When I talk about leveraging your partner for your success, I don’t mean marrying into money like ‘Who wants to marry a multi millionaire‘ or the ‘Millionaire Match maker‘. With the disclaimer set aside, lets see what I am talking about.
How can you guarantee Failure?
Once we can remove things that guarantee failure, success will eventually happen if you try hard enough. Following through and sticking to a process does not guarantee success. But not doing so can guarantee failure. We have already discussed about the importance of the process here, here and here. When I look at things and events in my life where I have guaranteed failure vs risked success, one thing stands out: An Accountability partner.
Running : I ran one 10 K and four half marathons in a span of 1.5 yrs when I stuck to my running schedule. I did this as I was training with a friend who had similar goals.
Mountaineering: Despite the overwhelming challenges in the mountains, I stuck to the program, as I was there with a friend. I graduated to become a mountaineer.
AICWA Professional Course: For 1.5 months before the exam, every single day I travelled to a place almost 20 Km from my home and an hour commute, to pour over the books with two other fellow students in the Institute’s library. I passed the professional course in my 2nd attempt.
My CAT coaching classes: Everyday for one whole year, I religiously attended classes more due to the fact, I had made some good friends in there than my overwhelming ambition. I made a decent score but didn’t get into any of my dream institutions then.
India360 trip: The only reason the trip happened was because Hari made me commit to a date for the trip and take action on the commitment.
Things that I have failed, are innumerable. Countless times, I have felt super motivated by an author or speaker, determine that I am going to do something, write a goal only to never take a look at it. The Goal paper thrown somewhere with the hope that no body ever lays their eyes on them including myself. Visualizations, writing and reviewing goals only caused more frustrations. I failed really fast. Faster than I could make any progress.
So whats different ?
Between the two, the only distinction is that I had a partner who committed me to the process that was required for me to get success. Man, as a social animal feels more guilty when he lets down someone from his tribe rather than when he lets down himself. The dread of making the call to your running partner at 4 AM to say you wont make it to the ground because you are feeling sleepy is more horrible than waking up after only 4 hours of sleep.
So why your spouse?
It is true that the accountability partner need not be your spouse. In most of my examples above, it was just some friend who I did not want to let down. But the older you get, your friends often are in different stages of their life from yours.
My best friend is a mom of child in primary school. Her life and challenges are a lot different from mine. She lives in a different time zone geographically too. And we haven’t spoken to each other in 6 months at least. Even when we do, we listen with empathy, but we know that our worlds are hardly similar. But luckily, in my and every one of the married persons life there is a person who is in the exact stage of the life as you are – your spouse.
Your spouse probably already does what you need from an accountability partner. Remind you, every time you falter from a promise, that’s what you call nagging or criticizing. Women tend to do the former more and men the latter.
The only question now is how do we use this nagging/criticizing in a productive way.
Step 1: Determine your Goals. Eg: Lose 3 inches and 7 Kgs of weight
Step 2: Decide what the path to it. Eg: Go to the Gym 5 days a week.
Step 3: Put it on your calendar. Eg: I will go to Gym at 5 PM Tuesday – Saturday.
Step 4: Let your spouse know the above goal, process you intend to follow, and ask them to help you stick to the plan. Plan how you will work around your existing schedule for it. i.e where will you leave the keys if your spouse gets home during your gym time, what other time will you then take out the trash, how will your gym schedule change your diet and how will you stick to it with least amount of temptations.
If both of you decide to sweat it out together it is even better. But let your decision and execution of it be independent of whether your spouse would join you or not.
Step 5: When your spouse remind you at 4:50 that its time for your Gym, thank him/her for it even when the context was put negatively. Have your gym shoes, gym clothes and pre-workout food ready much before the time to leave.
During the initial days, when any plan falters work with your spouse to put yourself back on track. Celebrate milestones together. For Eg: First full week gym without any lapses can be celebrated with your favorite milk shake or a dine out that still fits in your diet plan.
Although the above example is for a simple weight loss regime, this can be extended to any change that you want to bring together in your life.
You may have noticed in numerous posts, Hari gives me undue credit for his successful transition into a freelancer. So do my in-laws.
None of his initial client projects came from my contacts. Neither was I remotely technically competent to help him with his juggling of office and freelance work in the initial days. Some of my suggestions during those days even back fired. So why does Hari and even his parents credit me for his career shift. I only did one thing, I believed that his venture would succeed. The way it would have turned out would be immaterial, but the fact that we stuck together during a time of uncertainty, patiently putting in work when success was not in sight yet, till date is the strongest fiber in our relationship.
Today, tables have turned and it is Hari’s turn to believe in me. I am learning my trade. I am experimenting and I know I will fail often before I succeed. But in the times of uncertainty, one thing that I can be certain about is that I can count on his support. He will ensure I put in the work required to succeed, while not pinning the failure on me as final. This is a lot more than I had done for him.
Being a partner
Each of us have this opportunity to be the launchpad and support for our partner without compromising on our own goals. We attract people in our lives with complementary energy levels. There is a reason your spouse is your spouse. Whether you appreciate his/her support as fundamental to your success or term the lack of it as an excuse for your failure, is a choice only you can make.
Be keen to give more than to receive. Be kind.
Your spouse is your super power.
Use well and Live well.