The Power of Partnering

Remember that book by Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?
 
One of the things he learned in kindergarten was” when you go out in the world, hold hands and stick together.”
 
When I was in kindergarten, the teacher would partner us up by height when we were going outside or coming inside (probably so she could count us all). If we were learning something new, she had a way of partnering us up with someone who was better at learning whatever it was we were learning, or someone we could help.
 
What were your experiences with partnering when you were a little kid?
 
When you were still in school and you got a little older, do you remember how a lot of kids got very good at picking their own partners? It seemed to me at that age that there were three kinds of kids in school: the ones who always picked their partner first, the ones who always got picked as a partner pretty quickly and the rest of us, who for one reason or another, were the leftovers, neither picked nor picking. We were the ones who were just waiting for this whole partner thing to be over with.
 
We were the ones “most likely to” prove how much better it was if we just did things on our own—and we started proving it just as soon as we had the chance.
 
This weekend I was thinking about the way we experience partners when we’re young and what we do with what we make the experience mean about us once we get big enough to make our own choices.
 
It’s such a little thing to think about, yet I realized that this little thing can have a very big impact on our lives.
 
From my vantage point in the pool on Saturday as I achieved my latest goal of swimming 1500 yards at one time, I was thinking that despite my experiences as a kid with the downside of partnering, my partnership with Chuck was the catalyst for my achievements as a swimmer. That reminded me of something I’ve learned about dancing: dancing with an experienced partner will make you a better dancer, too.
 
So the right partners help you get better at whatever you’re doing, faster and more efficiently than you could do on your own.
 
For those of us who proved to ourselves how well we could do anything alone, the idea of partnering can be a stretch. I know it was for me for a long time.
 
Yet here’s what I’ve discovered with my clients—and with my husband, Chuck—over the last 23 years: when you’ve got the right partner, the struggle diminishes and the learning can turn to fun. Losing the struggle and turning up the fun transforms that effort—so you can achieve more results in exponentially less time.
 
What would happen for you this week if you picked a partner to work with on something that isn’t progressing for you as smoothly as you’d like? Reach out to someone you trust who’s better at it than you are and let her help you.
 
The first time you do it, it can really feel like a stretch. Yet once you see the results you can achieve, the benefits of partnering will help you to choose it again and again.
 
Let me know how it goes!

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