087: Cultivating Partnerships | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
September 11, 2018   |   Episode #:

087: Cultivating Partnerships

In This Episode:

Relationships are one of those things that are at the top of our priority list, but in the busyness of our days, we sometimes forget to pay attention to that as a priority. Our connections with others are what builds into our overall happiness and improve our productivity. This week, we are talking about building and cultivating your partnerships, dealing with issues and conflicts, and letting go of unrealistic expectations in your relationship. We’ll also discuss the three keys to creating strong partnerships.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Our connections with others are what builds into our overall happiness and improve our productivity.

Questions I Answer

  • How can I improve my relationship with my husband?
  • What can I do to have a stronger relationship?
  • How do my relationships affect my productivity?
  • How do I deal with issues with my partner?

Actions to Take

  • Watch this week’s video on my TanyaTV channel, “How To Save Your Relationship With Two Words”
  • Build and cultivate partnerships. Find moments of mindfulness. Look up from your phone or your computer screen. Pay attention to those people around you. Be present and be there for them.

Key Topics in the Show

  • The connection between our relationships and productivity

  • Creating new experiences to feed your relationship

  • Dealing with issues in a partnership as they come up & allowing yourself space to constructively resolve conflict

  • Letting go of unrealistic expectations in a relationship

  • Three keys to creating strong partnerships

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

Welcome to season seven of Productivity Paradox from Press, a podcast  focused on using productivity not just to get more done, but to accomplish what’s  most important. Join Tanya this season as she focuses on cultivating happiness  through the power of productivity. To get her free checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to  Press.com/podcast. And now, here’s your host, Tanya Dalton  

Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host  Tanya Dalton, owner of inkWELL Press. This is episode 87. Last week we talked  about the importance of connections. One of the reasons why I’ve selected to  go a little deeper and talk about partnerships this week is that I believe it’s our  connections with others that builds into our overall happiness. Also  interestingly, before I launched my Tanya TV channel, I did a big survey, and I  had hundreds and hundreds of you submit information to me on what topics  you would like me to cover. Overwhelmingly, one of the responses I heard  from you was that you wanted to talk more about relationships.  

 I think that’s a great idea because I think relationships directly tie into  productivity, especially in the way that we talk about productivity. Not about  doing more, by doing what’s most important. Relationships are one of those  things that tend, rightfully so, to be at the top of our priority heat.  Unfortunately though, in the busyness of our days, we sometimes forget to  pay attention to that as a priority. Partnerships with our significant others,  partnerships with our family members, our friends, even our coworkers are  important because when we feel like we have a true partnership, we feel freer  to focus on what we believe is most important. 

 We need partnerships to get that important work done and to really  ultimately feel fulfilled. There is nothing more discouraging than to have  someone in your life that is not a true partner. Someone who does not support  you. Because here’s the truth, no one works in a vacuum. Our ability to  develop and nurture partnerships with others can determine our success in  and outside of work. So many productivity experts talk about productivity  solely in terms of work, which I believe is a mistake. Listen, you can bring  home the bacon, you can fry it up on a pan, but it doesn’t do you any good if  the kitchen is burning down around you.  

 We need to make sure every part of our lives is running smoothly. That’s  what will allow us to be happier and even more productive. Now most of us  are not born with the skills to build great relationships. That’s something we  develop overtime because relationships are truly alive with our sensitive they  are to conditions they need to thrive. Just like a garden, they need  attentiveness and they need nurturing. When we’re trying to build up new  

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partnerships and new relationships, they need time. We have to give them  time to be able to take root. They take a while to reach their full potential, just  like we’re waiting for fruit to grow and ripen.  

 Healthy lasting relationships need trust, understanding of each other’s  weaknesses and their strengths, and compatibility for both good and bad  times. We’re all going to have hard times. It really helps us out to have  someone that we can lean on during those times. If you want to grow  relationships, the key is to remember what’s important to you and what’s  important to others. Now when you’re starting up a new relationship, what’s  important to them starts with their name. Remember people’s names. If you’re  not good at names, you’ve got to work on that skill and find a system that  helps you remember names. Remember aspects of their lives and what’s  important to them.  

 Try to focus in even if it’s just one little thing because that will go even  further in making them feel understood and making them feel appreciated and  truly acknowledged. The last thing you want is someone that you’re trying to  grow a relationship with, someone that you care about to feel like they’re not  really being heard. You not remembering things that they consider important  is a way for someone not to really feel heard.  

 We have to feed our relationships well. New and old relationships alike  need a healthy amount of creative and interesting opportunities. We want to  stop sticking with what’s normal in everyday, the things that are ordinary, and  try to experience original and unique things together to cultivate new  experiences. When you experience new things together for the first time, that  can really help build that foundation like we talked about last week. Plus,  creating new experiences helps us to savor time. When we savor time, we  build stronger relationships with the people that we’re spending that time  with. Now I’m not saying you always have to go and do new and exciting  things. There’s a lot to be said for Friday night pizza night and other  traditions.  

 As a matter of a fact, traditions is a thing that we’ll be talking about next  week because I do think they’re so important. We don’t want to overwhelm  our relationship with excessively new experiences, just like over watering a  plant, this can be too much all at the same time. It won’t cultivate the type of  closeness that you want, but it is important to every now and then add a little  bit of excitement in. Maybe it’s even just as little as going to a new pizza joint  on a Friday night instead of the same one you always do. Try to find ways for  you to experience new things together.  

 No matter how good your partnership is, there’s always going to be  times where there’s issues that come up. This is true in all relationships  whether that’s friendships or coworkers, your significant other. Now while  these are all very different levels of partnerships, the way to handle them for  

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the most part is pretty much the same. We really need to deal with problems  as they come up and not ignore them. There’s nothing worse than being in a  partnership or a relationship with someone and there’s some sort of issue that  the other person is pretending doesn’t exist. No relationship is without its  issues.  

 We all have some baggage. You’re bound to find things that drive you  crazy about each other. Some differences, maybe an opinion, or difference in  ideas, but you need to deal with these and talk these things through before  they grow out of proportion. That’s what happens when we ignore them. They  begin to grow on their own. A little bit like a weed. We have to learn to  approach these issues calmly. When you approach a conversation with  hostility, that other person, they’ll match your hostility or they’ll just shut down  all together. That’s not conducive for a relationship. When you are calm, clear  and willing to listen, generally the other person mimics that as well. Even if  they don’t, even if they get a little bit more excitable or maybe even a little bit  angry, you remaining calm helps keep the situation a little more in control.  Then eventually when they calm down, they will match your calmness. Really  when you approach an issue calmly, it makes it easier to approach these  harder topics, which is an essential part of these relationships. When we talk  about tough topics, that’s how good relationships grow into great  relationships. When you’re open and honest with your opinions, you feel truer  to yourself.  

 This develops understanding and agreements between both people.  Being open about differences between you helps prevent them from  developing later. I truly believe it is when we partner up and we cultivate  relationships with people who are different from us, people who have different  opinions or different ideas, that is when we grow. When we only partner up  with people who have the same like-minded principles as our own, we get  stuck in these ruts and everything becomes ordinary. Try to push yourself to  talk about topics that might feel harder because really this does help these  relationships to flourish and grow.  

 Now when you do perceive that your partner has made what in your  opinion is a wrong choice or has done something that makes you unhappy, we  need to remain compassionate and reassuring. I think it goes without saying  that we need to avoid being sarcastic or contemptuous or critical. I want to  encourage you to speak directly with your partner about the issue rather than  complaining to everybody else. When we go to other people to complain  about our partners, that’s a little bit of a violation of that trust we have with  each other. You wouldn’t want your partner going around doing that for you.  

 Make sure that if you have a legitimate complaint, you bring it directly to  them instead of bringing it to other people, then remember to be quick to  offer forgiveness. We know how good it feels when others forgive us. We can  give that gift back to our partners. We have to replace impatient and irritable  

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tones with some empathy and encouragement. Yes, we have to allow them to  do things the way they want to do them, even if it’s at the opposition of how  we want them to be done. We need to remember there are other many paths  to the same end point. We want to leave room for their opinions and we need  to support their choices whenever we can.  

 Here’s one of the things I think we really have to keep in mind, this to me  is a key point when we talk about partnerships, we need to not insist that  disagreements be settled right away. While the common advice is to not walk  away until the issue is solved and to never go to bed angry, the truth is  sometimes a disagreement reaches its height and it won’t be solved until  some time has passed, until we allow our tempers to cool down, until we have  some time and space to really think through the conversation we’ve just had.  It’s okay to go to bed angry.  

 I know that contradicts everything we’ve heard in the past, but allow  yourself some space to truly understand their point of view and to listen. Then  you can agree to come back and revisit the issue when you’ve both calmed  down. Maybe you need some time to breath or sleep on it. Most of the time  things won’t seem so dire when you return back to that issue. On that same  note, we all have our own beliefs and values. We can’t expect others to share  the exact same path that we are on. We have to find some common ground  and allow for some compromise when we disagree. We have to let go of  unrealistic expectations for our relationships.  

 It’s not always going to be sunshine and lollipops. There is no  relationship that does not include some arguments and some fighting.  Everyone has times where they disagree, so we need to be realistic. That  means too letting go of unrealistic expectations for the people around you.  We all have ideals of who we think the people around us should be. When you  adjust those expectations to be realistic and fair, you’re no longer setting  yourself up for disappointment. You’re also setting up yr partner to be truer to  who they really are, and I think that’s important as well.  

 Now I believe there are three keys to creating stronger partnerships, and  I’d like to go through those with you right now. The first one is  communication. What truly cultivates closeness and understanding is  communication. Everyone has a desire to be heard and to be understood. One  of the best things you can do for any relationship is to become a great listener.  Most of us, if we’re being honest, aren’t great listeners because we’re too busy  thinking about what we’re going to say next to be able to listen to what the  person is saying. Now when you notice yourself doing this, take a breath and  correct the pattern by starting to listen.  

 We form natural bonds with people who really listen to us and who  really hear us. We’re all guilty of this when you have a conversation going on  and you’re thinking about, “Oh, I’m going to say this next.” Try to stop yourself  

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when you experience that and really actively listen. When you’ve listened to  what the other person has to say, ask the right questions to generate a true  understanding and to really get the conversation going. If they’re sharing  something they perceive as important, repeat back to them what they said in  your own words and make sure that what you heard makes sense. You can  start with, “What I heard you say was,” and then fill in the rest.  

 When others feel that you’re making a sincere attempt to understand  them, they tend to open up more and they share more with us. This is what  deepens that relationship. Now this is true if you’re having important  conversations with your husband or your kids or your friends or yes, even your  boss. That’s a relationship too. That’s a partnership that you have. Obviously  it’s on a different level than those that you have in your personal life, but it’s  still a relationship that you need to cultivate. Not just because it helps you  climb the career ladder, but also because it makes work a more enjoyable and  a happier place to be.  

 When you listen attentively to other’s needs, their desires and concerns,  show that you understood them by acting upon what you discovered.  Anticipate their needs and do something that brings ease into their lives,  instead of expecting them to do it. Now at home, this could be like handling  chores that are typically theirs. At work, it could be taking the initiative.  Recently I was in a stressful situation and one of my team members asked me  if she could take care of one of the parts of the project for me. It wasn’t  anything related to her position, but it immediately alleviated my stress and  made me feel more connected to her.  

 As her boss, I appreciated that and I will keep that in mind when I’m  thinking through promotions and pay increases and what not. I want to take  others with me to the top who are invested in me. I’m sure your boss and you  yourself feel exactly the same way. Now when people are talking to you, it’s  important to pay attention not just to what they’re saying, but their body  language and their facial expressions. We remember when our close friends  sensed something is off with us and ask if we’re okay, even if we haven’t told  them anything. When someone’s speaking to you, focus not only on their  words, but also on their tone and their body language.  

 This opens the door to deeper, more meaningful conversations and  helps develop some trust, which leads to a longer stronger relationship.  Communication is the best tool that you have in your relationship toolbox, so  use it. Don’t harbor bad feelings towards another person for a long period of  time. Use communication. Talk to them and tell them what you’re experiencing  and what you’re feeling.  

 The second key to stronger partnerships is to show respect. A great  partnership has to have a high level of respect between both partners, which  means you need to be intentional. Respect in my opinion is the most  

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important foundational piece of any relationship. A lack of respect will keep  the relationship from growing or maybe even forming in the first place. When  your partner request things of you, try to show up. Now that doesn’t mean  you have to do them right away. You don’t have to jump up and do it  immediately, but you do need to communicate that you hear them and  acknowledge that their request is important. We’re all looking for  acknowledgement in our lives. When our partner shows that they  acknowledge what we want, it can really make a difference in feeling  respected and growing stronger relationships. Now this could lead to them  then also doing the same for you.  

 Showing up for you again and again. When this happens, take a moment  and show gratitude. Say thank you and truly appreciate not only what they did  for you, but the fact that they did it out of love. You’ll find that this leads to  them wanting to do more and more things for you. It’s really important that  we not take our partners for granted and show them appreciation on a regular  basis. If you want to cultivate your relationship, take a little bit of time each  day and find something that you are grateful for for them and let them know  what that is. This could be done face-to-face, in a note, in an email or a text, or  simply by saying thank you.  

 It can be really easy to forget to show appreciation, but think of it this  way. When we feel appreciated, we feel more connected to the people that  appreciate us, right? The same holds true for your partner. Make sure you take  time just to give them a little bit of gratitude and a little bit of appreciation.  This is true even when our partner is telling us things that we don’t really want  to hear. When your partner has a grievance about something you said or did,  rather than just trying to convince them that you’re right, learn to listen to  what they have to say. Understand that you are human too and maybe you  have made a mistake and that’s okay.  

 That’s a great way to show respect to your partner. I want to encourage  you to always show respect for your partner in front of other and show them  that you’re proud of them and their choices. Respect them even when they’re  not in the room. Don’t take your grievances and your complaints about your  partner to other people. Take them to them directly. The only way to truly  affect a change is to go to the source, and ultimately that’s a way of showing  respect.  

 The third key to cultivating strong partnerships is to be empathetic, to  be aware and sensitive to their feelings, their thoughts and experiences, even  if they’re not something that you’ve experienced yourself. We need to be able  to empathize with others to be able to work well with them and to create  these stronger bonds that we’re craving. By having empathy, we can treat  people the way that they want to be treated. We can better understand their  needs. Isn’t that what we are all looking for in our partnerships?  

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 One of the things that’s important when you’re being empathetic is to  be consistent. We have a hard time connecting with people that we perceive  as hot or cold or whose emotions are all over the place. If you’re going  through a period where you’re experiencing strong emotions, you need to  reach out to others and let them know what’s going on, instead of lashing out  or breaking down over small things. The people that we care about, the  people that we’re wanting to build these partnerships with, they’ll appreciate  your honesty and your openness. They’re more likely to be kinder and more  forgiving, and they’ll help you through this rough patch.  

 That’s exactly what you need. You need to be able to lean on them.  When you’ve had a long standing relationship with someone or a deeper  relationship, a partnership, it really is easier to lean on them. Don’t feel the  need to spill your guts or tell your whole life story to someone you’ve just met  or someone you’re just starting to cultivate a relationship with. We need to be  able to pace ourselves and build a strong foundation before piling on top of it.  Share the deep and emotional things once they’re appropriate and at a level  that’s consistent with your depth of relationship.  

 People who know how to build good relationships share feelings with  other by mirroring the emotions of the person speaking. When other people  are sharing their emotions, you should absolutely share your experiences to  

show that you can relate. Just don’t try to overshadow or compete with their  experiences. You need to show empathy and sensitivity, not that your  experience was better or worse than theirs. When we’re empathetic with  others, it really does deepen those connections we have with one another.  

 I want to encourage you to build and cultivate partnerships. Find  moments of mindfulness. Look up from your phone or your computer screen.  Pay attention to those people around you. Be present and be there for them.  We talked last week about how relationships are built on quality over quantity,  and when you’re present, that is quality time. Show your partner you care by  looking away from your phone, from putting your phone away and really pay  attention to them. But more than anything else, be your authentic self. People  who build great partnerships feel good about who they are and they look for  the positive in the world. They truly want what’s best for others and they want  to see them succeed. That energy of being comfortable in your own skin,  being positive and upbeat, draws others to you.  

 You don’t build relationships by tearing others down through gossip.  You keep secrets others have told you to yourself. Being confident and  creating time for the people you care about while looking for opportunities for  self-improvement is truly how we cultivate relationships. Don’t be afraid to  share your imperfections. We are all beautifully imperfect. I hope this episode  has helped you understand how you can grow and build stronger  partnerships. Next week we will continue to grow on this idea of happiness  

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through productivity by talking about the beauty of traditions. It’s going to be  a great episode.  

I have a free download planned for you. If you’d like to get that, just go  ahead and sign up for my newsletter because when that episode goes live  next Tuesday, I’ll go ahead and send that download to you automatically. Just  go to inkWELLpress.com/podcastemail and you’ll get that download delivered  to your inbox automatically. My video this week for Tanya TV is “How To Save  Your Relationship With Two Words.” Two very strong, very powerful words  that I believe have the possibility of saving and improving anybody’s  relationship. If you want to check that out, just go to inkWELLpress.com/ youtube. All right. Until next time. Have a beautiful and productive week.  

Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox from inkWELL Press. To join  Tanya’s free group, simply go to inkWELLpress.com/group.