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In the fast-paced world we live in, the lines between our personal and professional lives are often blurred. Many couples find themselves working together, either as business partners or within the same organization. While this arrangement can be incredibly rewarding, it also comes with its unique set of challenges, not least of which is dealing with differences of opinion and the occasional disagreement. In these situations, it is vital to draw inspiration from the timeless story of the two monks and understand the power of letting go.

The Story of Two Monks

In Eckhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth,” there is a story of two monks walking along a road. When they come across a woman who needs help crossing a river, one of the monks selflessly carries her across. The other monk, however, is troubled by this, as it seems to go against their monastic vows. Hours later, he confronts his fellow monk, questioning his decision.

The wise monk responds with a simple truth: “I put her down on the other side of the river; you are still carrying her.” This story shows us that holding onto grudges and resentments can weigh us down and prevent us from fully embracing the present moment. In a work-life partnership, this lesson is invaluable and one to remember often.

The Power of Letting Go

In a work-life partnership, it’s only natural that differences of opinion and disagreements will arise. These conflicts can fester and, if left unresolved, poison the harmony both at home and in the workplace. Just like the second monk in the story, if we cling to these issues, they can accumulate and overshadow the positive aspects of the relationship.

So, how can couples working together apply the lesson of letting go in their daily lives?

Communication is Key

One of the unique challenges of a family business is maintaining a healthy balance between work and personal life. It’s essential to set boundaries to ensure that the pressures of the business do not overshadow family time and personal well-being.  Definitely do not let the bedroom become the boardroom, sorting out problems when you should be concentrating on yourselves.  This balance is crucial not just for the success of the business, but for the health of the family unit as a whole.

Choose Your Battles

Not every disagreement requires a drawn-out debate. Recognise that some issues are not worth the emotional toll they may take. Focus on the bigger picture and ask yourself if the matter at hand is worth the potential damage to your relationship.

Practice Forgiveness

Learning to forgive and let go is a powerful tool in maintaining a healthy work-life partnership. Holding onto grievances only perpetuates negativity, which in turn leads to resentment, contempt and then stonewalling. By forgiving and moving forward, you free yourselves from the burden of resentment.

Set Boundaries

Clearly defined roles and boundaries (staying in your lanes) can help prevent conflicts from arising in the first place. When both partners understand their responsibilities and limitations, there is less room for misunderstandings and power struggles.

Embrace the Present Moment

The story of the two monks reminds us to live in the present moment. Dwelling on past disagreements or projecting future conflicts can hinder your ability to enjoy the unique journey you’re sharing. Cherish the moments of unity and togetherness, and let go of the baggage that may weigh you down.

By practising open communication, forgiveness, and a willingness to let go, you can ensure that these issues do not fester and overshadow the beauty of your work-life partnership. Embrace the present moment and choose to put down the burdens of the past so that you can journey forward together with light hearts and a shared purpose.

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