In 1955 a man walked into a small restaurant that had been serving burgers, fries, shakes and sodas. The man was very impressed with the success of this small establishment and saw that this restaurant had the potential to be something great. He was stunned by the effectiveness of this operation. Their ability to produce a quality product was amazing. He talked to the owners of the restaurant and pitched his idea that would take this restaurant to the next level. He pitched the idea of franchising this small restaurant and making restaurants like it all over the country. To accomplish this he persuaded both franchises and suppliers to buy into his vision. He communicated that they would be working with the restaurant and not for the restaurant. He desired to make a partnership. That man’s philosophy was to be in business for yourself, but not by yourself. His philosophy was based on a simple principle of a 3 legged stool. Franchisees, Suppliers and employees. The stool was only as strong as the 3 legs it stood on. That man was Ray Kroc, the restaurant was McDonalds. They formed a partnership that most people across this country and even the world has had an opportunity to take advantage of. The partnership was birthed out of the potential of what could be accomplished when the 2 parties came together.
Every person has potential, but the question is: potential for what? Potential has been defined as, “capable of being or becoming.” So, when you are looking for a potential mate, what kind of potential are you looking for in a person? You have potential. The person you end up in a relationship with has potential. Selecting a potential mate means you are choosing a road map in life that will lead you down a path. This path will have limitations within the confines of the relationship, but how this comes together depends on your potential and that of the other individual.
When selecting a mate you guys have the potential to do something, but what is that something. Essentially you guys are creating a partnership. In an article on Inc.com the questions was asked, what makes a good business partnership? In the article they listed 3 principles that made for great partnerships.
Vision & Goals
Finding the right business partner can make or break a business and finding the right life partner has the potential to make or break your life. Transferring these same principles from the business world into relationship we are going to look at how these principles can play a part in selecting a mate.
A partner is someone who will be with you through all of life’s challenges. They stay close during the storms and help you fully celebrate your accomplishments. In the story of Ray Kroc and the McDonald brothers, both parties knew that there was challenging times that would happen and they would share in the successes and failures of the organization. When you’re single basically all of your successes and failures fall on you, but going into a potential relationship things will start to be split (ideally) down the middle and shared. Let’s answer a real question. Are you looking for a partner or are you looking for perfection? We often look for that perfect mate that has it all together. They have the perfect job, they have the perfect family and upbringing, they have the perfect car, house, they would never say anything inappropriate to us, blah, blah, blah, etc. and so one… Let’s be honest, perfection doesn’t exist. Rather than looking for perfection, lets try to focus on seeking out a partner.
Partnership verses Perfection
Relationships are the perfect examples of partnership, but often people seek perfection over accepting a person for who they are. This is troublesome because both parties in a partnership are encouraged to dream, have separate responsibilities, listen respectfully to one another and enjoy freedom. Everyone comes into a relationship with what I’ll refer to as baggage that disrupts the idea of perfection.
Remember the childhood favorite story The Wizard of OZ? Now there was a group of people that had baggage. Dorothy had issues at home, the lion was a coward, the Tin Man didn’t have a heart, the Scarecrow didn’t have a brain. What a rag tag bunch of people. The main story line of the movie was that these 4 people were on the yellow brick road to see the Wizard of Oz. The Wizard was going to help them with all their issues and help Dorothy get back home. While on their journey to see the Wizard they encountered challenge after challenge. This group of people had apparent issues and obvious baggage, but they worked together as partners in order to accomplish a goal. Their imperfections and baggage were put on the back burner, because what was more important was they needed each other for the journey ahead. Where one partner lacked, the other partner made up for it. In actuality their imperfections brought them closer and gave them an opportunity to learn from each other and build a partnership.
When we seek out a mate that is perfect we limit ourselves and cause ourselves frustration because no one is perfect. We are all human and will make mistakes along the way and have baggage. Don’t let a great potential mate get away because they didn’t fit you your ideal state of perfection. Just because you are stronger in one area of your life, your potential partner may be weak in that exact area; don’t totally rule them out.
Here are some questions I want you to ponder:
What did you learn from your parent’s marriage (or lack of marriage) growing up?
What baggage are you bringing into a relationship?
What areas do you see yourself as imperfect?
What are your potential partner’s strengths and weaknesses?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What do you see yourself as being responsible for?
What do you see your potential partner being responsible for?
Remember that you have a past too as you think through these questions. What strengths are you drawn to versus what areas do you dislike? Seek out the person’s heart, because this is more important than creating a checklist of what they have done right and wrong in your eyes. We all make mistakes, but what matters the most is realizing that life is full of processes. Does the person give up on a friendship they should fight for? Do they try to control the actions of another person? Are they striving to gain a new perspective in a difficult situation? Paying attention to how another person processes these situations – whether bad or good – will give you insight into how they may grow as a person. Remember, everyone has potential and the outcome of a situation is not as important as how they deal with it. Going through life you will experience injustice, unfair treatment and dishonesty. Does the person you are considering as a potential mate share the same perspectives as you? Are your hearts connected on what matters the most? Have you determined what is most important to you?
Remember those 3 key elements of a great business partnership. Lets unpack them and talk about them a little more.
In the business world integrity can mean either loss or gain of valuable resources, money and time. Taking this same principle and transferring it into a relationship, integrity can pay great dividends in the longevity of your potential relationship.
Integrity could be defined as doing the right thing when no one is looking. Once again we are all human and no one person is perfect but past patterns is a good indicator to predict future performance. Paying attention to a person’s conversations about their previous relationships can paint a picture of what they have a pattern of doing. Do you and your potential mate choose to do what’s right all the time? This doesn’t need to be a checklist of right and wrong, but you can probably gather a general sense of whether you tend to cut corners or go the extra mile. Your potential partner doesn’t have to go back inside a store to pay for something they forgot was in the cart, but integrity says they do it anyway. Integrity says you don’t believe what appears to be gossip and you don’t spread it. Talk about preventing unwanted drama! Integrity says you will return money to someone who dropped it when you could have pocketed it. Integrity means you pay your taxes, pay back money you borrowed and return belongings that are not yours. This is critical to maintain trust in a relationship, so take a hard, long look at whether your potential relationship includes integrity. Integrity ensures you are considerate of others and striving to honor what is right. Lack of integrity will take you down a path that is destructive in the long run, although it may not seem like a big deal in the moment. Lack of integrity is one of those things that can come back and bite you. If you have someone that is trying to get into a relationship with you when they are already in a relationship, what do you think that person will do if you two were to get into a relationship. I know we all like to think the people we meet treat us different and we are special and the sun rises and sets on our smile, but that’s not the case. People will show you who they really are if you pay attention. When people show you who they are believe them. The life they live speaks louder than the words they say.
Do you sense that integrity has a place in your potential relationship?
Will you try to do the right thing all the time?
Will your actions match up with what you claim?
Do the actions of your potential partner match up with what they claim?
Is there room to identify that you have made a mistake and to confess?
In the story of Ray Kroc and the McDonald Brothers, one thing that Ray Kroc admired about the brothers was they were very effective in their restaurant. This effectiveness came from a tremendous work ethic. Ray knew that with his work ethic and their work ethic it would be a great partnership to accomplish something great. He was drawn to them because they shared similar work ethics. Think about your work ethic. It’s easy to assume your potential partner will work hard, but this is not the reality that many people experience. Do you want someone who sits around playing video games and for life to just happen, or someone who is willing to work for what they have? This plays out in many ways, including how they value and appreciate what they have and your work ethic. If they complain about their situation and aren’t trying to rectify it, they may have the idea that they deserve possessions, vacations, vehicles, etc. to be given to them. This sense of entitlement divides many couples because there is a lack of appreciation for the one who is working hard and earning what they have. In a relationship you don’t want to feel like you’re the only one working in the relationship. If you put in 100%, you want you partner to put in 100%. In order for a relationship it grow, it’s vital that work ethic be a key factor. The old saying says “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. A relationship is only 2 links, so make sure your potential mate has a similar work ethic in order to build a strong bond.
Do you have a strong work ethic?
Do you try to work as many hours as possible?
Would you rather someone else pay your way?
Does your potential mate choose to work more or relax more?
Does your potential mate set financial goals they work to meet?
Do you sense a good balance between how much you work and how much your mate works?
Vision and Goals
Diana Ross had a popular song in the 70’s with the lyrics “ Do you know where going to, do you like the things that life is show you.” That’s a good question. Many of us have a path that we are on and want to continue with that path. We have plans and things we would like to accomplish. You may already be set in a specific lifestyle and that’s not bad – it’s normal as life goes on. It’s easy to dream about things like vacations, traveling the world, volunteering, having a big house, being involved in plays and musicals, and running a marathon. Dreams are what keeps you going and helps you set goals. Your lifestyle is created around what you do, who you hang out with and even what you choose as your career. What about your potential partner? Yes, they have dreams, desires and maybe even a few pieces of their lifestyle determined.
Listen intently to your potential mate – whether you think you have met him/her or will in the future. Do their dreams match up with yours? Can you dream together? Can you envision life with this person as your partner to strive toward a lifestyle you can embrace? Understand that events happen in life that can drastically change your lifestyle. You can’t control a cancer diagnosis, how you will feel when and if kids come into the picture, an unexpected pregnancy after already having two children, how life will change after a parent dies. Continue to dream and focus on the lifestyle you would love to have, but leave margin for change and the unexpected to captivate you and your future partner. We can’t predict the future but having like minds can help your vision and goals in the relationship. Similar goals and visions serve as a road map to where you want to go. If an unexpected circumstance or event takes you off course you can still come back to where you left off with the right road map. You and your partner should share similar visions and goals. There is plenty that will happen over the course of time that will try to distract you from your relationship, but going in the same direction can help elevate some of the friction along the way.
Life is full of twist and turns and unforeseen situations. Viewing your relationship as a partnership is critical because it allows you to give your mate space to navigate. They have margin to explore the hobbies and interests they enjoyed before you two came together. Demanding they change to fit your idea of perfection is controlling who they are. Choosing to make changes together is how you work together in this partnership. Every relationship has potential, potential to accomplish something great together or the potential to ruin someone’s life. The potential to do something great together lies in the ability to select a partner that share similar goals and visions. We are not all perfect, but we all do have potential. That potential is a definite maybe.