Relationships define our lives. Family, work, friendship, community. The deeper a relationship, the more each person knows the other. Over time, as we gain knowledge of self we become more aware of our own strengths and weaknesses. As our relationships develop, we also gain understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of others.
The most successful relationships are those that can mesh opposite skill sets so that each person works on the things that s/he is good at and everyone performs at an optimal level with the most possible contentment. Part of evolving good relationships is figuring out what actions need to be taken or work done on a given day between the members of the relationship.
When we bring an ethic of service to our relationships then it becomes a joyful challenge to step into filling complementary roles. We each pick up the things we can do and we evolve a shared process. The old saying about giving it 100% is real advice, because a genuine spirit of commitment shows in every interaction. It’s like body language, the words are just the surface of the interaction. Our actions demonstrate a level of commitment that speaks volumes that words cannot; we can all spot authenticity and genuine effort because it makes us feel good.
By noticing the things that others don’t like to do or don’t appreciate, we can adjust our behavior to better mesh with the people we encounter each day. Sometimes this meshing is clear and communicative, and sometimes it is instinctive. Deeper patterns of enjoyment and flow lead to contentment and happiness.
When we lean into something that someone else doesn’t want to do, the whole project becomes easier, whether we notice it or not. We feel fulfilled by the effort of helping and service, and the other person is lighter for the unburdening. When we can anticipate what others will do and seek ways to make the work easier, true synergy occurs.
Sometimes these types of relationships are unconscious and co-evolved, but the more that we become aware and reflexive of them, the better they become. When there is no friction, effort becomes almost effortless; the thing just flows better.
Have you ever watched people who work well together and are engaged? In sports we talk about seeing the momentum flowing when a team is firing on all cylinders. I’ve seen construction projects and other heavy physical labor become like a game, everyone keyed in and playing a clear role in support of the team.
These types of synergies can be achieved in any human relationship or set of relationships. I’ve seen construction crews click like this and the work flies together in a gorgeous way that feels like less effort. Work becomes easier in a literal and figurative sense. The figurative changes, the feelings of engagement and informed action are often more beneficial than the ease in physical effort.
When the roles aren’t clear or people aren’t aware of the overall direction of the project, friction occurs, slowing down the results. If we all know where the tools are, how we use them to do the work at hand, and who will be doing which tasks, then we can maximize our potential and minimize our efforts.
Being able to anticipate the next steps and know what everyone else is doing in relation to ourselves enables us to move in choreography like a sports team moving downfield. Cross-training is important to make sure that everyone understands the different perspectives and it is important to work backward from clear goals.
If we don’t have a clear picture of what we want to accomplish, how do we craft our methodology for getting there? The more focused we can be on defining our goals, the easier it becomes to implement them.
We can have clear goals for any area of life. By focusing in and becoming aware of what we want, we can then assess how to achieve it. Maybe it’s a goal of “have salad mix for market each week of the year”, or maybe it’s “take regular time to be with family.” By being clear about our goals and sharing in discussion with the people around us about our needs and theirs, we have an opportunity to construct fulfilling, happy lives.
Anytime we can reduce friction in a task or relationship, we save energy. Life is a process of finite energy, and we each must make decisions about how to use that lifeforce. There are so many things that are outside of individual control, but in the areas that we have agency we can take steps to reduce friction and save energy. As always, much love and great success to you on your journey!
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