In 2014, I met my breakthrough bestie. I was working on two significant assignments: an interactive ebook and a music video. I needed a video producer. Josh was assigned the project.
Josh and I had not met. I had my reservations about working with a new producer. We had never met, and the timetables for both projects were aggressive. I wasn’t very excited about being randomly assigned a new producer. After voicing my concerns, I scheduled our first meeting for thirty minutes.
It was a serendipitous arrangement. After the pleasantries were out of the way, I described the timeline and scope of both projects. Quickly, the meeting turned to brainstorming how to improve both projects and created a project plan to meet the deadlines. The meeting lasted over an hour.
From the start, Josh and I “clicked.” (We were lucky.)
Over the course of the projects, I started seeking his input on other projects – graphic design or ask him to proofread content. He began to ask me to review an animation he was working on or his scripts. We even started to discuss larger professional goals, celebrate each other’s success, and discuss strategies for tackling obstacles.
Over time, our relationship grew. There were a few raised eyebrows because we started spending every break together. So we needed a way of defining what we’d become: Josh and I became breakthrough besties.
In business, a breakthrough bestie is better known as an accountability partner.
An accountability partner is different from a mentor. In a mentoring relationship, there are two distinct roles: the “mentor” and the “mentee.” In a successful mentoring relationship, both parties enjoy personal development. At the same time, the benefits to both parties are different and may be fueled by different needs.
The breakthrough bestie partnership is mutually beneficial.
Together, breakthrough bestie holds each other to their commitments.
Breakthrough besties help one another grow, hold each other accountable to meet goals, and offer guidance. They help you take your success to the next level.
Here are three tips that Josh and I have learned while cultivating our breakthrough besties partnership:
Commit to your success… and commit to theirs.
I respect Josh and his creativity. I see my role to support Josh and his success. Because I’m so invested, I am professionally loyal, and it’s important to me not to let him down. I trust that he feels the same and is equally invested in my success.
A real breakthrough bestie partnership means that you’ll be “paying it forward”. You’re now part of a team, and it’s important to know the strengths that you’re bringing to the table.
It’s also a time to think about your greatest areas of growth. If you’re someone who shies away from confrontation, this is a time to practice giving feedback, even if it feels uncomfortable. I remember the first time I told Josh I didn’t like one of his editing choices. I was nervous about giving this feedback because the relationship was new. It turns out, the editing choice was not his favorite too. (The video was called “Women on the Move.” For his opening, he had a woman silhouette running. Yikes. Now, this has become a “running joke” for when we phone it. He admitted that’s what he did after I shared my concerns.)
At the end of the day, your breakthrough bestie is 100% responsible for their success. Your role is an adviser, and you can’t advise when you are not sharing the best of you.
Communicate your needs.
Sometimes you need a person to give you honest feedback. Other times, you need someone just to listen. There are times where we can tell that the other is emotionally wrapped up in their projects. If it’s not been stated already, we’re good at asking, “Do you want me to listen? Or do you want my input?”
One final tip…
Treat your breakthrough bestie connection as a professional relationship first. If you become friends, woohoo… great! Josh and I always saw our commitment to our work and craft as a priority. I now view sharing our work with one another and seeking feedback as part of my work duties to increase my productivity and quality.
And I have to say, we’ve been fortunate. Since that time, we’ve become amazing friends. Our families know each other. In fact, Josh is in a local commercial that follows the local news every night. Every time it comes on, my husband, my daughter, and I always yell, “there’s Josh!”
In short, a breakthrough bestie can be someone you check in with on a regular basis to keep you (and them on track). Best case scenario, it can lead to a life-long friendship that provides support and propels progress towards your goals.