Relationships — Are Yours Push or Pull?

I am currently doing two things I really love — reinventing myself and collaborating with a like-spirited person.  Over the past eight months, my dear friend, Chris, and I met once a week in a self-designed discovery process.  Its purpose is to move us, and our work relationship, into our next cycle of collaborative growth and development.

Chris and I are not short on ideas, which means we travelled down a few blind pathways and met some dead ends along the way. Our measure of success materialized into this — “if after two hours, we agree on one step forward for this week, we know we are headed in the right direction.” Even with the hard mental work of discovery and discernment, I recognize we are working from our strengths and having the times of our lives doing so. In retrospect, we are at least 32 steps closer to seeing the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel of uncertainty. What else can you ask for when uncertainty is the order of the day?

I would define my friendship and work relationship with Chris as a “pull” process of learning and development based on shared appeal or attraction. Our shared attractor is our commitment to self-mastery, and through our self-discovery process, we know our next step will be revealed to us. What we are evolving (along with ourselves) is the marketplace attractor that will draw other like-spirited people to us. From a personal perspective, we are building the community we want to hang with. From a business perspective, our emerging revelations become the fodder for future blogs, books and articles, which when read by someone we don’t know allows them to decide if our knowledge and/or products are what they want. In essence, we solve the problem of bothering those who do not share our interests while providing those who do with content that informs their decision making process.

In the marketing world, a “push” relationship indicates you are pushing out your service or product to potential clients via advertising and promotions, whereas, a “pull” relationship utilizes strategies such as content and knowledge creation as attractors that draw people to discover your products and services and pull in what they want for themselves.

PushPull

In the pull arena, content is king! The view currently held is that shared content increases and adds value to the learning experience of the person reading it. The gift of free knowledge as a goodwill gesture sets the stage for trust and loyalty to build within your potential and existing relationships whether personal or business-related.

Capturing attention in a virtual or f2f world is a competitive venture. Our inundation with information has left us overwhelmed and cranky. Consider your own irritation when the telephone rings. Most people prefer communicating via text message or even email because they can respond when it is convenient for them (a pull strategy) not when it is convenient only for the caller (a push strategy).

The argument between pull and push approaches raised this question for me, “How do we naturally attract friends and clients?” My thoughts leapt to people to whom I felt an immediate attraction. Something about their sincerity and genuine behaviour drew them to me. They were authentic. Their inner thoughts and feelings matched their outer expressions—words and deeds. That is self-master. Consequently, Chris and I uphold the age-old adage that all knowledge is self-knowledge. To keep us focused in our learning journey, we identified a set of grounding principles through which we are navigating our shared uncertainty.

Grounding Principles — from daily grinding to daily grounding

  • Authentic identity
    • Authenticity attracts
    • Authenticity is the deep, deep work of self-awareness
    • Self-awareness defines our footprint
  • Energizing work
    • Creating (adding value for others) versus performing (to get attention)
    • Doing what we enjoy
    • Working to our strengths
  • Keep it personal
    • What is deeply personal is universal (Carl Jung)
    • Go deep (into our essence) to see what is universally shared
    • The people we are looking for are looking for us
  • One step at a time
    • We can’t see the future, but we can see the present’s emerging next step
    • Experimentation and initiation get us to our next iteration (identity)
    • “Good enough for now” sets the quality standard

In another month, I will be curious to see if our nine-month discovery process has birthed the integration and innovation we seek.

For more on integration and innovation, click here.

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