Whether at work, home or play, we are all in some form of partnership with others. Sometimes we like it, and sometimes we don't. Yet the only way partnerships can be or become successful is to understand why being in relation with others is so important. Join JJ and Melissa as they reflect on their own past and current relationships.

August 10, 2021
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness Journey podcast. This little banner is about a car ride long and features your hosts JJ Parker. And Melissa Albert's JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  0:17  
Melissa, here we are. We're recording our podcast in person together in the same room, we're first time ever.

Melissa Albers  0:24  
We're like looking at for real z's.

JJ Parker  0:26  
So we've made like 65 of these. Oh, like, I know, we're through zoom over the internet, and never actually been in the same room. So we thought it would be appropriate. Yeah. To talk about partnerships. Yes, you and I are partners, and we're here together. And it would be good to explore that.

Melissa Albers  0:47  
Yeah, I think so too. And I think there's all sorts of partnerships in this world. And I think when we talked about doing this, we were talking about doing it from a business perspective, right. And, but there's all sorts of partnerships in teams in marriages, and friendships and our projects and our project. Exactly, exactly.

JJ Parker  1:09  
So like, we've done a bunch of stuff together. We've had other business partners. Yeah, but in the past, yeah. Right. So we both have like experience where a lot of history good partnerships, bad partnerships, partnerships with different people. Right. Yeah. And it's pretty interesting to think about, like, what makes those good? What makes us not so good. Right. Right. And, and, to me, like, good partnership is so awesome. Yeah, I

Melissa Albers  1:46  
know. Right? Like, yeah, like,

JJ Parker  1:49  
being in like being in the tech industry. There we see like, a lot of almost like and even in just like the entrepreneurship. Yeah, for sure. Straight we get this like, almost like glamorized version of what we call like, solopreneurs, which is like, yeah, one person, they are so brilliant that I made, like the most amazing product and just, um, their own single sheer will change the world. Yeah, yes. In my experience, that is not a very common story. No, in fact, it is probably completely false, false and fabricated, because I've never seen a single person be able to do something as hard as entrepreneurship. Yeah. on their own. They've always had, yeah, some sort of support. But we see Wales, but we do see a lot of stories around partners, like pairs of people coming together and building something. Amazing. Right, right. Look it like apple. Right? Yeah. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Right. Those were two very different people. What together? Yeah, like they made magic. Yeah, they literally changed the world. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  3:00  
Right. Yeah. With John Maxwell, the leadership developer always says that you can go alone, but it's pretty lonely. And you're not going to get very far. If you're going to go with if you want to create something larger, you really have to do it with more than one person. Yeah. And I think two people get, you know, there's way more stories of partnerships not working. I think, then there are partnerships that are actually working. Yeah. So that's why I think it's fun for us to talk about today, because I think we have a very well functioning partnership. I do too. Even when we had a startup business years ago, that didn't it there were times of that startup business that were extremely hard. And that's where most people would bail on the business and the partnership and then have all sorts of stories in their minds. Well, this didn't work because this partner was we never were like that, not once. And I think that there's some things that we sort of pay attention to to create a good partnership that hopefully, the listeners may find interesting as they're venturing out to come up with their own things that they want to work on.

JJ Parker  4:03  
Yeah. It's interesting when I'm, like, I'm invested, right? Yes. Like our CEO roundtable thing. Yep. And I used to be to whenever, like, there's a new owner that comes into the group. First question, do you have a partner? And if that answer is yes, then it's like, Ooh, let's figure out how to focus on that. Because, like, almost everybody's problem. Yeah. Seems to be around. Yeah. Like their partnerships, right. Their other shareholders, the other people that they have to work with, right. And it's like, to me, I always think like, like, it seems to be like identified as a problem all the time. Yes,

Melissa Albers  4:46  
exactly. Right. Right. Yeah. Always a negative spin on it right. Here. Good partner.

JJ Parker  4:51  
Right. Yeah. But in my experience, like, partnerships are like critical to the thing I do. Like I can't do it by myself because I don't have, like, all of the skills like I don't like there's, there's parts of, like who I am that, like I need a partner to help me. Yeah, like, help and bring the idea to life like I can't do it by myself. Right,

Melissa Albers  5:18  
right, let's talk and I feel the same way. So like, I think it'd be interesting to talk about what are some of the markers that make a good partnership?

JJ Parker  5:26  
Alright. Think about that.

Melissa Albers  5:28  
So one of them, one of them that I'll say is because this is the self awareness, Journey podcast, right is self awareness. And what I mean by that is, you know, like, I've done a million personality assessments, and you have to lots of people have at this stage of the game. But when you understand your own personality traits, when you're in a something to build a partnership or something, you're trying to build something, and your traits are really, really good for certain parts of it. And then you probably have trades that aren't great for it. Like my level of detail, I'm using my own example is very low. Whereas my vision, my big picture ideas of things is very high. Like I love thinking about stuff like that. But if it left to my own devices, I could come up with a million bar napkin side bar napkin ideas, and then no follow through. Because I don't have that. I don't want to say skill, because if I have to do details, I can be extremely skilled, but it takes so much energy, and I don't like it at all. So for me, I know I need somebody to help in that area, because I'm not good at that. Yeah. So I think just understanding where your natural personality is and how the other person and if it isn't even something like that, it could be anything. But understanding that another partner can come to you with that sort of bonus. And I have the awareness of that makes it a really good partnership.

JJ Parker  6:51  
Yeah. So you're saying like, complimentary, complimentary, complimentary, like personality? Yeah. Styles and door communication sales, right. Like, in trades. Generally, I'm like, more introverted. So like, yeah, I don't really want to go network with random people. Yeah. Whereas like, you love bad law. So yeah, like, that works out really well for us. Right.

Melissa Albers  7:13  
Yeah. And, and I think too, you know, conversely, in partnerships, all of this same thing exists, but with a lack of awareness, about your own strengths, and then the lack of awareness and respect for the other persons can actually then create one of the biggest gaps and the biggest problems. Yeah, it's interesting.

JJ Parker  7:36  
Yeah. Like, I agree, like, you know, when I had, I had a partner for a very long time, and they're pretty different. Yeah. personalities, right. Very different, which had the beating worked really well. Yeah, right. Right. Right. Because yeah, yeah, he could do the sales stuff I could do. Yeah, the code stuff. And, and it really worked. But after, like, after a while, it really started not working. Yeah. Because, like, you know, he wanted to do different things. They didn't get along with him for how to communicate. And then, like, at that time, for sure, we were not very aware of, like, all the emotion that was, like rising up, because we couldn't figure out how to like, basically, like, coexist in the company. And that had kind of like, grown beyond its little startup. Yeah. Right. Yeah. became like a legitimate big going company. We couldn't behave like we did before. Right. So like the environment kind of change. Right? We kind of change but we really were stuck on the old way. The old way.

Melissa Albers  8:52  
Yeah. So not growing. So that's part of a good partnership to is recognizing, when the growth happens outside of the partnership, even those partners have to be aware of that and be willing to be flexible. Yeah. To adjust to

JJ Parker  9:06  
it. Yeah. And adjusted. I'm sorry, that's a good way to phrase it. Because I it's hard. It felt like yeah, like we didn't adjust very well.

Melissa Albers  9:15  
Yeah. But that's what that's where it is hard for everyone. I think like I was looking back on as you were talking, I was reflecting on a couple of my others. And I, I was in a partnership with four other people. And I was the only one in this country. And the other four were in a different country. But there was a lack of respect for me. And there was an expectation that my talents would be used to go do what I was supposed to do, which is build the brand. But there was a lack of respect for what I could do. And so what ended up happening is they ended up taking advantage of my, my strengths, and I was so wanting to please and I was so well wanting it to be a good partnership that I actually didn't advocate for myself in that partnership, either. So there is a component of being authentic, and and owning what gifts you have that you're bringing into it with a lot of, you know, giving yourself that respect and giving yourself that benefit of what you're bringing, and then also doing the exact same for your partner. Right? Because you like you and I, you have a really different strengths than I do. And I have such respect for that, because there's, I recognize them, although sometimes those are hard for me because I don't understand them. Right. So I have to really, sometimes I have to be like, Okay, I don't I don't know what he's trying to explain. But I trust that what he's doing is good. Like, so I have that expectation.

JJ Parker  10:53  
See, you're talking about like, the respect part and advocating for yourself. Yeah. What? What part of like, like a partnership, like, why kind of heard was like some confidence stuff. Right. Like, like you understand yourself. And you know, what you're bringing to the table? And you're confident in that. Yeah. It feels to me like if you are not confident about what you're bringing to the partnership. Yeah. And that. That starts like a downhill slide. Yeah. As far as the relationship goes, Yeah,

Melissa Albers  11:29  
because your stool leg is wobbly, then. Oh, that's a good analogy. Yeah. Yeah. Um, yes. I think you do have to have some confidence about your own skill. Yeah. coming in.

JJ Parker  11:39  
Yeah. And I did, like, I'm just kind of like, again, like, reflecting on my past. Partnership is like, I think that was a thing that really happened. I think my partner became really not confident in what he was bringing. And that turned into, basically, like a death spiral. Right. Like we couldn't pull out of that. Yeah. Yeah. So he's kind of like started hiding, sort of not doing the things that yeah, I felt he should have been doing because that's what we used to. He used to do. Right. I can never get past that.

Melissa Albers  12:17  
Yeah. So I mean, one thing, just from our own reflective conversation, so far, we're just recognizing, like, there's core things that bring a partnership together. But then there's a real, there's some validation that needs to happen from your own perspective. Like, you have to stay solid in what it is that you're doing, and know that that's what you're bringing to the party. Yeah. And that you can't expect someone else to complete you. You can't expect somebody else to make you be something or to convince you. Yeah, your strength is good.

JJ Parker  12:49  
Yeah. Yeah, that's like an interesting part of that. Like, I'm, like, in one way, like, partners, you know, should be kind of like champions of each other. Yeah, for sure. But like, not like, fastly, not falsely, like not like thin cheerleaders, like, Okay, let's go, we gotta go, you know, right. And, and because, like, eventually, that just turns more into, like, almost like a manager. Totally. Right. Yeah. So I've experienced that to where it's like, we had a partnership, but what it evolved into, felt much more like a manager sort of like, Yeah, or like, one was subordinate to the other. Yeah, kind of role. And that felt terrible. And

Melissa Albers  13:37  
all the emotions behind that. Like I said, there was a lot of emotion behind that, too. Yeah. You know, it's just like other partnerships in anything like you look in marriage, you look and dating and stuff like that. And so often people are seeking someone else to complete them. And in a partnership, that's not the healthiest way to start. Because you need to be completed in yourself. So that's one marker, right? What about what about in the partnership, however long it's been going on? What if you start noticing that the partner is having a hard time, this is a normal place to where partners start to get real wonky, right? Because you can it can throw off the whole the whole plan it can hold it can throw off everything.

JJ Parker  14:25  
Definitely. So like, like, again, from, from my experience, like I had that right. I had a partner who was not doing well like mentally, right, mental health wise is not doing well. And I didn't know what to do about it. Yeah, right. Because I didn't really have much experience at that point with mental health issues right. And so

Melissa Albers  14:50  
well, since you've been around me, you've had your like a trainer.

JJ Parker  14:57  
But I didn't really know how to deal with that. I didn't know how to support them. I didn't help. Right. And part of the way I, you know, probably wrongly dealt with it was I actually didn't really deal with it. Right? It was just like, Okay, well give them some space. Well, I'm sorry, this stuff out, I'll like, basically take over running the whole ship. Right? Which wasn't, wasn't helpful to the partnership, right. And so how you address those, and sometimes they feel really delicate, right? Oh, guys, you don't want to go up to someone who have you been using have known for 20 years and be like, Oh, hey, I think you know, like, I think you're completely failing at your job. And yeah, you know, you have everything, right. And out of security and safety for the business. It's just like, and I, you know, it's it's hard to have those hard conversations, right. Like, this is another good one anymore. Okay.

Melissa Albers  15:56  
So that's another good one, how to have hard conversations like that's like a critical component to being in a good partnership, right? Because you have to, in business partnerships, you're talking about a lot of things that have a lot of energy for people. You're talking about ego, you talking about money, you're talking about status. Well, that's

JJ Parker  16:14  
the other Yeah. Third problem when we're talking about business partnerships, they often turn into, or bound by, yep, money. Yeah. And asset, right. Like, I remember referring to him as like, I'm more married to my business partner than I am to my wife. And yeah, what I was like saying was like, we have more assets together in the business. Yeah, than I do with my family. Yeah, it's a one we're like, we're almost more bound to each other than my spouse because of like the company and the 50 children, slash employees that are within it, right? Yeah. That's so true. So that's so true. In such a big dynamic, yeah, of a business partnership.

Melissa Albers  17:03  
And as you're talking about money, I started thinking about, you know, Vistage or any other CEO organization, or if you're in any mentorship programs with anybody, you're trying to build something and you talk about partnerships. Everybody gets real, real animated around the conversation of setting a partnership up and never have it. 5050. Yeah, right. It's always like, there's they're always gunning for whoever they're talking to, to have at least a slight leg on troll. Yes, who has control and in the legal documents, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And again, our society has that mentality around equality can't actually work. Yeah, it's almost like, it's almost like, well, as long as you have a half a percent more ownership, fine, if you want to be all equal, and everything else like that. But when the rubber hits the road, you'll still have control. That's what that message is.

JJ Parker  17:56  
I never like that energy. Like, like, I don't I don't like I don't like being superior or subordinate. I like I like the evenness. Right,

Melissa Albers  18:05  
right. But that's not I don't think a real I think people that want that are seen in the business perspective as not being smart.

JJ Parker  18:16  
Yeah, I take it down. Well, I take it different. I used to seen it. I've seen it so much. I see it as actually being scared. Oh, it's like, it's like a fear thing.

Melissa Albers  18:26  
Wanting to control out of our control out of fear. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. That's really interesting. That's really interesting. What do you think are? Like, talk about what you think the benefits of a partnership are? versus going at it alone?

JJ Parker  18:43  
Wow. Okay, so there's, there's so many I mean, actually, like, I've, I don't think I've actually tried anything. of any substance. Yeah, like, maybe like, mess around with like, little side project. Yeah. But I've never tried anything of substance without a partner. Right? Because I just don't understand how it would work. And it because to me, like, a really important thing. Is co creation. Yeah. Like, I'm a really big fan of this idea of co creation. Yeah. Because it is like, fundamentally like, the way the universe works. Right? In my view, right. Right. If you look at like, it is a we'll talk about like, married couples, like are people right? The way people reproduce is procreation. Yep. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Have a baby by yourself.

Melissa Albers  19:40  
No, no matter how thin you slide out, you've never ever done it by yourself. Right? Yeah.

JJ Parker  19:44  
It's like, like to bring something into the universe. The universe shows us that you need Yeah, co creation you need pairs you need ya know, whatever you are maybe more than that, right? Like, but you need many elements. Yeah, to come together. In a harmonious way to create something new. Yeah. So my artistic view of, of everything is that that's how things should be. Right. So Right. When we're talking about businesses and ideas and our projects and, and this stuff. It's so much more fun. Yeah. When it's done in a partnership, right? Wait, right. This feels natural to me. And yeah. Like, there's a spark, right? There's something happened. Magic. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  20:29  
It's funny, like just even you and I with creating the self awareness journey. Everybody's like, well, what's your agenda? And we're like, we don't really have one. No one actually buys that, right. But it's funny because we are so interested in constantly creating this. But it's funny if I get stuck on something, and I can't do it. I love it to you. And then you either sorted out like, right now we're working on a script, right? We've been working on one video script for weeks.

JJ Parker  20:55  
Mom? Well, okay.

Melissa Albers  20:57  
It was it was actually on my plate for weeks and weeks and weeks, double digit number of weeks. And finally, I was like, I can't do this near like, Fine. Give it to me. I can take a run at it. And you had it for one week. And you're like, you know what, this isn't actually working. I think we need to do it together. Yeah. Right. So that would be another example of just being aware enough. And having the presence of mind enough to trust the partner to create it with you without ego without worrying about what it might sound like or what it looks like from the outside. So I think trust is another really big one.

JJ Parker  21:33  
Oh, yeah, it's, it's key. Yes.

Melissa Albers  21:36  
Is all of these are key? Yeah, it's really interesting. So like, what are what are some good if people are entering into partners into thinking about having a partner or even if they've had partner for a while right now, what do you think are some? Can you think of any good questions or ways that you handle conflict? Or if there's a challenge with something? How do you enter into that conversation? Or like, what if there's conflict? Well, okay, so healthy conflict?

JJ Parker  22:08  
Yeah. Well, healthy conflict is good. Like, I'm a big fan, right? Yeah. Right. Like, find it? Get it out? Yeah. Right. But you have to practice that. Like, that's not like, right here. You don't be like bowling in china shop. Right, like, upset, everybody. But like, to me, there's like, there's lots, there's so many moving parts. And there's so many, like, we're not very good. I feel like, like we're not very good, especially like from our emotional mean, right for and, and some of our, like, more primal instinct reaction, not very good at dealing with these complex situations like businesses and businesses that have partnerships, right, because we've got, we've got these, like, primitive social constructs that drive our emotions. Yeah. So we're in it's in rocks. Yeah. Right. We're in an environment, which is like a complex business economic situation, right. So we're trying to use like, our logical brain to think through things. It just gets like so. Yeah. off balance. So easy.

Melissa Albers  23:28  
I see it in my coaching clients all the time, where there'll be a core issue that they are bothered about. And they will wrap so much cotton around the rock before they throw it. Yeah, that isn't even the same issue. By the time it comes out. Yeah. Sorry, just missed it the whole thing. And then it doesn't allow the person that they're interacting with to even understand the true root feeling came from

JJ Parker  23:49  
things that are really important. are like, really getting in touch with yourself? Yeah. Because almost all of the I mean, all of the problems just start with you. Yeah. No, they so so like, understanding like, what, what these emotions are, what these thoughts are trying to get to the root of them. Sometimes it's really hard. So being content in that way, trying to understand what's happening with you. You know, expressing and sharing that with your partner right being which is hard to Yeah, being like, courageous, to be vulnerable in that way. Yeah, exactly. Right. Really well said. Yeah. Which is really hard. Because again, you don't want to be the failing partner. Right? Right. Yeah. You

Melissa Albers  24:37  
don't want to be the bad guy. You

JJ Parker  24:38  
don't want to be like, Hey, I can't do it. Yeah, right. You don't want

Melissa Albers  24:41  
to be the bad guy that creates the conversation that creates anger, causing upset you don't like being that person who does that none of us do.

JJ Parker  24:50  
The other thing is just making the making sure I'm blaming your

Melissa Albers  24:54  
partner. Yes. That's

JJ Parker  24:57  
like, like, again, complicated business situations can that that we actually like think we have control on? We're like, No, we don't have control of it like, no, it's very, it's too complicated. And there's not Yeah. And, and so but what happens a lot is like, something will go wrong. Then I'll say, oh, yeah, that was in my partner's court. Yeah, blame them.

Melissa Albers  25:23  
Right. Yes. Look Good. Yeah. But it is that way, you are a reflection of the partner. Yeah. Right. So get that

JJ Parker  25:31  
making sure not to blame. Your partner doesn't understand that. Yeah. But I also trying to do the best they can. And then being more upfront, I think, like, yeah, when you're in like, even friend groups, or employee, employer, you know, people, like he said, put a lot of cotton around things just kind of make us make sure everything stays cool. We're not like, whatever. In my experience, not being upfront enough with your partner causes way more collateral damage. Yeah. Then you intend, like only you think you're actually protecting them? Yeah, but you're not right, actually just causing right way more damage. So again, being being strong enough to say, hey, this part is upsetting me. This is more it's not working. Yeah, I'm stuck here. Right.

Melissa Albers  26:27  
I'm feeling and it's a lot of I statements. So like, that's the that's the beneficial way of entering into that is to talk from your own frame of reference. And really just focus on explaining how you feel without blame. And without expectation, like that's the other thing, because I think when there's a lot of expectation in a partnership, it can create resentments.

JJ Parker  26:46  
Definitely. So expectation and even worse, like, on said, expectations are on communicated expectation.

Melissa Albers  26:54  
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, this is, it's an interesting thing. There's the there's a lot, there's a lot to a good partnership, especially a long term partnership. And I mean, just as we were talking about, um, you know, we were talking about the communication piece, respecting each other, respecting ourselves, having trust with each other, the other thing and then you said, being vulnerable, which is really good. And then I think the other one, too, is assume goodwill. Yes, it's really easy to get uptight about something, you had a bad day, you're supposed to work on something, something doesn't get worked out, you don't do it, or whatever. And if you aren't staying really clear, you can start telling yourself a story. That's not true. Because you're upset. Either you're upset about something in the partnership or something outside of it. But that is one of the relationships that you feel safe in. So a lot of times you can just kind of go after something that's not even true. So assuming goodwill, assuming that person is doing the best that they can, just like you are I think that's another really important component to that.

JJ Parker  27:57  
Yeah. Well, I'm a fan of partnership. Mito, we even talked a little bit may we talk about me, which probably have like a second partnership podcast? Because we haven't talked about like, yeah, whether we're getting ready 5050 partnerships versus partnerships that we're, you know, we're 2575 or lopsided, and how you and I are big fans of Yeah, equal partnerships, and how those feel and those are, in some ways, if you're a business person, the most, I don't know, risky, like sales or is Yeah, to me. The best. That's like the way it should be. Yeah, so there's a lot, a lot there. But yeah, if you're thinking if anyone out there has got a business, a business idea, a project that they want to work on, I'm a big fan of finding a partner right to go up to go at it with because it, it really creates something special,

Melissa Albers  28:54  
right? When this pod drops in LinkedIn and Facebook, and all the other spots. If there are people that are interested more in learning about partnerships, one of the things you and I talked about doing was a whole training session, like going into more detail about some of the nuances of partnership if that's interesting for people drop us a line and let us know we'd be happy.

JJ Parker  29:16  
We should have like, we should have like a live partnership problems pod.

Melissa Albers  29:20  
Oh my gosh. Triple P.

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Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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