“I just want to write a book.” I moaned to my boyfriend.
He listened to my constant lament for the first few months that we dated.
One evening when I brought it up again after a glass of wine he finally said something.
“Why don’t you just start small?”
I rattled off some excuses about my day and how I didn’t know what I would write about.
Finally, he just stated the obvious.
“If you don’t start somewhere you’re never going to do it… no one sits down their first time and writes an entire novel. You need to start small.”
His words resonated with me and slowly but surely I began writing.
That was over two years ago and I honestly don’t know if I would have taken the plunge without his encouragement.
I have learned that we have more influence on our partners than we think and our support can be monumental in helping them achieve their dreams.
Here is how you can help your partner in a constructive way without stepping on any toes.
#1. Help them construct a realistic plan
The reason that I hadn’t started writing wasn’t due to a lack of desire. It was because I had made my first goal to write an entire book.
It was so lofty of a goal that I didn’t do anything to start it because it felt like an overwhelming burden looming over my head.
My partner called out the fact that I needed to start small and suggested that I start writing just fifteen minutes a day.
I took his advice and those fifteen minutes evolved into thirty minutes, an hour, then two.
The more I wrote the more I wanted to do it and I realized that it was because my partner had helped me tackle it in a reasonable way.
#2. Don’t try to control them
If my partner had constantly demanded that I write in my spare time I wouldn’t have done anything.
Instead, I would have begun resenting him and also wondering why he needed to control what I was doing.
Every step of my journey has been met with encouragement, support, and the belief he has that I can achieve my goals.
In the past, I have had boyfriends try to control my decisions when it came to personal and professional outcomes.
It always backfired.
#3. Ask if they actually want your help
Sometimes I will express frustration about a situation and I just want to vent.
Thinking he is helping, my partner will offer a solution. It just makes me angrier because I just want him to listen.
However, there are other times I truly want my partner’s help but may not communicate as well as I should.
Now he will ask me if I want for his help and 99% of the time I will say yes, but because he is asking, it gives me a choice.
It’s great to get help but psychologically, most of us still want to make the decision of whether we want to accept or not.
#4. Remind them that success doesn’t happen without failure
I don’t think you are going to find one person that has tried something for the first time and succeeded at it.
In the past, my fear of failure prevented me from tackling various potential promotions and creative goals.
One day I started rattling off all the reasons why I was scared to pursue my creative outlet.
Nothing happens when we sit around in fear.
My partner reminded me that I could sit around fearing failure all day or I could just take a chance and actually try.
I am grateful every single day to be with someone that constantly supports me, while at the same time, pushes me to be the best version that I can possibly be.
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