I had a queasy feeling in my stomach because I was scared of giving up control. My partner and I had agreed to make important decisions together, and although I trusted him to listen with empathy to what I want, I was still afraid that I would ask for what I desire, decide together that it didn’t make logical sense, and feel rejected and resentful.
Making collaborative decisions requires that both people really get into each other’s world, understand the other person’s deeper hopes and dreams underneath their desire, and find a win/win solution. This takes stellar communication skills and deep trust. My partner and I have both gotten good at this, but it still feels scary to ask!
It took a lot of courage recently to explain to him why I wanted to attend a coaching retreat in Arizona. I felt intuitively that it would introduce me to amazing like-minded coaches, and I just knew I was meant to be there! But it would cost time and money, and the voice in my head kept saying, “If you don’t ask for what you want, you won’t be rejected. What if he convinces you that you don’t really need to go? It’s easier to pretend I don’t want it.”
Fortunately, I knew how to ask for what I want in an enrolling way, rather than in a demanding way.
Here’s a couple of tips about how to do that. Ask yourself:
1) What will this desire provide for me, for our relationship, and for our life purpose? How will it benefit us as a couple? How will it fit into your lives?
Even if the desire seems selfish on the surface, there’s always a deeper value. For example, if you want a massage, how will being more relaxed make you a better partner? How will it make you more present, emotionally available, and generous to others?
2) If your partner doesn’t agree, ask what their fears or concerns are, and really listen. The flip side of their concerns are their desires too.
For example, my partner was concerned that traveling would take too much time away from my work schedule, so we co-created a solution for me to get work done and make enough money that week, and still attend the conference.
For a longer list of questions to ask to make collaborative decisions, read the blog post on shared values here.
With enough creativity, you can address both of your desires and concerns, and find a win/win solution that works for both of you!
Collaborative decision making is an art, and it helps to start with small decisions, like asking for a massage, and work your way up to big ones, like finances. And sometimes it does take an objective third party to lead you through the process.
If you want more support on applying this to your relationship, then schedule a free strategy session with me, so you can clarify your desires and create a plan to have the relationship of your dreams! I’m here to support you!
Try out these tips and share in the comments, what is your biggest insight or question about collaborative decisions?