Exciting times at The Hope Project! The team is growing and operations are expanding. We have some great partners to work with. I have learned a lot about partnership as it applies to so many different relationships in our lives. I am again reminded of how hope plays a big part of my drive to implement plans for life in general. After all, without hope, it would be easy to quit when it gets hard. Hope gives me the steam to keep working. Keep searching for those partners who can help move you forward!
Are all partnerships 50/50? Heck no! Sometimes, I believe my wife puts in so much more than I do at home. That partnership can get really out of whack if I don’t balance what work requires of me and what I should be contributing at home. Any given day can look more like 80/20 there. I just can’t show up in the way I want to. She offers me grace on those days and I get another chance the next day. The key to sustaining is that there are days when she is so busy that she is on the low end as well. We trust each other to make up the difference. It all works out, the give and take.
Trust and grace are two tools that should reside in your hope chest. They are also two tools that take a lot of work to develop. How does that happen? Marriage is one relationship but what about work? Or business settings? What about complex family interactions? Medical and legal situations? The truth is that these relationships all require work on both parts of the partnership. Here are some tips that may help:
Communicate with grace.
Being honest doesn’t require conflict, anger, resentment, name calling, or defensiveness. Sometimes we are so uncomfortable with the vulnerability of tell others what we need that we cause distrust by hiding behind negativity. Communicating gracefully requires granting another person with respect for their position, and clearly saying what you need from the partnership. Sometimes the person you are trying to partner with is uncomfortable too so there are walls on both sides. Someone has to be “first”. Being honest does require courage. You may have to be the strong one. Have hope and go for it! You may be surprised by the response. Or you may be disappointed that you don’t hear what you want to hear but at least you made the effort to partner. You have power then to decide how you want to proceed.
Build trust and offer grace.
One thing you can count on in any partnership is that sooner or later, one of you is going to make a mistake. It would be unnatural if you agree on everything, all the time. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt…offer grace. Don’t believe that there is more to a mistake than what it is. Explore your role in the situation. Communicate what you expect, and trust that your partner can step up. Or, if the mistake is yours, own it and make a plan to fix it together. Trust builds when grace steps in on both sides.
Set some ground rules.
Relationships of all kinds work better when everyone agrees on the goal and their role in achieving it. If it’s a conversation with your doctor, let the doc know what you need and do your part to show up, do research, keep a log, do your homework, etc. If it’s how to get work done, be clear with your teammate what you need and what you can contribute. If it is about boundaries with your child, clearly line out a structure and hold you both accountable to it. Write it down and only change it when you have had a calm moment to consider what went awry or when you want to include something new.
Know your strengths and weaknesses.
Everyone has them. We are all better at some things than others. I am not a ballerina. Never have been and never will be. In fact, I could practice from now on and probably not get much better. But there are professional ballerinas out there that are just amazing. And there are things I can do that those dancers couldn’t even attempt because they don’t have the strength that I do. For some people, it’s math. For others its reading. We generally know what are weaknesses are but for some reason, we don’t like to share them. And oddly enough, when we loose our grip on hope, we have a hard time talking about our strengths too. Sometimes it feels like everything is wrong. But partnerships are about helping each other. Fill the gaps. Use trust and grace to let someone else help you while you help them. Sometimes, helping relationships are supposed to be off center, with the stronger partner taking the lead until you can take over. It’s not shameful to have a weakness. It’s just a shame to waste your time not figuring out how to work around it.
If you are feeling “out of wack”, on the short side of the 80/20, weak or without hope, reach out.
Whether it’s The Hope Project, your clergy, a doctor, lawyer, spouse or friend, let someone know you want to get help. Take a step, communicate, give and accept trust and grace, find your boundaries and address your strengths and weakness. You will be amazed how partners can help when you let them. You are more powerful than you believe. We’d love to talk with you.
Think about it.