I think about the difference between maintenance and making the property “better.” Occasionally we add something new or improve the property in some way. This year I added some lovely flower boxes in all the windows. One year we installed a larger hot water heater so we stopped running out of hot water. Sometimes we don’t do anything to make the property better–like the year we went on sabbatical and didn’t do all the little projects we usually are do to make our home feel good.
But aren’t most of the tasks maintenance, really? If we spend a year without doing any big projects even if I continue fixing or improving routine things, then the paint will be a year older, things will be a little more worn. No big projects means the house looks older and older, it just doesn’t stay the same.
A few years ago, when I was taking the courses for Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC), I noticed that my expectations for my marriage were going up. I was studying relationship and learning how to coach both families and teams andI noticed that my spouse wasn’t quite measuring up to my ideals of the perfect marriage. I wanted more. I was experiencing a deeper level of intimacy in my professional relationships and I was longing for that intimacy and intensity in all of my relationships, including my marriage. I tried to talk about it but didn’t get back the deep and reflective conversation I thought I needed. We argued about who did what and and did we “do enough” for each other and for our family.
In retrospect, all that longing wasn’t great for my relationship. Asking for my partner to give me more, didn’t make our relationship better. However, the desire to reduce all that conflict kept us in dialogue and helped us to change our marriage. Instead of asking for more of each other, the phrase that we laugh about repeatedly is, “If you aren’t happy in your marriage, lower your expectations!”
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin
My clients’ are like many business owners. They are excited about the service or product they deliver. They dream of being able to deliver that product or service all the time. They become nervous when they don’t have the customers they were hoping for and then they become scared as they realize their biggest problem is sales and marketing. How will they drive revenue so they can create the business they have been dreaming of? They experience real fear, real pain, and a complete lack of knowledge about what they should be doing next. Sometimes they talk to friends who are successful, sometimes they read a book, sometimes they hire a coach. Sometimes these are effective, but the current statistics on business failures (the small business association reports over 50% fail in the first 5 years) show that putting an effective and profitable business together is challenging work.