Some of the most successful people in the world all have a secret power. It’s not their experience or technical expertise that matter most – it’s their partnerships.
On my ride up to Manitouwadge, I listened to a ton of podcasts. One that caught my ear was, A Bit of Optimism, hosted by Simon Sinek where he interviews Jean Oelwang, the president and founding CEO of Virgin Unite, who over the past 15 years has had first-hand experience working with some of the world’s greatest partnerships as they learned to become better versions of themselves, and in doing so, multiplied their positive impact on the world.
She interviewed over 60 types of partnerships, from friendship to romantic to business. What she found to be a successful partner is wanting to build something together to change the world. Sounds simple no? Finding like-minded individuals is the key here and surrounding yourself with individuals that you can depend, lean on and create meaningful bonds with. It’s connecting to something bigger in the world that is the true meaning of life and what will bring you and your partner the most joy.
One important thing to note is the wording. It’s not “partnerships” it’s “partnering”. Partnership is static and you might have one of them. But the act of partnering, and the actions to take to partner, is where you can have multiple partners. It’s an ongoing skill.
It’s a skill that is constantly evolving. In our hyper-individualistic world, we’ve forgotten how to connect. One thing we need to celebrate which is not the easiest to grasp is celebrating friction. Diamonds are formed with great pressure. In these moments of friction is where we learn something new and better. It’s not being in competition with one another but being in competition with yourself to be the best version of yourself.
So how do you celebrate fiction? Well, you can’t go in with the mindset that, I’m right. You have to go into a conversation with the mindset that there is a 3rd way. It requires deep listening to find that 3rd way. And keeping friendship at the highest priority.
Partnerships aren’t about finding people that look and act like us. The ones that are the richest and teach us the most are the ones that are most radically different, that unsettle us and challenge our views. Ones that build bridges across differences and are not driven by fear or hatred or bitterness. It’s holding that space for love and respect.
The thing that kills respect and trust is judgment. And in these trying times you need to open the space up for not judging and coming back together to see that 3rd side. Think about it. If you don’t listen to someone, it’s telling them they don’t exist. Deep listening and respect and trust come from the action of active listening.
So let’s create a culture of sharing, collaborating and partnering. Let’s see that 3rd view, work through it and learn something new about ourselves. And let’s start to build long, lasting relationships built on trust and connection.
Let me know your thoughts on partnering and how you plan on building something bigger than yourself.
To listen to the podcast, I’ve provided it below:
For more on Jean and her work check out: