This week’s chapter of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women is definitely my growing edge. Secret #8 is about selecting empowering partnerships and alliances. This, to me, is quite different from tapping into the support and wisdom of my guides. I love connecting and collaborating with others. That inspires me and feeds my soul. What I find scary is diving into an actual business partnership where we are truly co-creating something together, sharing profits, etc. Even if it’s with someone I align with, lots of stuff gets triggered in me like the need to “protect” myself and my “intellectual property.” Feelings of scarcity and comparison can start to surface. I get that it’s all fear-based because it’s outside of my comfort zone and when there’s money involved that probably just eggs on my saboteurs even more!
I’m also independent, individualistic, introverted and, given that I’m a 4 on the Enneagram, I have a strong need to be unique and different and often feel like no one else understands me. All of which can be challenges in a partnership!
One of the most empowering partnerships I’ve experienced, though, was with my friend Brighid during the two years that we co-led a leadership retreat together. That’s us in the photo above on a high-ropes course. This particular physical activity tends to reveal dynamics at play in a partnership. The key to getting all the way to the other side is for each partner to lean in 100%. I’m in the black and white and you might be able to tell that I’m witholding just a bit, which is a typical pattern for me. What really helped us enrich our partnership overall was lots of open communication, checking out our assumptions early on before they snowballed into drama and knowing we could trust each other to each bring our natural gifts. The other key was having a shared passion and focus for what we were creating.
While partnerships can take a lot of work, I also know that there is tremendous learning and growth for me and my business when I stretch outside my comfort zone and partner with the right people. And while it can be more vulnerable, it can also be quite fun and fulfilling!
If you’re considering entering into a partnership or alliance with others, it’s really helpful to have a good sense of who you are – your strengths, your idiosyncrasies, your expectations and what you bring to the table. Gail McMeekin has a pretty in-depth self-assessment in this chapter to help you define your collaboration profile.
Also, here are some resources that I’ve found useful in creating more effective partnerships:
- The MBTI is a helpful tool for understanding personal preferences and can provide lots of insight into team dynamics. What Type am I is a good introductory book.
- The Enneagram is another insightful personality typing system. A fantastic book that talks about how the different Enneagram types partner together is Are You My Type? Am I Yours? And here is an online resource for Enneagram compatibility.
- Crucial Conversations and Difficult Conversations both offer helpful models for ensuring clear, clean communication, especially when the stakes are high.
- Leadership and Self-Deception and The Anatomy of Peace both provide valuable approaches for more authentic and direct communication with others.