Help! I am Having Problems with my Business Partner.
Feelings of FRUSTRATION spread over your body as you leave another uncomfortable encounter with your business partner. You close the door to your office and your mind starts to consider all the negative outcomes that may become reality in the near future. You shake your head as that stuck feeling starts to transform into hopelessness and the question of whether or not there is anything that can be done fills the room.
Have you experienced this moment?
Maybe more than once or twice?
Possibly this has been your dynamic for years.
Much like a marriage, you and your business partner entered into a very committed relationship together. The health of your relationship directly impacts that success of the business and the culture of the business environment. It is important! And it needs special attention and sometimes a little help to get back in the right direction.
WE CAN JUST IGNORE IT, IT WILL PASS
Often we try to minimize our feelings within this negative pattern or cycle ...
WHY CAN’T WE JUST GET OVER THIS?
BE ADULTS AND MOVE ON?
For whatever reason it feels really hard to shake out of this place.
It felt so good in the beginning of your journey together; you chose each other as the key to success. But now perhaps there is more conflict around seemingly small decisions and feelings of disconnect become the baseline. You hoped that you both had enough drive, trust and similar values to keep your business afloat during the rough times and thrive when your business entered into those amazing peak moments.
You both had passion for what you were creating - how can that not be enough?
DOES THIS HAPPEN TO EVERYONE?
IT IS SO NORMAL [really normal] for all relationships to go through these times and to feel lost in the negative patterns. Seriously, stop for a moment and try to think of an important relationship in your life that has not felt stuck at some time or other.
How did you shift away from that feeling?
Did you just let the relationship go?
Did you just try your best to avoid conflict?
Did you get more forceful and critical to try and shake things up?
It takes real intention and willingness to take some emotional risks to shift out these cycles and back to feelings of trust and excitement.
THINGS TO TRY.
The FIRST step is to allow yourself the time and space to really consider what is occurring between the two of you. If I was a fly on the wall what would I see during your interactions together?
The NEXT step is initiating a conversation about how this feels for you both. Taking the risk of acknowledging that something isn’t working.
Remember to stay open and aware of your own emotions as they can sweep you into a defensive stance quite quickly. Take a breath and really try to hear your partner. Reflect back what you heard.
What do I tell myself about why we are stuck in this cycle? What is my story about how we got here? What do I tell myself about what the other person thinks of me, our business and our future?
Are there bigger hurts or moments that started to define the relationship as not safe or secure anymore?
HOW DID THAT FEEL?
This alone could create some small shifts as you enter into difficult conversations that are often avoided.
However, if you find that these conversations were hard to manage on your own then bring in a professional. A therapist can help you navigate these difficult waters.
CALL A THERAPIST, ARE YOU SERIOUS?
Our culture is becoming more welcoming and warm to the idea of reaching towards therapy for our personal relationships, but what about in our business relationships? Do they not deserve the same intention?
You spend forty to eighty hours a week immersed in your business relationships, perhaps more time than you spend at home. This is your tribe and you deserve to feel GREAT in your business relationships not just getting by...
THERAPY. It is a vulnerable reach.
What will my partner think if I bring this up?
Does this expose our business by showing a weakness?
I do not want to talk about my feelings at work.
I have to show strength not be weak.
This is often our head trash that keeps us from reaching towards help. Keeps us stuck ... Increasing the pain we feel daily and the probability of the business partner relationship going under and taking the business under as well.
STRENGTH comes from that reach to ask for help, to own that there is a problem that needs attention. COURAGE comes from a willingness to be more vulnerable with those important people in your life. ACCOUNTABILITY comes from the ability to own your part in the negative cycle you find yourself stuck in with your business partner.
WHAT CAN WE GAIN?
The goal is to become more aware of what is happening inside for you and to have more insight into your partner’s experiences. Awareness creates more empathy for ourselves and our business partner. Awareness and intention can bring shifts. Once we start to feel those positive shifts it becomes easier to be more open with one another and to engage in needed conversations. It becomes easier to make important decisions because these positive moments create healing and restore trust in the relationship. It is not always easy to do it on your own, but good news, you don’t have to!
Make the reach today towards a better future with your business partner!
Lauren Johnson, LCSW
Insightful Tribe, PLLC