Partnerships, Helpful or Hurtful?

I’m sure that most of us have a certain picture come to mind when the word “partner” is said.  It could have to do with the game of patty cake.  It could have to do with a business endeavor.  It could have to do with an alternative lifestyle.  Maybe you see a man with a cowboy hat saying: “Howdy partner!”

However many different ways that you see it, it will always involve another person.  Nobody can be a partner by themselves.  One of the cheesiest examples of this is the Lone Ranger and his trusted pal….Tonto.  What particular partnerships come to you mind in the realm of sports?  What about in romantic relationships?  Music?  Business?  Comedy?  Do you mostly envision healthy partnerships where the two together are stronger than they would be apart?  Or do you tend to imagine broken partnerships that didn’t pass the test of time?  You may discover some of your own prejudices towards your own partners by examining these.

For Growth and Creation

Great partnerships will typically cause growth for both parties.  There is a clear demarcation of who one was at the beginning of the partnership to who they are in the midst of it, over some amount of time.  Sometimes we are only aware of this subconsiously.  We may not even conciously plan to grow.  We just know that it is worth our time and energy to be a part of something, so we continue to do it.  Partnerships created around a certain task are often to create a solution to a problem, or simply to create something that the individuals could not do apart.  Maybe the clearest illustration of this is the conception of a child by a man and a woman.  Neither could create a child by themselves, but only by both having a common goal and an enjoyable (ahem) task.

The transfer of knowledge can never happen without two people making an agreement.  One must agree to give, and the other to receive.  Here is something that I saw this week:


If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day.  If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.  If you throw a man a fish, if he is your partner, he will catch it!

The risk…

Of course, partnerships only succeed over time if you count on somebody to do their part.  This means that there is the risk of failure and pain.  So, to avoid this possible pain, just avoid all partnerships!  It’s easy, right?  But, life will be utterly lonely.

You have made a partnership with every person in your life on some level.  Maybe its just a partnership to be friendly in social situations.  Maybe it is a pledge to take care of another’s physical or emotional needs.  It can be an agreement to avoid each other (like an enemy).  Partnerships are everywhere.

As you manage your life and the actions of your life, be aware of the partnerships that you have and how you are utilizing them.  Don’t manipulate people, but be a good partner.  Give your partners what they ask for and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need!