How to steer clear of the most common mistakes with your Buddy – part II
What can you do! When discussing a problem all time in the world won’t be enough.
Kidding, of course. But we’ve seen it again and again how people are incapable of communicating meaningfully with their Goal Buddy.
Don’t get us wrong, though! This is neither as common nor as bad as it seems. We’ve compiled some data from various sources and will keep sharing it with you. We want to make your life a bit easier by being well informed and equipped, just in case you have to go through similar ordeals.
This article is a continuation of the previous one in which we outlined several of the “danger zones”. Here we tackle four more.
Issue #1: A sizable disparity in understanding goals
That’s how the pieces stand on the chess board:
One is an expert in goal setting with many years of experience and history of success. This person always finds the right words for the visions, the objectives as well as the weekly steps. The questions posed are thoughtful, timely and on the point.
The other, though enthusiastic, is an absolute novice who’s just about to embark on their very first goal. They haven’t mastered yet any of the basic skills – how to tell the difference between action and outcome or even how to take command of the process of forming a vision.
No wonder the two would have trouble kicking it off together. It is as if you’ve been a marathon runner for years and have a friend of yours to initiate in this race. It will be a serious test for both of you.
And why is that?
“Talk is cheap, communicating ain’t”
Life has this rule of thumb which is at play here – not having a good verbal interaction becomes the very first stumbling block.
They are set for disaster when on top of everything else there are no realistic expectations and not a clue about the cardinal flaw in this situation.
That’s the key for the castle: be honest with yourself and open to the other person from the very get-go. If you’ve fallen behind with your “homework”, for example, simply let them know. They can’t help you for sure if they aren’t aware of it in the first place.
But this could be an excellent illustration of how a disadvantage can be turned around to become a plus.
If the two of you are a perfect match in any other aspect except in your knowledge and experience than the partnership has its fighting chance. The right approach here, to work it out by helping each other, will soon make this team of yours a winning one.
Only a simple pre-agreement is needed and you will end up having the relationship between a teacher and a student.
The positives for the mentee are obvious. It’s trickier to see what they are for the mentor.
The Japanese philosophy “Beginner’s mind”
The idea, in a nutshell, is that anyone, regardless of their degree of expertise, can get extra value if they can put themselves in the shoes of the beginner. When you are eager to learn and explore something new then you open up and readily absorb everything with the curiosity that your mind needs to become a fertile ground for the new knowledge.
For us the mentor gets a lesson or two as well, namely learning to teach just like in the old saying, “You never learn something until you teach it.”
By looking for a reply to an enquiry you’ll get further and better understanding. It will also force you to look at a familiar matter from all its aspects and there is a pretty good chance some of these will be totally new to you.
So, attitude is the King here.
But what if the dreams of the two of you are irreconcilable in the first place?
Issue #2: At the two ends of goals “spectrum” – bold and exciting vs daily and trivial.
In fact, that’s where the problem lies. No good comes out of labeling dreams in that manner.
It’s even risker to do it to someone’s life aspirations. It’s impolite the least to qualify them as small or big, average or grand. You could be as impartial as the next guy and yet you can’t be 100% objective. It’s in human nature to get everything through our own eyes only. Your point of view is based on your knowledge and social skills accumulated over the years. And these never perfectly fit with anybody else’s.
Let’s see first if your differences need to be taken care of. And if so, then how to do it.
“You may say I’m a dreamer”
When one has the vision to build up a business with a revenue of hundreds of millions and the other aims to improve their sales skills so that can get a bonus of 10% then… How do we approach this conundrum of getting them together on the same page? These are two people who are worlds apart in attitude and personalities.
There are these two options.
A: When you like each other and want to bе Buddies
You can accept the person and their dreams without any judgment whatsoever. Then you try to help. But do not question their idea and choices – not with anything disparaging or disrespectful.
Now it gets really interesting…
When you see that the one next to you operates on a higher visionary level you may get truly inspired by them. Hopefully, their boldness and grand scale can pull you into the orbit of their personality. You may become aware that your own limits are there to be broken through. Be ready to establish a reliable and trusted conversation with them and it will be a good thing for both of you.
B: Things aren’t quite working out, you’re in need of a better match
When you have very little in common then it’s reasonable to find someone with similar and more compatible character traits. That will spare you the constant need to try to bring back to Earth someone who is otherwise high in the clouds, or the other extreme case – keep motivating them to aim and punch above their weight. Instead, you will be able to support each other in a way that’s less demanding and with few unrealistic expectations. And our system will be a perfect setting for the relationship.
There is no “one size fits all” here. Trust your gut what would be best for you – the big challenge or the other way around.
In the end, it all depends on the willingness to get out of the comfort zone in order to find a solution.
When the differences go beyond the scale of goal setting and into the realm of performance you will encounter a whole new type of difficulties.
Issue # 3:You are avoiding your Buddy when you haven’t registered much progress
When we first witnessed this we got quite intrigued by it.
There was this guy at one of our workshops who asked Ivan to help with understanding the communication between Buddies. There was something very interesting in what transpired next.
The guy was talking to Ivan on the phone only when he had completed successfully his weekly step. When he didn’t get it done he wouldn’t call, he wouldn’t pick up, he would simply go dark.
We realized that there are quite a few like him who shrug it off with this – “Does it make sense at all to talk about anything if I haven’t done /for one reason or another/ my weekly step!”
A friend in need…
That’s exactly when you have to request assistance regardless of circumstances.
Your need is in its direst when you are in the hardest of times. It’s logical, it’s practical to do so if anything else – you must reach out when there is a problem to deal with. Call and talk. And in the process, you will get back on the right track.
In other words, you have to overcome yourself and do exactly the opposite of what that person from the above example was doing. Why is this foremost and what are the reasons behind this misguided urge to disappear?
A game of hide and seek…
It’s not something you look forward to – to be defensive and try to excuse and explain yourself to someone else. The thing that’s crucial here, and far more difficult thing to do, is to fight off your own feeling of guilt.
You can manage to avoid your Buddy but there is nowhere to hide from yourself.
The reluctance to get in touch is indicative that you need to unshackle your mind to uncover the underlying reasons for your actions. It’s paramount to take responsibility for the poorly done job and then, armed with the understanding of the problem, to roll up sleeves and do the corrective actions. Take a deep breath and call. Let your partner be the first one to hear it from you.
“What the good Buddy would do?”
If your friend is well aware of their “duties and responsibilities” and if they are confident enough to get you up on your feet, judging you will be the last thing on their mind. They will ask you what happened, why you couldn’t get your weekly steps done and what you can do next time so it won’t happen again.
The point of these is to put you in such a state that you get it right all by yourself. Thus, without any ready-made solutions, prejudice or unsolicited advice, they will give you a hand to clutch on and make a few steps forward.
Well, if that doesn’t happen and they say something of the sort, “Well, I knew it! You are good for nothing!” then you will know instantly they won’t make a good Buddy. The last thing that you need is words of discouragement that are only “helpful” to your own trouble.
And now we are about to cross the finish line with this one last case.
Issue #4 The habit of talking to your Buddy becomes an endangered species
We emphasized before on building up a good routine. It’s hard and requires self-discipline plus time. Then by the virtue of its own nature, the habit becomes an instinct and does you good for life.
It won’t be easy at first to get this one good habit for your weekly meetings up and running. But if you want to keep supporting each other, you will need to exercise these on weekly basis. No matter what may pop up out of the blue or how busy your calendar is, whether you’re ready or not with your vision, whether you’ve made your steps or not, you have to do as in this other piece of wisdom, “99 % of life is showing up”.
One of the most important things that the two of you badly need a full understanding of is this – the weekly talk is hard to form as a habit but once up and running it will serve you well and for long.
Taking good care of a good habit
This is like a motto of sorts – you don’t have to be always 100%.
It happens to us all the time, we are in the middle of something, we are in a rush to meet a deadline or setting up an event, or any other family emergency… But we always have the phone call – we do live by “you don’t use it, you lose it”. There are two simple tricks to it:
- If necessary, we can always reschedule for another day;
- And sometimes we have the blitz version of the weekly meeting.
Better sparrow in the hand than pigeon on the roof
Those days when we really have just that, 5 minutes, we do talk for exactly that much. It’s better than to cancel.
“Look, I’m not done with my steps yet but tell me about yours”. This is quick and as if pro forma but it does a good enough job. Sure, there is no time for feedback, questions or any details but at least we “showed up” and got to practice the virtue of being steadfast.
We’ve seen it countless times how these few minutes have the potential to unlock many other things of consequence. Just like when in the evening you position your sneakers in such a way that in the morning you bump into them and this “triggers” you that you have some running to do. Talking even for 5 minutes can get you out of a hole or propel you higher and further if you’re already on the go.
This is the end of our story about what can go wrong in your “Buddy” relationship. It will be interesting for us to find out what challenges you face in that respect. Write us a sentence or two in the comment field bellow this article and we’ll be more than happy to reply and be of some assistance if not outright help.