“If you are the smartest person in the room, change rooms.”

Great idea, but why the focus on smart? How about the most compassionate person in the room? Or creative? Or curious?

What if (and I know this is radical), we chose freelancers and creatives that nurtured our own talents while also supplementing our intellectual, emotional, creative and psychological diet in such a way as to set us up for success? Aren’t genuine communities and villages built on the idea that different people bring unique attributes and add value in the same way companion planting does in a garden?

It certainly seems far more appealing than relying on the singular ability of the individual to ace extrinsic pursuits.

Years ago, I was working on a play with an actor who loved the idea that not all things could come from one person. It wasn’t in a “keys in the fishbowl, catch my bra!” kind of way. It was recognition that we need to connect as social creatures to be spurred on by new, varying, and interesting ideas. We are incredibly curious, variety-seeking creatures. Yet, if left to our own devices, can fall into routines and ruts that deprive us of joy. We can lose our ability to connect with ourselves and with the person in front of us as life becomes a series of routines.

It is only when we break away from those routines and reintroduce what is curiosity creating, textured and different to the standard that we feel refreshed.

Life is a lot more like pizza than we would like to admit.

a pizza on a black bunch surrounded by flour

Photo by Inna Gurina on Unsplash

A dog, with its super sensitive nose, doesn’t smell pizza as the one item. The dog smells the flour, water, yeast, garlic and oil in the tomato sauce, the extra pinch of basil and the three cheeses in the mix you chose. And that’s not even getting close to the other topping.

Human beings think “oh pizza…” with less a less mindful appreciation of what’s in front of us. We notice when the quality is off. Or if the delivery driver took the corner too fast and we’ve got an impromptu calzone. But we rarely sit down and admire every herb, ingredient and flavour as an individual entity. Nor do we recognise the village of ingredients needed to make even the plainest of pizzas feel special.

My obvious hunger aside, we should always remember that we need people – lots of different people – to help us create a full and flavoursome life. That sometimes, the ingredients of the people, places and activities we encounter may not be what we were expecting. But that we learn to hate olives a little less if they are served in the right context. Or that working together to help create something, even if the combination doesn’t stand out as immediately apparent. And that the alchemy of that combination can make something rather magical we

So, instead of setting yourself up to be with all the smart people or to have the same homogeneous freelance tribe, consider:

·        Who makes you feel safe enough to be curious, to experiment and to try new things?

·        Who challenges you to meet their creativity on your own?

·        Where are the people who challenge how you think but in a way that makes you want to learn more? And test your current ideals and assumptions?

·        Who infects you with their optimism and/or can do attitude?

·        Who is the person who would tell you gently and discreetly if you have toilet paper on my creative shoe?

·        Where are the freelancers you can support, mentor, challenge and build with, too?

Consider what you can do to attract complementary freelance allies that help to nurture you and encourage you to lift your own ability through enjoying a genuine community.

If you’re looking for your freelance allies, why not introduce yourself to others in the Freelance Jungle now?

The Freelance Jungle has a Facebook community, virtual catch-ups for stress reduction and networking, and a commitment to education via podcasts, blogs, and online learning.



Mailing Address:
The Freelance Jungle
PO Box 68
NSW 2528