Debra Swersky
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Our ketubah says, “... We promise to be open with each other; to meet life’s joys and challenges together; to provide for each other’s needs; to support each other’s work; and to help each other grow into the best people we can be...” This past week we dealt with “house stuff.” And I’m pretty sure that entire sentence came into play. In this instance I was supportive instead of in need of support.

I wanted to take control of the situation, get angry at the establishment, and start exerting force to get the job done… that or throw my hands up and start doing the work myself (fine, get contractors to do the work for us). But, that’s not what “supporting each other’s work” means. Sure, one’s work can be occupational, but that may not always be the case. In this instance it was work to fix our house. By “fix” I mean finish our house the way it was supposed to be finished. 

As we prepped for our meeting I asked the love of my life / my better half / the designated leader of this meeting, what he wanted to accomplish by meeting (again) with those-that-shall-not-be-named. My question is not an uncommon one. I typically ask the question retroactively when he tells me about the meetings that he often finds himself in when people are just loving on how their voice sounds… and not actually accomplishing anything. 

This meeting, however, was different. Instead of retroactively, I proactively asked the question to ensure that given my predilection to lead the meeting that I would assume a productive supporting role. For this meeting I agreed to be present. I agreed to support his efforts. And I agreed to not throw people around to get the job done… even though that’s really what I wanted to do.

He countered with the same question, “What do I hope to accomplish with this meeting?” I laid out my expectations and agreed to play the supporting role.

We were open with each other. We set our expectations individually and collectively to ensure a successful outcome upon the close of the meeting. We met life’s joy (of buying the house) and challenges (of “fixing” the house) together. We provided for each other’s needs by ensuring that our expectations were met at the end of the meeting. We supported each other’s work in taking on the meeting (again). And, we helped each other grow into the best people we can be. 

That last statement is a lofty one. 

For the past six months I’ve been tooting the Fascination Advantage horn and urging myself to embrace and seek out situations wherein I can live out my best and highest value. But, I’ve also been doing a lot of “opera singing” lately. When I look back on the meeting, this meeting wasn’t about me, it was about helping the love of my life be the best person that he could be by using my advantages to his advantage ahead of the meeting.

It’s rare for me to sit back and observe a room without actively participating in it, but in this instance it allowed me time to reflect ahead of time and add value appropriately. I am grateful to have a partner in life who I can support and help grow into an even better version of himself, who also naturally complements my leadership style… and exudes extra patience when I just can’t find the strength. 

Debra Swersky