My husband and I were staring down a few intense months of traveling and kid hand-offs like ships passing in the night with little time to connect or talk. We feared we’d be snippy with each other from the stress and were not looking forward to spending months doing THAT.
Instead of leaving those months to chance, hoping for the best, and gritting our teeth and powering through it (which we've all done many, many times), we decided to design our alliance.
A designed alliance is my #1 favorite relationship tool because it’s simple and effective and contributes to the Principle of Escalating Positivity. A designed alliance enables you to be conscious about your relationships and clear about what you need and want in a given situation.
Here is when you use it:
- Always. (Just kidding. And not really).
- Your in-laws come to visit.
- You are starting a new project team at work.
- You are hosting a party.
- You are going on vacation.
- With your boss, your direct reports and your colleagues.
- Chores, roles, and responsibilities at work and at home.
Create a designed alliance any time you want to bring consciousness, creativity, and connection to an event or experience.
Here are the simple steps to creating a designed alliance (then I’ll give some examples below):
1. Set a time to design your alliance.
2. Name the topic, event or experience.
3. Discuss the following topics:
- Your best hope for the event.
- Your worst fear for the event.
- How do you want it to feel between you during the alliance?
- How do you want to be with each other when one of you forgets or messes up or things go wrong?
- What requests do you have of each other? What agreements need to be made?
- What can the other person count on from you?
4. Appreciate the other person (for their creativity, clarity, willingness, honesty).
Some designed alliances are extra simple and don’t use all the steps:
Example: A friend calls on the phone and you have 2 minutes to talk. Instead of rushing, making yourself late, and feeling bad that you couldn’t give your friend enough time, say “I have 2 minutes to talk, what do you need right now” or “How can I best help you?” You’ve just designed an alliance and brought clarity to your relationship for those 2 minutes.
Example: Some designed alliances are more involved. My husband and I talked for an hour and went through each step of the process consciously. We designed that we wanted things to feel easy and flowing during those intense months. We would use texting as a way to connect when we were apart, and we’d be honest if we were starting to feel disconnected or frustrated. Those few months went by beautifully and easily.
So, this holiday season as things ramp up at work and at home, take some time to design alliances to bring clarity and intention to your relationships. You'll be contributing to the Principle of Escalating Positivity!
And it will make everything so much easier for you!
I hope this helps.