Have you ever included someone in a creative project and they overstepped in some way and refused to acknowledge that’s what they were doing?

It’s not fun.

And it can be excruciating trying to help someone to see that they’ve overstepped, even more so if there are other people around who also don’t understand how overstepping has occurred.

While waiting for an interview, a young woman started talking about how she was starting over a project because she’d asked someone for help on a particular step and he’d made a mistake.

The former helper then jumped in saying that she could do what everyone else would do and just work “over it.” Just cover the mistake and move on.

Can you spot the overstep? Neither could their instructor.

While she went on about how the mistake meant she needed to start over, everyone was telling Her what She needed to do with Her Project based on what They would do with Their Own Projects.

When I pointed this out to the instructor and former helper, they still didn’t understand where they had overstepped.

It wasn’t about How the mistake was going to be handled, or even that the mistake had happened in the first place. It was about Who Has The Final Say in what is best for the project moving forward.

Knowing that she hadn’t been able to properly communicate her boundaries, and that I hadn’t been as helpful an ally in that moment as she needed, I went home and thought a long time about what the most foundational boundaries every creative and their project and their community need to acknowledge and be respectful of in the creation process.

In today’s video, I’m sharing what I came up with:

  • The hierarchy of those connected to the project;
  • The boundaries within that hierarchy; and,
  • A real-world “overstep” example via Criminal Minds’ Season 14 finale.