Why this “lame” cliché is the key to business growth

Yesterday I had an incredible day being styled by the one and only Elsa Isaac. Elsa has worked with celebrities and small business owners on the brink of superstardom, including Marie Forleo. It took me 2+ years to make the commitment to invest in myself in this way and my only regret is waiting so long. Where would my business be if I felt incredibly confident every single time I got dressed for the last 2+ years? I'll never know and here’s why …

Because I swore I could do it all by myself.

And, of course, I was right. I could (and did) shop for clothes, put together different looks and essentially dress myself for all of my speaking gigs, photo shoots, retreats, conferences, founder’s dinners and other special events I attended. BUT … my results were lackluster AF. A few times I was able to find an outfit that I loved, that fit well and looked great, but most of the time I felt incredibly uncomfortable in my clothes …

Which really put a damper on my confidence.

12933008_10153389934376881_5523559636192478401_nEven my husband reflected back to me, “you are an incredibly confident person except when it comes to getting dressed.” And it’s true. I regularly had meltdowns when I needed to get dressed to go out. I would blame it on needing to lose weight or being funkily proportioned. In reality, I just didn’t know how to find great clothes to adorn my already amazing body and because I hated shopping I was never in the right state of mind while doing it.

Insert: Elsa. I had been eyeing her website and wanting to hire her for over two years but I made a bunch of excuses about “not being on that level yet.” Of course investing in working with a stylist is exactly the kind of gamechanger that can boost your self-worth in a way that propels you to the next level, but I digress. Last week, in the midst of one of my I-have-to-find-an-outfit-that-looks-fabulous-but-I-don’t-know-where-to-even-begin meltdowns, I looked ahead at all the events I have this year: Cake + Coaching, a speaking gig in Harlem, a mastermind retreat in Maui, MastermindTalks in Ojai, MADE: IN FRANCE and others, I realized it was finally time to bring in some collaborative help.

Collaborating is so much more fun than doing it alone.

Working with Elsa was a ridiculous good time. I have never loved shopping so much. I tried on tons of outfits, we gabbed, we snacked and I got so much great advice about how to put together great looks, fabrics that drape well, cuts that are great for my body (and cuts that are the devil incarnate). It was a truly collaborative process because, though Elsa is an amazing stylist, she is not an expert on my personal style. So we had to work together, try different looks, talk it out and figure out which items were gonna make me feel and look like a million bucks and which weren’t. The results? 23 incredibly gorgeous, high quality pieces of clothing that are comfortable, fit perfectly and feel amazing on my body. #somuchwin

What was really interesting is that Elsa repeatedly said, “Rachel, you know more than you think you do about styling.” Having grown up with a sister who studied Fashion Merchandising in college and has worked for Chanel, Coach and Ralph Lauren, I had a good education about fashion. However, it wasn’t until I was collaborating with Elsa on my new wardrobe that this hidden skillset revealed itself. And there is science to back it up. That’s right …

The mere presence of other people can boost our own performance.

In the field of social psychology, there is a theory called the “social facilitation” effect. The “social facilitation” effect is one of the earliest findings in social psychology and states that “the mere presence of other people engaged in the same task can boost our motivation.” This adds truth to the cliché: two heads are better than one. Just think about all of the amazing hip hop and R&B collaborations — throw Drake or Chris Brown on any song and it’s instantly better and let’s not even talk about the ridiculously successful On the Run Tour that Beyonce and Jay-Z did.

The same is true for my own projects. Small Business Bodyguard was a collaboration between me and my former business partner, as well as a team of eight people! Could I have written Small Business Bodyguard on my own? Of course! In fact, I did. I would write each chapter on my own but knowing that a team of folks was waiting to do their magic to that chapter once it was drafted was highly motivational. Having a team ensured that I completed the work in a timely manner even though I gave birth to my second child and moved across the country while writing it (yeah, you cannot make this stuff up!). Having a team also made me take more risks because I knew I would get tons of great feedback and insight on those risks before SBB was published. Some of those risks are exactly the things that make people LOVE Small Business Bodyguard so much.

Collaboration in business consistently provides greater accomplishment … the combined brainpower of intelligent people can solve complex problems and achieve amazing results.”

So the next time you find yourself balking at making a smart investment in hiring help because “you can do it all by yourself,” remember that doing it by yourself will not get you the best results. For best results, collaborate.

Want to collaborate with an experienced and talented team on creating your next product? Join me, the Rodgers Collective Team and a small group of smart, ambitious women (and possibly a few men) for MADE: IN FRANCE this Fall.


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