Why There’s Power In Partnerships

Why There’s Power In

Partnerships

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I was putting together a talk about the values that we have at aSweatLife.com, the content site I founded about four and a half years ago. Slide one proclaimed “everything is better with friends,” which is our way of saying that all arenas of life – work, play, fitness and side hustles – benefit from partnerships.

Slide two was stark-white and I stared at it for more than a handful of minutes before I realized that was it:

Partnership.

It was the only thing that really drove us forward and made us stronger.

That was a hard lesson for me to learn after I’d spent the bulk of my life thinking and operating as if I could do it all myself.

I was taught to figure it out. Find a problem. Solve a problem. Ask for help only if you really need it. The most telling illustration of this in my childhood was a time when my mom told me, a demanding five-year-old that she did not have time right that second to braid my hair. I locked myself in my bedroom, kneeling next to my bunk bed twisting and untwisting strands of my hair until I figured it out.

I operated that way for more than two more decades before I realized there’s loneliness to that sort of existence and in business not only is it lonely, it’s limiting.  It just took near burnout to figure that out.

After running aSweatLife by myself as a side-hustle, I read an email from a reader offering to help. It wasn’t the first email like that, but I was just tired enough to read it and spread just thin enough to consider this perfectly timed, well-written email. Over coffee, we talked about where I saw the site going and quickly I realized that I couldn’t do it alone. Three years later, she’s still writing for aSweatLife along with 20 other people.

Because we write about the intersection of health, happiness and fitness, we know the human connection makes you happier and happier people are healthier with potentially improved immune systems, but I still have to learn some big lessons for myself.

In that slow and methodical first year, Kristen, aSweatLife’s first contributor helped me take the walls around my city down and welcome in partners internally and at other complimentary companies. Here’s what we learned.

1. Partners show up. This aspect of relationships is the most important for us. Making commitments and honoring them shows your team and your partners that their interests are your interests too.

2. Partners share resources. Sometimes we can’t give our partners our time, but we can help connect them to someone who can – helping to forge connections within our network is rewarding.

3. Partners work through mistakes. Human relationships hold business together, but they’re filled with miscommunications and mistakes. If you insist that no one around you makes mistakes, they’ll learn to fear accountability for their mistakes, which leads to blame-seeking. Instead, partners work through mistakes, learn from them, figure out how they can be prevented in the future and move on.

4. Partners celebrate success. We live by a couple of mantras at aSweatLife that I’ve had to reiterate to myself as I’ve worked my way out of my old mindset and into this one. This most important is “your success is not my failure” This helps us to shift our thinking from, “how can I stop you” to “how can I help you.”

The magic is that when you do partnership right, all four of those pieces come right back to you.

Jeana Anderson Cohen

Jeana Anderson Cohen is the founder and CEO of aSweatLife.com a fitness-focused inspirational site. With a background in Journalism and social media marketing, she is also a certified personal and Nike trainer, spending much of her time hosting aSweatLife’s monthly #sweatworking events across Chicago.

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