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How to Support Your Partner, and They Can Support You, When Going For Your Dreams.

Are you striving for something you want, making a change, building a business, or going for something big, and it feels like your partner, spouse, friend or significant other just doesn't get it.  

They don't see the vision you have for yourself or the big obstacles that stand in the way.  You feel like it's already a challenging road, and if only you had more support, you'd feel more at ease, relieved and unstoppable. 

But, here's the hard truth.  

Maybe they really don't "get it," like you do.  No one will be as passionate about your goals, your vision and your dreams as you.   

Remember that your goals and dreams are YOURS, and belong to no one else. But, the good news is you CAN be more supportive of each other, and that's totally possible.

I'm living proof.  

I'm sharing some of my best advice on this topic, having been with my husband since 2006, through business startups, kids, demanding jobs, major life changes and trial and error.  I know what it feels like to be stuck, and I've also asked my husband, Jake Fillmore, to contribute his advice and perspective. 

#1 Don't ask for permission, ask for support.

If something means something to you, it's fulfilling and you really want to go for it, you don't have to ask for permission, instead ask for their support.  Weigh the pros and cons, and openly communicate why it's important and what it means to you.  See how you can make it work.

#2 Dreams and goals change. 

Think about it.  The life you have right now, or maybe something you've attained, or accomplished, just a few years back was once a dream, right? 

Do you still have the same goal as you did back then? Maybe you've already reached it, and you're moving on to something else. Or, maybe you got there, and it wasn't what you expected, so you pivot, and try something else.

#3 Most couples don't talk about their goals and dreams enough. 

Let alone how they can better support each other in reaching them, especially as we change and evolve. When was the last time you asked your spouse, friend or partner what their dreams were? If it's been a while, maybe it's a good time to talk about it. 

#4 Plan for it, and share a calendar.

I've found immense value in having a shared google calendar with my spouse. We both know what's going on in each other's lives.  We add important events, meetings, family commitments etc. to the shared calendar and make notes about what we need, and who is doing what.  This gets us both on the same page, reducing miscommunication, and we both see what we can fit in, and what needs to go. 

 #5 You must communicate, there's no way around it.

When you say, "I'd like more support," what does that even mean? Do you need someone to cheer you on? Someone to help more around the house or with kids? Financial support? Someone to stand by your side and help you get past the discouragement, or do you need someone to hold back their opinion, and listen instead?

These are all different ways to feel supported, but you must communicate HOW exactly you need support, and get very specific. 

Here's the key.  If you get it, that's amazing! If you don't, be patient, give it time, and remember that having more support from your partner feels incredible, but if you're not getting what you need, meanwhile you can build your own support system too.  

#6 Who else can support me? 

Your partner already has things on their plate, so look for ways to lighten the load for both of you, and consider creating your own support system.  Do I need a friend, a group, an expert, a community, or support online? 

If you don't have a partner or significant other, you can still feel supported and empowered.  You need to reach out to others.  

Would it be helpful to hire someone to help me with this goal or dream? 

Maybe that's help around the house or yard, or freeing up some of your time. Delegate to others, or get an assistant, hire a mentor and look for ways to find supportive people around you.

#7 Keep perspective. 

Ask, what are we trying to accomplish individually? What are we working towards together, and how does this affect our family or relationship?  Everything has an ebb and flow.  A season, if you will.  What season are you in, and what are you needing to focus on now? 

Below are my husband, Jake's tips:

Support truly begets support, but in order to be supported, you must be willing to support the other, and it all starts, when you do!

#8 Ask, Don't Assume 

Ask your spouse, if she/he wants you to listen or to provide feedback.  The expectation must be clear on each goal or dream.  Please never assume that your partner or spouse knows what you expect of them, regardless; it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together.  We might intuit some things, but we don’t intuit everything. 

There's a beautiful symbiosis created between the two, when we truly listen to and support one another.  From my side, when my spouse speaks about needing support, usually a very specific type, and I follow through, I feel and notice that my spouse wants to support me too. 

This is the symbiosis that I'm speaking of.  The beauty is that you can begin to see it, but more importantly, you begin to feel it.  And beware, if you're in it to win it, when you start feeling it, it's addictive and will drive you to support one another even more.

#9 Follow through and listen, listen, listen.

If feedback is wanted, give thoughtful feedback.  If your spouse brings up the same dream over and over, and is stuck on something, then ask if you can provide some insight from your side.  Listen and follow-through. 

#10 Create shared goals and dreams.

Maybe we both have the dream of losing 20 lbs, so let's support each other in this.  Shared dreams can be done together or start at different times, meaning one spouse starts on a certain date, and maybe later, the other spouse sees the benefits of their spouse’s dream/goal and wants to incorporate the same into their own life as well.

#11 Hold each other accountable. 

Check in and follow up with your spouse/partner.  Ask them how they're doing?  What can I improve on?  Ask them if they have changed focus.  See where they're at.

Some other ideas to support each other. 

  • Watch, love, support and play with the kids, if you have them.
  • Clean your house, wash the dishes, do extra chores, fold laundry.
  • Give your spouse/partner time to themselves.
  • Time to reenergize.  Give it to your partner, and yourself, when needed. 
  • Prioritize being well-rested, it benefits both of you. 
  • Give a back rub, neck rub, foot rub any rub without expecting anything in return.
  • Make breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Leave notes of encouragement and love, texts, voicemails, actual notes.
  • Follow through on the tasks you’ve been asked.  Don’t complain about them. Do them.
  • Get into the outdoors, alone or with friends and family, to balance. 
  • Bring them their favorite meal/treat.
  • Ask honestly, knowing that you’ll be asked to do something, then do it with a smile.  A BIG ONE!!!
  • Show gratitude for the things they do for you. 
  • Let them know they don’t go unnoticed.

#12 Free yourself up. Move on

Maybe your spouse/partner has lost a lot of energy towards a certain goal, or has put it on hold. Have the crucial conversation with them to see what's going on.  Evaluate, and sometimes it’s best to drop a goal, or maybe temporarily put it on hold, or maybe forever, in pursuit of other things that mean more to you.  When you do, you drop the mental energy you're putting into it as well.

That goal can come back later, or never, but it doesn't get to decide if you're a failure or a success. So, refocus, assign an action to it, make it achievable, or put it away and move on to the next goal that brings you joy. 

#13 Honor their effort,  praise it and let them know that you see them, showing up for their dream, every single day.

These are all powerful ways to support your partner, and they can support you, when going for your dreams. 

What's something that you do, or you would like to feel more supported?  I'd love to hear from you.  

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