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  • Sharon Borland

#41 Journeying with Others

What space are you creating in your journey with others?

Asking for help, which we looked at in the last blog, is one way we can benefit from others but there are so many ways in which our lives are enriched by being in community. We’ll be spending the next few blogs looking particularly at the power of walking with others in pursuit of what’s important - to us, to them or both - and how to engage with others in ways that enhance the relationships and outcomes.

You might have decided that doing things alone is actually better, simpler, less painful etc. because your experience of pursuing a goal alongside others has not been a good one. Even just being with certain people might be difficult! You may be desperate for others to speak differently, act differently, make different decisions and so on. This focus on everyone else is sometimes made more obvious if we tune into the language we are using. How often do you hear yourself say things like “What they need to do is…..”. That might be fine in some contexts but in a work situation, a team or even within families, it’s unlikely to be helpful. Firstly, the ’they’ is often an undefined group of people. If we’re not clear about specifically who the individual or group of individuals are, it’s not going to be possible to have effective communications with them. Secondly, this type of conversation invariably delivers little or nothing. For more on this, see our blog on descriptive language #34 The Value of Description. Thirdly, it puts all the focus on changing other people.

You might have put a lot of time and energy into trying to change ‘them’ – your spouse or partner, your friends, your children, your work colleagues - only to find that it’s often not possible, even when you have authority over people, to change very much. Focusing on ourselves is likely to be much more helpful, as the only person you ever really have any control over or are able to change is YOU. I’m not suggesting you do this because there’s something wrong with you, rather that you have the power to create a powerful space into which other people show up. When you shift, the world shifts around you. Everywhere you go, you create a space for others. Examining what space you create can be very revealing.

One of the benefits of moving from the focus being on ‘them’ to being on me, is that now I can be responsible for what’s happening and choose to take actions consistent with being responsible. It might be uncomfortable initially to let go of pointing at ‘them’, but the advantages in our relationships, life and fulfilment are likely to quickly outweigh the discomfort. For more on this, see our blog on #18 Being Responsible for Being Responsible. Next time we’ll look in more detail at creating a powerful space for others in our relationships. For now, notice how often you shift blame to everyone else.


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