Your Trusted Partner: A Strategy for Accelerated Goal Achievement

*There are forests that are home to some of the most magnificent trees are earth—giant redwood trees. These giants can live up to 2000 years, weigh up to 500 tons, and grow more than 350 feet tall. However, they hide a secret. Their root system is surprisingly shallow with their root systems often a mere six to ten feet deep. How is their longevity and growth possible? Why don’t they succumb to the weakness of their root system? Their shallow roots intertwine with each other for life. Their interwoven shallow roots provide a web of strength that help trees clump together for enduring stormy weather. Their shallow roots interlock to sustain and feed groups of trees as they grow taller and stronger and more durable. Redwood trees survive and thrive because they have other trees for strength and sustenance. What a great analogy for our discussion of trusted partners as we look at this strategy for achieving our goals with greater clarity, more quickly, and with greater outcomes. Look up the word partner and you’ll see references to “players” who work from the same side and to people who act as agents for another. Look up the word trusted and you’ll see the reference to responsibility. I like these ideas---- people who are willing to accept responsibility to pull together on each other’s behalf. “Two heads are better than one”. “Many hands make light work”. “Together we can do so much”. These are more than enduring quotes. Trusted partners can identify the best, bring out the best, and applaud the best in each other. Trusted partners--- people who are willing to accept responsibility to pull together on each other’s behalf. Let’s consider key ideas for making this strategy work for your goal achievement. 1. Decide whether a trusted partner is a blessing or a hindrance to your time management as well as to the quality of your goal achievement. Consider specific benefits of a trusted partner and the extent to which you want these benefits. Specific value includes a listening ear who can offer a different perspective, feedback that can address your “blind” spots, shared troubleshooting, shared learning, affirmation of your efforts, and focused questioning to assure progress towards your goals. 2. Decide on guidelines that are important to you in developing n trusted relationship. Guidelines to be considered include a commitment to confidentiality, a willingness to be open and honest, availability that works for those involved, a comfort with the style of giving feedback, a willingness for providing encouragement, and respect for each other’s intelligence.

3. Determine a process for working together as trusted partners. One variation on 40 minutes use of time is to share it in this way with 15 minutes dedicated to each person: • • • • 5 min. Greet one another, reminder of objectives of meeting together and a reminder of the guidelines for conversations. 5 min. Express progress on goal(s) and express challenges for which feedback would be helpful. Your partner listens and takes notes. 10 min. Invite your partner to provide ideas/input on your progress and/or challenges. Now you listen and take notes (no interrupting, excuses or defensive reactions). 5 min. Affirm progress; set a next meeting time.

4. Consider content that helps you evaluate planning and progress on your goals. One area of conversation that may emerge for you and your partner are obstacles to your goals. You may think of others. In fact, the more specific you can be in expressing your obstacles, the better your conversations will be for identifying specific strategies to resolve them. Five areas of potential concern include: fear of risk, fear of change, fear of failure, lack of confidence, and too many things to do. Which one(s) of these are troubling to you? Can you be specific about your concern in relation to achieving your goals? What commitment are you willing to make to ideas that help resolve your concern? 5. Make the trusted partner commitment for a specific period of time. Determine a set time for beginning and ending the trusted commitment. This provides a graceful way to experience, evaluate, and then change the process to be even more meaningful to you and those with whom you work. *Thank you to Chris Adsit who gave the idea for this analogy in his article Partners in Pursuit in the online publication of Worldwide Challenge, July/August 1998, Vol. 25, #4.