Making Business Partnerships Great: Part 1 – Expectations

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

The year was 2007 when I started my “revolution of the mind.” This was when I became aware that personal development was an integral part of human living. I was learning so many fascinating things about myself and the fact that I could change certain thought patterns and be a different person through the transformation.

I was so excited that I tried to bring my business partners alongside the personal development track with me. I figured out that if we all did it together, we could be better people and thus the company would also grow. Makes sense, right?

The problem was that they didn’t agree with me. It didn’t hit them the same way it hit me, and by them rejecting it, I felt they were rejecting me. This rejecting led me to treat them bad, look down on them with disdain, and snap at them in anger for anything they did wrong.

We all have expectations of being on the same page when we get into business with others. But what happens when our expectations are shattered and what we thought would go one way, goes the opposite way.

Our wounds, personal preferences, and internalized cultural values not only inform our beliefs and actions, but they also become the foundation for many of our expectations. As we enter into business partnerships, we have dozens of unspoken expectations for the small, seemingly incidental details of business together (e.g., who cleans the bathroom?) as well as the major, significant components of business (e.g., who will be in charge of accounting?).

Sometimes we’re not even cognizant of our expectations until our business partners fail to meet them. Sometimes an expectation emanates out of our wounds, which makes it more difficult for us to identify the expectation, let alone discern what drives it.

Though I had legitimate reasons to be frustrated at my partners’ ambivalence towards personal development, their offense was a level three (out of ten—not that big a deal) and my response was a level eight (in other words, out of proportion). This disparity clued me into the possibility that maybe this dynamic was uncovering a historic wound.

When we have the same conflicts over and over again with our business partners, it’s likely that there’s something deeper going on that will provide an opportunity for healing if we can stop reacting and start exploring what’s driving our broken patterns. That was certainly true regarding our ongoing discord about personal development. When I was twelve, I remember my mother listening to tapes of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I don’t remember my dad listening to it. I do remember my dad reading his Bible when I was small, but that stopped. What I remember was my mom wanting to grow and my dad just focused on doing his job in the military.

During my middle and high school years, I saw my dad slip into a fixed mindset while I saw my mom showed me about having a growth mindset.

There was an obvious connection between what I saw as a child and my strife in business. My business partner’s uncaring attitude with personal development uncovered my unresolved pain and amplified my unprocessed anger. My response replicated my family of origin’s patterns and certainly did not help my partners feel good about being in business with me or grow in their personal development skills.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20. Today, I would do things differently.

The bible says:

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to e