great – some…not so much.
I always love talking about myself so Andrew and I drove to Kitchener where I met with the most amazing group of people.
Before Andrew asked me to come and speak, I wouldn’t have thought that I had been much of a resource on this, I tend to work solo, especially on things like personal growth. Then I got thinking. I realized my growth both as an artist and as a person has been constantly involved working with other people, sometimes in a group situation, sometimes one on one.
This interplay between working with others and working on my own has been playing with my mind ever since.
We think of the great artist of the world as individuals who worked on their own, and they did (generally), but it can’t be a coincidence that so many of the world’s greatest artists worked in the same cities and had overlapping careers: Mozart and Beethoven, Michelangelo and Leonardo. It extends outside the find art community, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison both said their friendship with each other was a tremendous increase to their creative and industrial output.
The interplay between working together and working alone is essential for our growth. We develop our skills, hone our craft and find our true voices alone, together we push each other to greatness, encourage each other to do better and keep each other grounded and sane. We need both.