No matter what kind of creative work we do, it's impossible to exist as a single leaf on a big, empty tree. 

No matter what kind of creative work we do, it's impossible to exist as a single leaf on a big, empty tree. 

It’s always a tough proposition, this effort to bring new thoughts to life. It’s a tough proposition because the pressures of daily life are challenging. Mundane to-do lists consume precious time spent living. Endlessly tedious tasks that you simply have to accomplish sap an awful lot of energy that might be spent doing the hard work of creation. Unless you’re a poet upstairs in your garret, the reality is that you’re likely going to work with other people if you want to create anything that matters. Even if you are that poet, you still probably need to speak to other people sometimes. It’s not that those other people are helping write your poems, but in any way that other people facilitate your life, any way at all, other people are part of your creative work. 

That’s why this holiday week I’m thankful for colleagues whom I can trust. That’s a complicated concept, of course. Trust is not simply about hearing the truth, or counting on someone to pick you up at an appointed time. Trust is about counting on insight and integrity mixed with courage and confidence. Trust is about knowing that people have your back while remaining unafraid to tell you you’re wrong.

We all know this intuitively, but I’ll put it into simple language: trusting relationships are hard to find. Certainly there are different levels of confidence in different people. We trust our spouses with more than we’ll trust the garage mechanic who’s reliably taken care of our cars over the years. But development of trust is asymptotic. It’s easier to achieve low levels of trust than it is to achieve high levels.

As artists the subject of trust has much deeper, nuanced requirements. Just being able to get along doesn’t cut it. Being honest and forthright doesn’t do it either. For creatives there’s a level of subtle loyalty that’s very hard to describe yet vital for continued success. Projects have their own unique life cycles, and players involved at all levels are not merely automatons that can be easily exchanged.

I place a lot of trust in those with whom I choose to work. As a corp who takes deep meaning in the process of invention as much as it cares about the (obvious) professional component of making cool stuff, it matters a great deal that we can talk about hard things as well as pull the rope in a single direction. Not everyone is so lucky to work with people like that.

I have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but when I think about those whom I spend my artistic days, I’m moved.  Because of their insight, their acumen, their passion, and their honesty, the sum of our parts is always greater than the measurement of our pieces. 


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