The Power of the Other

I recently read one of the most encouraging, powerful, and yet, self-evident, books. The Power of the Other by Dr. Henry Cloud is the great reminder that our culture has, yet again, misguided us. Especially here in the United States, we value independence. We celebrate people who appear to succeed on their own. We aren’t, however, told the entire story.
What you know instinctively, though, is that your best and worst seasons in life weren’t entirely about the market or your skills. Your best and worst seasons were also about who was with you. For better or worse, your friends and family were playing a large part in the results of those seasons and whom you were becoming. I know that my greatest accomplishments and challenges overcome have been, and will be, in close relationship with others.
In his book, Dr. Cloud identifies four approaches, or corners, to connection. In order for you to truly succeed in life, we need to intentionally avoid the first three corners and seek out the fourth corner. His four corners are:
  1. Disconnected, No Connection – I see this corner often in men who say, “I can pull myself up by my bootstraps. I’ve got this!” Or, you might be new to a town or job. Instead of seeking true connection, you maintain your independence, further isolating yourself.
  2. The Bad Connection – Because we are all made for connection, you might find yourself connected to a person who makes you feel inferior, guilty, or something is wrong with you.
  3. The Pseudo-Good Connection – Where Corner Two connections leave you feeling bad, Corner Three connections make you feel good. That can’t be a bad thing, can it? You just might find yourself surrounded by people who only tell you what you want to hear. Remember The Emperor’s New Clothes?
  4. True Connection – This is the corner where you want the best for others, and others want the best for you. As Dr. Cloud puts it, Corner Four connections, much like a Navy SEAL parachuting into hostile territory, ask themselves and seek the answers to three questions:
    1. Where am I?
    2. Where is the enemy?
    3. Where is my buddy?

You can recognize these Corners in just about every aspect of life. And, I believe we will do ourselves and our loved ones well to seek out and cultivate true connection with a handful of people…people who will help us arrive at a better destination.

Question: How has a healthy relationship helped you achieve greatness or overcome a challenge?

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