Edited excerpt from the City of Unley Community Team Newsletter (August 2014)
(credit for the original idea goes to Rachel Cooper, aka wise and ever witty GM at the time)
What seems like an eternity ago, my wise and ever witty GM at the time shared with me an absolute pearler of a concept – it’s one I think of and use daily: Bring Your Fifty.
The concept is in 3 parts. Firstly Bring Your 50 is about the nature of healthy sustainable adult relationships – be it personal like partner to partner, sibling to sibling, friend to friend, or professional as colleague to colleague, employer to employee, customer to service provider (and all visa versa). Bring Your 50 also helps prompts our thinking about when to stop investing in a person or situation and knowing when to let it go. Lastly Bring Your 50 is about showing up, stepping up and taking personal responsibility for a brighter future.
Bear with me on this while I explain further. Let’s think about our adult relationships and, for the purposes of this exercise say all relationships have round a value of 100. For these relationships to work effectively, or even at all, it requires both parties to be present commit and invest equally and mutually. Each person needs to independently want that relationship to thrive and succeed. Both need to contribute and be willing and ready do their bit to make it work – which could otherwise be put as requiring both people need to bring their 50.
Relationships tend to sour quickly when there is an imbalance. If one person is consistently carrying or covering for the other ie a continued 70:30 or worse 90:10 split – it gets old fast and it’s not long before a rift appears and things go downhill. Of course there are times in relationships we all do more to support our mates in need, however as a general rule, this cannot be sustained long term.
There are things here I’m sure you can relate to: such as the perception that someone we know or work with may not “do their fair share”; doesn’t take responsibility for their own growth; fault finds and points out problems rather than being a part of the solution. Or it could be someone we know that we endeavour to build a relationship with, only to be shut out or shut down.
So how can we use Bring Your 50 to help us? It’s about:
- Personal authenticity – being who you are, being true to your word, meaning what you say and saying what you mean, matching your audio with your video (talk AND action), being true to your values.
- Being part of the solution or understanding that if you don’t, you forfeit your right to complain (ref Proteus),
- A commitment to showing up, speaking up, being open, getting curious, listening to and considering other points of view, taking the initiative to find out more before criticizing and allocating blame.
- Taking responsibility and owning it: for your actions, your mistakes (which are opportunities to learn), your behaviour and your own growth and development, and your success.
- Willingness and courage to coach and support others to do their part, to step up, be a part of the solution and be all they can be.
- Responding rather than reacting, thinking things through, considering alternatives and options, choosing your attitude and mood.
- Personally investing and doing what it takes to make things better, not just pointing out what’s wrong, but actually doing something about it.
- Consciously choosing to invest your precious time and energy into relationships and tasks that matter – letting go of toxic relationships that may suck your energy, suffocate you with drama, drag you down rather than build you up – if others aren’t prepared to bring their 50, then why would you invest more?
- Understanding that things won’t change or get better unless you are willing to do the work and invest to make it so.
I encourage you to spend time to reflect about how you Bring Your 50. This could be about achieving a target, delivering a project, taking responsibility in sourcing your own development opportunities, sharing ideas and solutions to problems, and being an active, engaged member of your work or other team.
And remember that famous empowerment saying: “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me”.