What gets measured, gets managed” – Peter Drucker

Transparency is KING. Especially in relationships you want to retain and grow.

One of my mentors once told me that business is like any other relationship where sexes are involved. To master a healthy communication and flow you need to sell. You need to sell yourself and buy what other person is offering. You need to push and pull with your actions to keep it spicy enough – just enough challenge for growth and adventure.

He is damn right.

Relationships where sexes are in play is business on steroids. Mainly because of hundreds of other items to tick. Some of which are utterly mundane like who’s going to take trash that day or do the dishes, others are sex habits, drive, work-life balance etc. This is what I’m talking about when I talk about business.

It’s tango. And to dance it you need to equally mobile, adept dancers. If one slacks – the other will slack too, or otherwise feel frustrated. This is a simple analogy, but given that we dance on so many things frustration can lead to bigger issues and perhaps even breakups.

This is why I tend to treat our relationship with my partner Helena just like any other business process.

It’s exactly why we started a yearly review.

 

Review Process

Don’t be quick to judge. Instead think of the 2, highly driven people with type-A personalities, who want to not only improve, but retain their ever growing relationship.

Quite recently Tim Ferriss on one of his podcasts was describing his high performer friend:

I have a friend in his 60’s… Every quarter, his wife grades him on a 10 point scale in 4 catagories. father, husband, provider, and lover.

What was so fascinating, and what I thought smart about how they did this, is that he doesn’t have to maintain a certain ranking in each category. He has to maintain a certain total. So let’s just say for the sake of argument that it’s a 30 point scale, he might be traveling a lot for business, and not spending a lot of time on the phone or otherwise communicating with his wife for a given quarter, so he might have a very high provider score. 8, 9, 10. A very low husband score, and a low lover score, but he can make up for that, by being a good father. Right, really focusing on the father category.

That would ultimately give him the total number of points necessary to check the I am being, sort of a good version of myself for my wife and my family. So that’s a simple, non-technical way to approach something like that, for instance.

This is a well thought out system… However I wanted to keep it simple and easy to follow, also to quicken the feedback loop so that we both could improve instantly.

Thus I create a simple 6 things breakdown:

  • Sex
  • Communication
  • Work-life balance
  • Leisure time and relaxation
  • Money
  • Domestic things

You probably noticed, that some of these are easy to talk about, others will be awkward as hell. That’s the point, though!

What about points?

Each of us rate one another in a 1:1 scenario from 1 to 10 in on of those categories. If rating is great (anything above 9) partner must provide some positive (reinforcing the good behaviour) feedback. Meanwhile any poor outcomes should be covered with constructive commentary and specific points to work onwards.

To track this easier, I made a spreadsheet:

spreadsheet example

2016 Vytautas’ Relationship Yearly Review Results

If you have been reading to this point, I’m sure you are curious on how well did I performed last year and what I’m going to focus on going forward.

My results, as rated by my partner looked like this:

  • Sex – 10
  • Communication – 8
  • Relax/Leisure Time – 10 
  • Domestic Things – 9
  • Money – 10
  • Work-Life Balance – 10

 

Communication and domestic things came out as something I truly need to work on. Especially the former.

Specifically I should work on:

  1. Managing expectations and being less reactive. I tend to take a lot of things for granted and presume that people have as much knowledge on the subject as I do – this usually backfires. Her suggestions is to stay aware of ego games and ask ‘does she have all the info I have’. If not – inform first.
  2. We have a calendar scheduled weekly cleaning routines: 1 midweek that involves light cleaning and sorting the things out and 2nd deep cleaning on a weekend. The first we approach in rotation, thus it means I would be cleaning the house every second week. This becomes a big issue, since both of us are extremely busy high performers, who need clean and tidy environment to return to. I tend to postpone this as a none important to-do item and so domestic arguments begin. Helena’s suggestion is to make a bigger effort to make sure it is not skipped. Simple as that.

 

This is a top notch advice I can use to improve myself for the next year. Because having second thoughts (thinking slow) is exactly what overcomes our reptile brain survival cravings. Those cravings that lead to bad habits, gluttony, cheating, breakups etc. – anything based on instant gratification.
This will sound ridiculous and crazy to some, but those are the people who tend to face what I consider unnecessary challenges in their lives. They focus on dealing with illnesses and shortcomings rather than focusing on prevention.

As a coach striving to perform my best in every scene of my life I feel personal and relationship habits have to be taken care of first. This is by far one of the most important key items that impacts everything else in your life. In the end who wants to live being stressed, frustrated and fearful of what could happen to their relationship in the long run.

I don’t. I’d rather stress and focus full stream of energy to achieve more. Knowing that my partner in crime is supportive of my constant type A overdrive’s, and is happy with that, makes everything in life 10x easier.

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