Monday, September 28, 2009

The Power of Partnership, Part 2

I had occasion last week to go back through this blog and read all of my old entries. In May, I wrote about the power of partnership and how willingly people seem to partner with me when I give them an opportunity. More recently, I wrote about learning in a spiral, getting a new perspective on a particular challenge each time I encounter it. Today, the spiral has brought me back around to partnership because of three important pieces I gained over the past few days.

It has been because of partnership in communication that I have become more keenly aware that I am trying to do something unusual in my life. I am looking at what I want in my life and determining how to create it. Recognizing that the plan I am putting in place is not designed to change everything overnight, I am still seeking the small steps I can take toward a distant goal while getting all that I can from where I am in the moment. I want there to be purpose rather than reactions behind my choices, and I want to develop my sense of personal authenticity while empowering others to do the same.

Sometimes I just assume that this all makes sense to others, but I have also realized how easily people can draw off-the-mark conclusions when they only have bits and pieces to go on. My willingness to communicate has often involved me believing I was doing my best to be approachable and then waiting for someone to ask a question. Now I am seeing how that has led to some frustration and how much personal power that actually gives away. Waiting for other people to open the door for me also gives me constant ammunition to judge and criticize, to deflect attention away from the fact that I haven't been opening those doors myself. My predictions or assumptions about how people will respond can keep me from opportunities for satisfying partnership.

At one point, I thought that the limitation of that was in finding people who are willing to partner. I knew that I can't do everything myself, but I was not entirely convinced that anyone else wanted to be a part of what I am trying to create on any level. Yet even in the last few days I have been elated that individuals have responded favorably when I sought partnership. What it took was making it clearly known what I wanted, and people appeared willing to find out more. When I allowed fear to keep me from opening my mouth and asking for it, partnership was much less possible.

But I have also learned that I can partner with people who are not as intentional about their partnership. When I am willing to stand in my own competence, insight, and vision, without worrying about what other people see and without trying to prove anything, I can partner in some way with anyone. Their own fears, beliefs, and assumptions might limit how high that partnership can soar, just as mine will when I slip out of alignment with myself. But even limited partnership is not without value.

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