Mindful Partnerships

Startups are hard. There are long hours. Endless to do lists. An overwhelming pressure to be “killing it” all day, every day. At Reboot, we work with leaders and teams to unwind this suffering and to build companies that are free of this all too often unrecognized, but all too often felt, violence. To build companies that help their employees to not only be great team members, but their fullest, actualized selves.

We’re honored to be partnering with UP Global to share entrepreneurs’ experiences and the transformational work they do that is revolutionizing their companies. This, and subsequent posts by me, are inspired by episodes of the Reboot podcast. You can learn more about the podcast here.

For Episode 16 of the Reboot podcast Jerry was joined by Zelle Nelson and Maureen McCarthy, cofounders of the The Center For Collaborative Awareness and creators of The Blueprint of We, a collaboration process used to build and sustain healthier, more resilient business and personal relationships.

“Hell is other people”. – Jean Paul Sarte

A relationship is a contract, written or unwritten; spoken or not. When we first enter into relationship with others we instinctually construct contracts. We subconsciously engage neural pathways around protecting ourselves and our safety. We utilize forever as the time frame. We start our relationships under the premise that we have to protect ourselves. The contract is created with the expectation that the relationship will end. When we construct contracts in this way, we are drafting the relationship from fear.

The Blueprint of We is different in that it is about building a foundation based on being in a good place in relationship, on building a relationship for today. A Blueprint asks participants to consider things such as, “Why do I want to be in this relationship? How are we going to interact with each other? Here’s what I need in the moment, that I may not be able to ask for in a stressful moment.” When you enter into a relationship in this way you are entering from a place of hope. It’s mindfulness meditation for relationships.

When Jerry and Fred Wilson were launching Flatiron partners, Jerry asked Fred to make a deal that if he ever did anything to piss Fred off, Fred would promise to tell him. Jerry knew that due to a painful experience in his previous partnership, he may otherwise waste time in worry or trying to figure out what was going on.

20 years later Jerry and Fred are still friends. They have had many disagreements, but have never had an argument. When Jerry was vulnerable with Fred in the earliest stage of their relationship and shared his fear, it became a very conscious conversation. This set the tone for their relationship.

“Stress is not a bad thing. It is a messenger.” – Maureen McCarthy

When we learn to pay attention to even small feelings of stress, we can catch problems early. We can get the message of what the stress is trying to tell us. You can use stress for clarity.

Should your partner do something that pains you, that stress is pointing to something in your subconscious that you have a painful story around. If you have taken the time to structure a blueprint, you can use this stress as a signal to come back to what you have already articulated. You have the experience to bring that up and make a change to the way you are thinking about it.

One of the benefits of working with a blueprint as your underlying structure is that your partners or colleagues know how you may behave when you are in stress or fear. Through this collaborative awareness space other people are helping to look in to you.

“I don’t just go to work to earn a living. I go to work to grow and become a better human.” – Jerry Colonna

In his book A Hidden Wholeness, author Parker Palmer shares that through work we are looking for three things, ”We are seeking the ability to pay our bills, we are seeking the ability to express our soul, and we are seeking the ability for community”.

Completing a Blueprint of We, or a Blueprint of Me, or any inner work helps us to not only become better colleagues, cofounders, employers or employees, it helps us to become better humans. This work empowers the best version of you to show up. When we are able to show up as our best selves and to unleash our passions, we do our best work.

You can learn more about the Blueprint of We and mindful partnershps by listening to the full episode of the Reboot podcast.


Networking Overload: How much is too much? (Comic)

Nonstop Networking 2x

Running downtown to an event…Rolling to the conference center for a breakfast group. Popping in at an elite gathering…Entrepreneurs are constantly running from one corner of town to the other to try to cram in all their meetings into 24 hours.

What is the best way to grow your business, get feedback, as well as meet potential investors, partners, and customers? Network, network, network!

Meetup.com is one of many sites that provide an array of groups to meet others with your interests, personal or professional. I’ve used it religiously, around the world, even before I was an entrepreneur. I’ve created my own groups, suggested other groups and dropped in on others!  But be forewarned, it’s easy to get sucked in! There is no shortage of exciting groups to join, so you may soon find yourself network-hopping and attending a handful of events every evening! This time-suck can be an #entrepreneurfail.

Focusing on the events where you can optimize your time, networking, and fun will lead to fostering the best relationships.

Are you a constant networker? Is it overwhelming or do you have it under control? Let us know in the comments below.

This comic and post were originally created for #entrepreneurfail: Startup Success.