Friday August 30, 2013
Dr. Mark Albion shared with me the story of how a few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back.
Every one of them!
One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said: "This will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story.
Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course....
My twelve years living in Japan taught me many things. Perhaps the biggest learning and the one I share when people ask me about that experience, is the Japanese culture’s commitment to everyone in a group winning, to working together for mutual benefit. The Japanese proverb says
“A single arrow is easily broken, but not three in a bundle.”
Our Western society often seems a win/lose, competitive frenzy. This often damages relationships and prevents us from operating in true partnership. Beginning to live from a commitment to mutual benefit in your relationships will change your experience of life for the better and, even though it might seem counter-intuitive, actually bring you better results than being blindly competitive. .
How about a here and now example?
Here’s an example of how it might work in something as simple as this article: While I’m totally unwilling to take responsibility for the value you’ll create from choosing to read this, I am totally responsible for creating context and content that will support and even accelerate your journey toward living an extraordinary life.
Part of my expression of my own accountability is to consistently extend the offer of being in partnership with you. I hold you as my equal, my peer, my partner in learning. I know that your knowledge, life experience and perspectives are rich, informed and valuable. Therefore, I’m delivering this content from a context of loving respect for who you are and who you will become.
How about you? Are you willing to be in partnership with me? Are you willing to simply look at these ideas and temporarily suspend judgment about whether they are right or wrong? Are you willing to test them against your own knowledge and experience and thus determine if they can work in your life? Or are you practicing an inner dialogue of judgment that prevents real learning? Partnership attitudes require the suspension of quick conclusions, prejudices and judgments.
My partnership you includes sharing some final thoughts in our Action Steps so read on.
Extraordinary Living Action Steps
A few minutes answering the following questions can be a powerful experience:
Do I consistently play “win-win” with everyone no matter what the circumstance?
With whom do I need to play “win-win” with more consistently?
When I truly operate in partnership what are the qualities of my relationships and results?
Who are the people or what are the circumstances that seem to support my playing win-win?
Who is the person or circumstance where I most need to play “win-win”, to set a context of partnership for mutual benefit?
What is the date when I’m committed to actually doing that and what is the result I will create by being in partnership?
Create partnerships and your life will transform itself just in the process of living. Executive coaching can help you develop leadership principles that will transform the way you create partnerships that win-win for everyone.