What Coworking And Collaboration Mean To Me

So I went for a walk with my son this morning.

We had to get cash out the ATM and needed to do it before David Beckham came to give our boiler its annual service.  

David drives a gigantic Mercedes 4X4, and you can only pay him cash. 

Let’s go, to the end of our road.

I woke up like a bear with a sore head; my world seemed a solemn place.

You know, like a hangover, without the fun of being drunk the night before.

#Supercoolson was not impressed that he had to leave his home at such short notice, and even less impressed he had to leave his Fortnite game.

By the end of our road, we were chatting and laughing.

I am thinking of the hundred things I need to do and the few minutes I had to do them.

What was I going to write in this email that you are reading? 

How come I left it until the last minute AGAIN? 

It is overwhelming again.

But the sun was shining, and we were outside in the cold fresh air.

Gratitude and calm

Then 25 minutes later, we walked back into the cul-de-sac where we live, and suddenly my head felt lighter.

My son was explaining something to me, and I got hit with a wave of gratitude and calm. 

Something popped in my head and pointed out a configuration that showed me everything was going to be ok. 

My very own fire hose

In the last month, I feel like I’m drinking from the fire hose; everything is happening at once. 

I am certainly struggling to keep all the pieces on the chessboard. 

And to continue the game analogy, I’m doing several puzzles at the same time. 

And when they are all done, they’ll fit together to do one big fantastic puzzle. 

I’ve had this going on for years, and I love it. 

I mean it is somewhere between exhausting and fascinating, mostly frustrating but I love it. 

I’m doing a 45-minute talk on Collaboration. 

“Radical Collaboration — Designing your Freelance Life with Bernie Mitchell”

At #FreelanceHeroesDay 2020 – RSVP here.

I’ve been spinning this talk around in my head for the last six months.

Part of me wanted to quote books. 

I have read a lot of books about collaboration, one of my favourite is The Collaborative Habit by Twyla Tharp, it is not a dry business book.

Twyla talks about her collaborations with Billy Joel, Jerome Robbins, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, David Byrne, Richard Avedon, Milos Forman, Norma Kamali, and Frank Sinatra.

I’ll leave a book list for sure, but this is not what I wanted to have in there. 

Coworking and Collaboration

Also, I’ve invested heavily in the coworking industry and movement.

I have spent a decade running around coworking and have got to learn amazing things about myself and other people.

Since 2010 I’ve learnt to understand how coworking works, how to communicate about it. 

Back in 2010, things like Be2campTweetCampKindredHQ and Meet Up were great places start in learning about coworking, un-conferences and community.

Now I’ve at the place where I find more and more things I did not know existed, or people I did not realise had done something in coworking. 

It is one of those “the more I know, the more I see how much I don’t know” things.  

Never-ending meal. 

When I worked in catering and events, I never got to the place where I knew it all.

Mainly when I worked in a busy kitchen or bar every day was exciting. 

Not because we were making the same food or drink, but because the thrill was getting set up even better and working even smarter. 

I was fortunate to work in a few places with other Chefs and bartenders, who took tremendous pride in their risottos and margaritas. 

We’d talk endlessly about cookbooks, food, drink and I’ve never stopped cooking and never will, I love playing the host.

But the Collaboration talk can’t be about: 

It can’t be an advert for coworking or catering. 

And most freelance talks are about imposter syndrome or productivity, so that is off the table.

Then I thought of where I am now and how m head is falling off, I’m full of imposter syndrome and have too much going on. 

So how did I get here and what is going on?

How did I get here? Ready?

So I met a mentor in 2008 via the networking group I ran we had a few sessions, and that was it.  

A year later he called me up and said Mitchell come and do this; we need someone who knows about events and groups. 

So I went, and that was the Innovation Warehouse, one of the first wave of coworking spaces and incubators in London. 

Then from there went to a Kindred and then met a load of people including @Workhubs and Mainyard Studios and Bathtub2board room.

At innovation Warehouse, Juile Hall and I ran a TEDx thing, she also told me about a guy called Simon Sinek and a something called ‘why’.

At the TEDx, I met Pauline who introduced me to a load of people in the Sharing Economy which led to meeting Ouishare where I hung out for six years. 

Early in Ouishare, I met Lisa Gansky, who summoned me to her conference in San Francisco, where I met Seth Godin, Robin ChasePaul Hawkins, and a whole load of other people. 

Nimble and Freeagent bankrolled my plane ticket – thank you very much.

AND then I went to coworking Europe in 2014 and met even more people – this is already too long – so I’ll take a quantum leap to here.

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