The sixth level of the Sound Relationship House is Make Life Dreams Come True. Dr. Gottman found that couples that support each other’s personal aspirations and goals create shared meaning in their relationship, further strengthening their bond. This support can be anything from a physical relocation to emotional encouragement to financial backing. Interestingly, dreams are often not just “goals,” but also represent a step in personal growth and self-discovery.
I’ve renamed this level Facilitate Career Advancement in the Sound Relationship Workplace. Similar to the relationship between intimate partners, colleagues who both know and support one another’s career aspirations make life dreams come true in the realm of professional success.
Do you know the professional aspirations of your colleagues? What are their career goals? What drives them to succeed? Do they know this information about you? Understanding and supporting each other’s professional goals is key for both personal and organizational advancement.
To facilitate your own career advancement, first identify your professional skills, knowledge, and abilities – it is critical to answer the key question of”Who Am I?” The following prompts will allow you to embark upon deep and meaningful explorations of yourself while strengthening your relationships with colleagues.
MY TRIUMPHS AND STRIVINGS
1. What are some of the proudest moments of your career? What kinds of challenges have you overcome?
2. How have these successes shaped your life and changed the way in which you view yourself, your goals, and your dreams?
MY DISAPPOINTMENTS AND FAILURES
1. What professional experiences have you had in which you have felt disappointment and self-doubt?
2. How do you think that these experiences have affected your relationships with co-workers? What do you want your colleagues to understand about you and your past failures?
MY MISSION AND LEGACY
1. What do you feel is the purpose of your career? What do you want to accomplish?
2. What kind of a legacy do you want to leave behind when you are gone?
Use self-assessment, look at performance reviews, and request feedback from managers to help answer these questions. Communicating how you want to contribute and be viewed in the organization is all part of your personal “brand identity.” You will create more opportunities for yourself and be perceived as a “star performer” when you actively market your “brand” with key decision makers. According to Robert Kelley, initiative is the single most important core performance factor in the workplace and separates the “average performers” from the “star performers.” Taking initiative is both results-driven and action oriented. It’s not only critical on performance reviews and resumes, but also in building relationships with your colleagues. When you are clear about what you want to do and why you want to do it, you are taking ownership of your career.
People with strong work relationships also actively and repeatedly take an interest in learning about their co-workers talents, and connect them to colleagues who could benefit from their expertise. Indeed, professional networks are the engine behind career advancement. It’s often through networking that people land their dream jobs – doing those things that they both excel at and enjoy! Assisting in the career advancement of your colleague shows your support for their life dreams – an important practice for any successful workplace relationship.