Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lessons in Partnership

Some significant experiences this week have centered around leadership and partnership for me. In general, I have been forging ahead on the things that are important to me, accomplishing meaningful goals, and soliciting feedback from others. It's been rather different from waiting for feedback or approval before I take a step, and I am finding it to be invigorating and fun. Here, briefly, are a few brief situations and what I have been getting from them.

Charging Ahead. One person this week asked whether I was just charging ahead and doing my own thing rather than accepting partnership from others within a group. My first impulse was to be defensive, but it didn't take much to see that this person was expressing a desire to be a part of what I was planning. I was giving people something to notice by being proactive. And I was very much wanting that kind of partnership to surface, so it was easy to receive.
The activity of moving forward toward your vision attracts capable partnership more than inspiring words alone.

The Critic. I showed a project to a friend this week, and his feedback was initially enthusiastic. As he continued, he became a bit reserved and was hesitant to say something critical about what I had created. In the end, he was able to provide some great constructive observations that will help me continue to improve upon things. His critique was oriented toward building up what I was doing, rather than tearing it down, and that contribution is incredibly valuable.
When you share what you are creating with others, their perspective can provide fuel to carry you forward in your endeavors.

History Lesson. In a conversation about future plans for an organization, some historical data was brought up. Instead of treating it as "the way things must be done," the discussion was geared more toward the question of what has worked well in the past and what hasn't. There was a great deal of honesty in that perspective, and knowing the history of a group or situation can help make decisions wisely. Historical data becomes detrimental when we ignore it or blindly adhere to it.
Know your history... create your future.

My own self-criticism is that these little vignettes are a way of avoiding getting something deep from the experiences, but I truly have found value in realizing how vital it is to take action while embracing partnership. And I am now on the lookout for more opportunities to partner with capable co-creators, insightful critics, and those who have gone before me to create the foundation where I stand. My path is my own, but the journey is made richer by appreciating a wealth of fellow travelers.

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