Image via: Nikolay Dodonov
One of the struggles Mike and I had when we entered into a partnership together was working me out of a day-to-day that involved me working with only me. I was self-reliant and felt that it could only be done if I were able to do it myself. The thing I knew but didn’t KNOW was that when you bring someone else on to the team is that you are no longer alone. It has been a process of learning, struggling, and growing that has not only been good for us individually but us as us.
As a right-brained, artist, individualist I work through nearly everything internally. I don’t always feel that I need to express something until it is a full idea or thought. It scares me to share ideas in their half way processed form. Sharing like that is probably the most vulnerable I could be with anyone. I don’t do well, but between the two of us I am the idea starter and the dreamer that we both need. What this means is that the biggest hurdle we have had to overcome is finding a space and place for me to release, express, and feel comfortable letting my half-way ideas loose for scrutiny. Most of the time I find this vulnerability late at night after a few drinks, but that isn’t a reliable way of processing things.
The other thing is though it is about me feeling comfortable it also is about Mike feeling prepared to talk about things as well. I mean it is a two-way street isn’t it? At the beginning of the year when we had a lot of projects going on, we also made a point of using the time and crazy routine of deadlines to get us healthier and active. In the process, we discovered the laps we did when we first arrived at the YMCA for our workout were some of the best of our conversations all day. We started taking note and this Spring, we began going on long walks before lunch or before dinner with the dogs or sometimes on our own. In the process, we realized this is where we come up with our best ideas. Walking side-by-side in the same motion with the same destination I can let out new ideas and Mike can help me work through them. By the time we return to our front door, we have all sorts of new ideas or our day has a new level of clarity that has been brought to it.
While being up north, we have made walks a part of our everyday. We take them like workouts. We go for a walk for an hour each evening and we work up a sweat, but in the process we can talk through so much. On our walks, we never take our phones, we talk about anything we want to. Sometimes we discuss fear, disappointment. Sometimes we talk about a new direction for work. Sometimes I voice an topic I am struggling to write. Sometimes Mike talks through his newest discovery in healthy living. Whatever it may be we leave this space open to it.
It is our accidental workout. We don’t just get in a good couple mile walk, but we can refine our relationship and connection, but also our work and desires in life.
We get a lot of questions about how we work together, and it is something we were trying to share more about with you. So I would offer this one thought for all of you entrepreneurs working with someone you care about, find a way to create a space for both of you that allows for an hour like this. Whether it is going out to dinner together, running together, walking together, driving together, or gardening together. Find a place away from your phone, your computer, the office, the store, or whatever distracts you. Then allow this space to be a place where you can talk, connect, and let ideas flow without expectation. That space is where some of our greatest decisions have come from this year for us. Great ideas aren’t always going to happen in a scheduled meeting, sometimes great things need space to work themselves out.