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Fiercely Resilient Collaboration: “Feeling Some Feelings”

  • Author(s): Michiels, Willie Mae
  • Advisor(s): Porter, Lisa
  • et al.
Abstract

Through my work on A Beautiful Day, I recognized my default of assigning my collaborators different levels of worth, creating conditional and transactional interactions. The production highlighted the toxicity of one family’s expectations as they permeated through a collective attempt to create the perfect Thanksgiving meal. The unattainability of the endeavor lowered their worth as assigned by the announcers, two men who shared a running score-based judgment of the play’s characters and their actions. This play was a metaphor for my experience as a production stage manager. I recognized my pattern of withholding my trust and engagement until collaborators proved themselves worthy.

Following my guarded assessment of the worthiness of others, I frequently withheld complete engagement, preventing me from fully connecting to the production, my environment, and the people involved. Upon this realization, I began leaning into uncomfortable relationships and reframing my cycle of expectations. Throughout this process, I evolved into an authentically engaged leader, dedicated to nurturing collaborative relationships. I have transformed my feelings about connection as an earned privilege into the liberating insight that I want to unconditionally trust the process and those involved. It is with inspiring self-compassion and self-awareness of my need to judge and label that I saw mistakes as learning opportunities in A Beautiful Day. I transformed my style into one of confidence and truth, resiliently engaging with the process and recognizing the intrinsic and vital value that all collaborators brought to A Beautiful Day.

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