'Behind every great man is great woman'. This phrase first appeared in the 1940's being used by an athlete, according to Phrases.org.uk, when accepting his trophy and it was used in the feminist movement of the 1960's as well. I would like to change the phrase and discuss it's meaning in personal development. The phrase in 2018 should be,
'Behind every great person, is another great person. One who supports, confides and gives strength to the other. It is the team and the partnership that counts.'
Are you in a partnership with someone at the moment? Are you married, engaged or have been someone significant other for a long time? Regardless of the arrangement, do you know what your partners goals are? What they want for their careers or do you sail like two separate ships in the night? Do you work together or are you separate as a family or partnership? Does your partner know what your goals are and what you want to achieve in your life? Do you have a common understanding about how you want to parent, work together and even exist?
If not, why not? Do you communicate effectively and set these goals, desires and ambitions together? How can you support your partner, if you don't? How can you really give them what they need if you don't know what they want?
I have been fortunate in my life to have a wonderful wife and we support each other no matter what. We have our own goals and also goals as a couple and as a family. We even wrote some down a few years ago and it was powerful to see, these ambitions come true. We found a life in Vienna, that we both wanted and have developed ourselves along the way. It hasn't been easy by the same token and we have both needed to develop ourselves individually. We also both know, that this life would be impossible without the other and this for me, gives me a strength and confidence.
We are meant to be connected and we are meant to support each other. I dismay when I hear examples of people who are not supported by their partner in a particular endeavour or idea. This was absolutely true when I first started singing. When I first began to sing, my first teacher said, you must have a supportive partner otherwise it won't work. I have seen these words lived by many in the Opera Industry. The hours of dedication, the odd working hours and the discipline needed to be a singer, needs support. Athletes, musicians, CEO's and other famous personalities also need this. Perhaps we all need this. Most careers these days are unpredictable, so it is important to make the most of things while they are here. Over the years, I have seen many examples of unsupportive partners, people who see their partners work as not real, or a hobby, or when you have finished playing. But this is real work. This has to be supported.
A supportive spouse or life partner:
This works both ways, and in an ideal work both people in the partnership feel they support their spouse as well as do their jobs and develop their careers. No one's job is really more important than another because if you have a family, one cannot exist without the other.
We all need support and as the idiom says, 'give to receive'. Consciously sit down with your partner and establish your joint desires, listen to the other and allow them to dream big, without limiting their choices. I am not saying that all dreams should become a reality, but allowing someone the space to feel heard, supported and loved for their choices is powerful. Choices and dreams do change and often the reality of those choices is unexpected and messy, but when people don't get to live their choices and to have some freedom, things sour. People are not living up to a potential and this leads to many damaging consequences.
So support your partner. Understand their needs and set goals together. Make it known. In doing so, you also become accountable to the other. I watched La La Land and it has a powerful message. Don't give up on your dreams. For Mia, her dream was that one step away, which if she hadn't have taken she would have remained miserable. She took it and was supported by Sebastian. He didn't know if he would end up with Mia, but he knew he had to push her and help her in that moment. Of course it is sad there was no happy ending for them as a couple, but the partnership they shared in the movie was supportive. Both questioned the dreams, the selling out and where there for each other. Be this for someone else and see your life become more valuable. To connect and help another is rewarding. We want this for our kids, we should of course want it for our spouse and indeed, for ourselves.
David Corcoran is a Executive Voice Coach. He helps people take responsibility for their communication. This Blog contains his regular musings, thoughts and ideas. He is based in Vienna, Austria.