The Buddy System – How to Build a Relationship that Enriches Your Life
Western culture values independence. The U.S.A. was founded on the desire to become independent, and it’s celebrated annually. So it’s not surprising that a common attitude is that we don’t want anyone to tell us what to do. We want to “be our own boss”, to “go it alone”, to “do it ourselves”. Many don’t realize that this mindset diminishes your chances for outstanding success, and it certainly ignores the remarkable advantages of using the buddy system.
Being extremely independent may sound appealing but it can result in control issues, inability to let go, difficulty in delegating, distrust, or stifling creativity and productivity. On a continuum where independence and dependence are the extremes, interdependence is often the more realistic and balanced stance. When you open up to creating an awesome support network, you’ll finally feel free to blossom into the person you’re meant to be.
Many look to family for this kind of support. However, even if you’re lucky enough to have a supportive family, they may not understand the new direction you take in your life. So really it’s up to you to build a network that fully nurtures your potential. Whether you consciously reach out to an accountability partner in the workplace or take advantage of the buddy system in a personal endeavor like weight loss, you spark a combination of competition, accountability and support that often ensures outstanding success.
How the buddy system helps you build the life you want…
What does a good buddy do? A good buddy listens to your plans for change and helps you fine-tune them. You buddy doesn’t “take over” but supports you as you control your goals. Your buddy encourages you and helps you connect to your strengths and original intention. Your buddy praises you as you achieve milestones towards your goal. (As you read this, are there one or two persons coming to mind? Excellent! These are your potential buddies.)
Remember that a good buddy system is not all about what you can get out of it. To have a good buddy, you must be a good buddy! This is a reciprocal relationship. A good buddy openly welcomes your support in the same manner, maintaining equality of power in the relationship. The key is persistent, non-judgmental, and kind support that enables both of you to improve your lives.
Five ways to make the buddy system work for you…
It’s important to note that you only ask someone to buddy with you if you truly need support in achieving a goal. It’s not just a social event. You really want to accomplish something worthwhile, and you can’t do it alone. That being said, here are some tips that keep the buddy system working well…
- Write down your big goal and action steps. This gets your thoughts outlined so you can clearly communicate them to your buddy. She needs to know what you expect from her. Make sure you include your reason(s) why this goal is important to you, your schedule for accomplishing each step, and potential roadblocks that might get in the way of your progress.
- Choose a buddy with similar goals. If you need support weekly, but your buddy needs support daily, the relationship will be off balance and won’t be sustainable.
3. Put a limit to the commitment. Deadlines create greater productivity by keeping the momentum going and motivation high. Plus it’s good to remember your buddy has limited time and resources to spend with you. She will be more likely to partner with you, if she knows you’re not asking for a huge commitment.
4. Set benchmarks for each time you meet. Progress must be measurable. Losing two pounds in a week, writing 50 pages in a month, or making three business calls per day are measurable by quantity within a specified time frame. Be sure to create realistic goals that keep you moving toward your ultimate accomplishment.
- Keep your commitment consistently. Whether you meet in person, check in via phone call or send emails, consistency is the key to success. Make sure it’s often enough to be helpful, but not so often as to become burdensome. Pick a specific day and time that’s convenient for both of you. Take turns making the calls. To respect the time limit for each call, have a specific list of questions that enables you to gauge your progress. Also, have a contingency for times when you need extra support. And some people find it motivating to have a “penalty” for missing a meeting.
While you should take your partnership seriously, don’t forget that the aim of a good buddy system is to make goal achievement a lighthearted experience. And in the process you may forge a friendship that lasts a lifetime. If you’re ready to supercharge your productivity by partnering with us, come to our FREE talk – Choose Life Enhancing Beliefs – on August 25th, 6:30pm, at Community Counseling Center, 600 Siskiyou, Ashland, Oregon.
Tags: The Buddy System