Secret #8: Empowering Partnerships and Alliances


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:

5 thoughts on “Secret #8: Empowering Partnerships and Alliances”

  1. Great post! Lots of thoughts on this one. . .

    There’s so much value in practicing partnership in the physical world — taking a salsa class, learning to waltz, rock climbing, trying AcroYoga (my new favorite!!!). . .

    I agree with what you wrote about knowing yourself, having open communication, and checking out assumptions in advance. All important not just for the health of the partnership, but also to keep yourself safe!

    I really value the “self-protect” instinct. I think that kind of internal alert can be very healthy. The question for me then becomes, “Am I anxious because I’m moving outside my comfort zone, or does something just not smell right about this situation?”

    You are precious. Protect yourself, nurture yourself, respect yourself, know yourself — and partner, collaborate, and share with others 🙂

  2. Oh! Your teleclass for artists sounds amazing! I look forward to hearing details. 🙂 It’s great that you have a great understanding on how you work in partnerships. I totally agree it’s important to know yourself first before endeavoring alliances. I will definitely create a profile for myself. 🙂

    Thank you for the resources!

  3. What a great post, Jenn – and a fabulous picture. Thanks for sharing such great insight and resources. I’m excited to hear more about your teleclass. The Right-Brain Business plan is such a brilliant concept!

  4. I love the photo! I used to teach that stuff when I worked at an Outdoor Ed centre and watching people finally get it was amazing! If I could do anything I would get back into leadership training and team building – there is nothing more rewarding to me!

    I’d be interested to know what you are on the Myers Briggs test! I am an ENFJ. I’ve taken the test twice (15 years apart) and it hasn’t changed – even though I am a bit less E and a little more I in my old age 🙂

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