Having recently entered the world of blogging, I asked people for topics they’d like me to write about, and this one was suggested. So here we go.
Sorry, but like all good part-time therapists, I’m going to flip it right back to you, dear reader, because I believe that the answers always lie within ourselves.
Your perfect anything is going to be the one that meets your needs, so you have to start there. What ARE your needs?
Oh Romeo … What kind of Duo?
Allow me to harp on one of my stock phrases/beliefs- everything comes back to love. So, you may be reading this because you are interested in a musical duo and you know that I come from the weird and wonderful world of performing music. HOWEVER, this can also be applied to finding other partnerships; you may be looking for a love, a business partner, a best friend, the right mentor, teacher, collaborator or manager, who can bring out the best in you. Whatever you seek, every answer starts with the right questions, so let’s explore a few to get you started.
1. What kind of dynamic do you want?
It’s time to get brutally honest with ourselves here. Do you want to be in a collaborative relationship, where there is an equal say, or, are you looking to be the boss? Musically, do you want to call the shots, or are you more open to discussion? Do you want your mentor/coach to check in on you every day, or are you fine with monthly catch up. Whatever you want, own it, and state it from the outset, if you can. Dig deep and ask yourself how do I really want this to work?
Do everyone a favour – don’t pull a bait and switch. Don’t act as though you want collaboration and then resent it, or avoid it. It is just as valid to have a fifty-fifty arrangement, as it is to say, I’m the one the monkey listens to, your job is to crank the organ. (Short and Sweet Productions in no way condones animal exploitation. The monkey here is purely ficticious).
How can you possibly create a relationship if you don’t start off with an honest intent? Better to state ‘I want you to accompany me’, than not, surely? And don’t judge yourself for it, whatever it is that you want, it’s fine, just be honest.
2. How will you work?
Who will contribute what? Do you want to divide and conquer – ie you choose the songs, I’ll sew the sequins on the costumes. My husband does school pick up because I hate driving. (See: things Mel is quite terrible at, bt still has to do). I in turn make sure everyone gets enough sleep by going to bed early and yelling for people to be quiet. Harmony, unison, that’s how we work.
Do you have a strategy for times when you can’t agree? What are the compromises, and are they sustainable?
Sometimes, equality in decision-making is what makes a partnership work. Other times, one clear decision-maker works best. Which is it that you want – do you want the other person to make the decisions, or is that where you excel? Writers may prefer an editor to go through their work, or they may want complete creative control. Think about it – how do you want your partnership to work?
3. What is the end goal?
Whether we’re talking about a musical duo, a romantic partnership, or something else, there is always room for a little bit of critical goal examination. Sure, it’s not necessarily a romantic concept … but then again it can depend on the setting and what everyone’s wearing… but I digress. Let’s go for the musical duo as an example. Where do you want gigs? What style of music do you want to play? What does success look like to you – playing a sold-out show at the Festival Centre, or a weekend road trip to the Moonta Bay Hotel with friends and family in attendance? We cannot just assume that our goals, aspirations and hopes are the same – have these goals as clear in your mind as possible, before you begin the search, and you will you attract what you want, in business, love and music.
4. What are the non-negotiables?
In a romantic partnership these can be wide, wild and weird. It really is best to find clarity in your own mind before you jump in… but hey, if you don’t, you can always write a cabaret show about it… (see: Crowded Blouse, Lil Miss Mel). After all, life is learning, and mistakes are inevitable. You start a new job working for a manager who is driven, energetic, a force to be reckoned with. This meets your goals of progress/success, or so you think. Then you realise that ‘force’ also comes out in public dressing-downs in business meetings. You realise a new non-negotiable for yourself … you’ve lived, you’ve learned, add it to the list.
Musically, it bears examination also. Do you 100% draw the line at disco, or are you willing to trade one “Rivers of Babylon” for one “Hotel California”? Don’t get me started….
5. Time, time, time, see what’s become of me…
Some of our biggest questions and concerns can often come down to time. How long will this take? What else am I attempting to do with my time? Again, time to explore how time really affects your situation? Are there genuine time constraints or are they comprised of expectations for how things ‘should’ be?
Is there a time-sensitive matter? Is there a deadline? A date? An event? Or are the questions of time more general? ‘I was sure that by this age blah blah’, or ‘I’ve been working at this for a long time, it should have come together by now”…
If any of these feel familiar, try to get really clear about your ideas around time.
How long does it take to create the perfect duo?
How long do you want to ‘invest’ before you see a ‘return’? Are you interested in the process or the outcome?
So, I just gave you a whole heap of questions (Thanks Mel), because I honestly believe that the clearer we become on our needs, the more likely we are to succeed in meeting them. Now, answer the questions, honestly and accept your own truth, whatever it is, and go chase the true songs of your heart, in partnership, music, work or anything else that is worthy of your love.
Photo credit: Alice Healy
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