Monday, August 10, 2009

Life Skill No. 7, Planners and Goal Setters--or not

Some people are planners. Some people don't, can't, or just won't plan--for whatever reasons. Some people are goal oriented. Other people aren't goal oriented, may think goals are stupid, or just don't care. Again, it probably doesn't matter why.

The real point is this: opposites can attract. If one of you is a planner or a goal oriented person you may find yourselves attracted to each other, in part, by the fact that one of you has a need the other can effectively and efficiently meet. I've seen that happen a lot. There can be a sort of magnetism in this dynamic. Both partners tend to benefit. There's recognition, some appreciation, and a real sense of being valued on both side of this relational equation. All of that can be a good thing.

But the "feeling appreciated and valued dynamic" can go stale.
At some point those skills--or the lack of them--can become a potentially bad thing. As your relationship matures you both may gradually discover, and hopefully not too late, that this marvelous ability one brings to the relationship can feel meddlesome or even controlling. Ugh.

So, how do you fix that? Again, as with so many of these kinds of team dynamics, and the "rules" that can get set-up around them, it's best to see them and talk about how they feel to you--as a team--BEFORE you make a long-term commitment to the relationship. Carefully discuss how you both want to incorporate the skill one of you has into the ebb and flow of your working relationship.

For example, you might consider designing a formal agreement (an agreed upon "default" rule) that goes something like: "The one who has the planning/goal-oriented skills will always do the planning and organizing for the team UNLESS EITHER TEAMMATE CLEARLY AND EARLY COMMUNICATES THE DESIRE TO CHANGE THE RULE FOR THE PRESENT SITUATION. That's just one way you could do it and write your rule. Listen, be sensitive, and creative.

Put yourselves in the best position to know what you're getting yourselves into. Don't be in a hurry. Work together to make the skills (or non-skills) you each bring to your relationship work for you. Even non-planner types can do this. It's about having a Smarter Romance.

More next time. Be who you are. Have fun.