Three years into our business, we had one of the biggest fights of our partnership. Though we were not conflicted rookies, the intensity and stickiness of our anger unnerved us. It was as if this single event somehow epitomized every deficit in our partnership. Month after month, we hunkered down in our workstations and shot nasty emails at each other.
This unproductive and childish behavior went on for much of our partnership until we finally went our separate ways. It’s only in hindsight, and with the wisdom, I’ve picked up from years in the bible, that I now know where we went wrong.
Without being aware of it, we had been minimizing and avoiding our disappointment and anger. As a result, we never learned what these feelings were trying to teach us and endlessly looped around the same half-dozen fights.
In the context of business partnerships, if we find ourselves disappointed and angry, we have four options:
divest and/or quit,
pretend that everything is fine (which is dishonest),
try to change our business partners (which never works), or
ask God to use the anger and disappointment to transform us so we can love our business partners independent of their behavior.
If we want our partnerships to thrive, we really only have one choice.
How do we arrive at that final option?
The bible says:
"Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs". (Proverbs 19:11 NLT)
First, you need to make a paradigm shift. We often assume that disappointment and anger indicate there’s something wrong with us, our partners, or our businesses. Such conclusions may cause you to feel shame and to pull back from the full intensity of the partnership, to get along with only the basic requirements.
In order to give more of yourself rather than pull back, you need to reframe anger and disappointment as holy invitations rather than dire pronouncements.
When we can look at our business partnership and see that it’s really there, as iron sharpens iron, to make us holy, not happy. It’s another way God consecrates us to himself. Partnerships are preparation for our face to face with God.
If all Godpreneurs had this mindset, then, as we press into these disquieting feelings and conflict in business, we can accomplish three important objectives:
discern what drives them,
decipher the message they intend to communicate, and
develop reality-based expectations.