How did we fall apart?
Updated: May 6
James and Melisa are about to celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary. He is 82, and she is 78. They don’t have any children, just an old basset hound named George. They love to travel and spend time with friends.
Recently, they have decided to divorce. They are calling it irreconcilable differences. They are no longer happy or feel fulfilled with each other. Everyone is surprised and no one saw this coming.
It’s a sad story because we can picture our own relationships or maybe that of our parents or grandparents. After so many years, isn’t it just supposed to work? How can it all suddenly fall apart?
The answer is that it doesn’t suddenly happen. Ending a relationship takes time. It is a crack in the foundation that is ignored and continues to grow until it all crumbles.
Sometimes in business, partners start to disagree and swallow their frustrations until it’s too late. Employees talk behind supervisor’s backs adding to the rot in the roots of the company. Customers walk away, unsatisfied, never to return and never telling us why.
What is lacking in all these relationships is communication. Honest communication without fear of retribution.
In every relationship there are three sets of goals. There are MY goals, YOUR goals, and OUR goals. Our goals are the obvious ones. The dreams and desires that we want to achieve together. A successful business, to live happily ever after, or maybe to share a great experience.
The goals that are often overlooked are our individual goals. Sometimes we hide our dreams and desires for fear of ridicule. We don’t feel safe enough to share our thoughts. Maybe the other party just won’t care or appreciate them.
On the flipside, maybe we don’t care about their thoughts, desires, and dreams. We are so wrapped up in our own goals that we forget that the other members of our team have goals of their own.
Every relationship in business, just as in our personal life, must be built on a foundation of trust and communication. Everyone must feel that their thoughts and dreams are valid and appreciated.
Think of someone that you work with, laugh with, or care about. When was the last time that you talked to them about your definition of personal success? When was the last time that you asked about their goals?
The more that you can help them realize their dreams, and the more that they can help you realize yours, the sooners we’ll all be able to reach our dreams together. Without making MINE and YOURS a priority, OURS will surely fall apart.