As first responders, we often have a heart for helping others and a sense of duty to do what’s right. Many first responders experience partnership as part of our jobs. We also know that pairing up gets the job done faster and more efficiently. That’s why so many first responder positions are built around having a partner, a comrade to work with and rely on.
Partnership at Work
When you have a good working relationship with your partner in the field, you feel more confident in the task at hand. You know your partner will have your back and you have your partner’s back. You communicate well, work well, and have a higher success rate as a result. Also, You feel good together and, sometimes, take blame together. Even taking blame is easier to handle when you’ve got someone in the ditch with you. You’re partners and you get through the trenches together.
Partnership in Goals
Imagine you have the benefits of that partnership in other areas of your life. Where in your life do you struggle? What’s your most stressful aspect of life? Do you have someone in the trenches in those places, someone watching your back or helping you along? Imagine someone partnering with you in your goals. What would that look like to you?
A partnership in goals means you’re not alone. It means you’re both climbing uphill, sharing a rope and acting as each other’s anchors. Sure rock climbers can climb alone, but how much better to share the burden of toil, pull from each other’s resources, have an extra set of hands, and be present with someone else to share the experience?
Benefits and Burdens of Helping Others
University College London’s Student page lists 10 Benefits of Helping Others (2020):
- Helping others feels good.
- It creates a sense of belonging.
- It gives you a sense of purpose.
- Giving helps keep things in perspective.
- It’s contagious.
- Helping others can help you live longer.
- It will give you a sense of renewal.
- You’ll boost your self-esteem.
- You’ll create stronger friendships.
- You’ll become a glass-half-full type person.
While the article focuses on volunteer opportunities, the principles apply to all kinds of helping. First responders are helpers and that’s what leads them to their type of work, but the work is stressful and uncommonly hard on the human heart. That’s why having a partnership is even more important.
For first responders, that sense of purpose and belonging happens when you save the day. That’s why a good call ends with your purpose being fulfilled and a bad call ends with feelings of helplessness. That belonging and purpose feels like failure in those moments. This is too heavy a burden to take on alone.
When we use partnership for any difficult aspect of our lives, we build a stronger foundation for success. We acknowledge here that some partnerships at work are not as healthy and strong as we would like. First responders don’t get to pick their partners usually and that makes things difficult. But we’re talking about goals, life goals, personal goals, any goals you desire for yourself. Partnership for those goals is something you get to have control over! So let’s talk about creating those good partnerships for your benefit (and theirs!)
Partnership for Success
Creating a good partnership for success is easier than you think. You need three basic things:
- Someone you can trust – Having a person you trust is key to dealing with the vulnerability that comes with honest goal-setting. Maybe you’re just trying to exercise more. An easy out excuse to not go to the gym might be, “I didn’t sleep well. I’ll go tomorrow.” But a more honest answer might be, “I’m frustrated that nothing seems to be improving and I’m embarrassed that I can’t do better.” Honesty is going to help you more because your partner is going to hear you better.
- Someone who can champion you – Your champion is your hero! This person will encourage you, lift you up, cheer you on. But this person will also mourn with you, sit in the trenches with you, and hear you out. Champions don’t have to be all fluff and rainbows. Sometimes they’re honest, kind, and understanding in your tough times and that’s important.
- Someone who needs you too – Here’s where the helper’s heart wins the day! Your partner needs you too! Choose someone that you can champion as well, someone you enjoy helping and seeing succeed. The boost from seeing their steps forward – and eventually their success – will motivate you further than you think!
Accountability Partner Wins
All this points to the same: having an accountability partner for your goals is a golden ticket to success. Maybe you can be disciplined enough to get there on your own, but how much lighter is the burden with someone else helping you haul the load? This is a partnership that leads to not only your success, but the success of your partner. You hold each other accountable and check in on each other’s well-being. You lean on each other for support, championing each other’s causes. A good, healthy partnership for success leads to goals you may never have thought possible.