My boyfriend and I are great at communicating. By that I mean we are open to communication and we both know the importance of it. We are able to stop each other when we realize our communication is not clear and that the other is misunderstanding what we are trying to convey. Our relationship is new, and we both realize that if we want it to grow we have to be able to talk to each other. We are also both very strong willed, powerful, independent, confident in our abilities… and a bit set in our ways. We each know how to get things done, and we know the way that works for us.
We have a lot in common when it comes to our personalities, but our lifestyles are a bit different. He loves the outdoors, nature and camping. I haven’t been camping in over 20 years, and I convinced myself that I didn’t enjoy it. Since I’m starting a new chapter in my life and it has been so long since I tried it, I am open to finding out if maybe now I do. I’ve changed so much in the past 20 years, it only makes sense that my likes have changed too.
This weekend we went camping for the first time together. Since this is his world, I left all of the decisions up to him… but I did request one thing. I wanted baked potatoes in the campfire. As we were preparing dinner the first night, he got ready to cook the potatoes on one of his grills. He is a great cook and he is the one with all of the camping experience, and I didn’t want to tell him that I was bummed that we were not going to put them in the camp fire. I tried to suggest that maybe we could cook them in the fire, but he already had his vision of how dinner was going to come together and so he wanted to cook them they way he had planned.
This is when I realized the importance of communicating your vision. You see, when I was a young girl and went camping with my parents, the ONE thing I really remembered was that we wrapped potatoes in foil and put them in the campfire. At the time I thought that was so clever, and I have always loved potatoes. I have such a vivid memory of those potatoes! I honestly don’t even remember how they tasted, but they must have been good because when I think of campfires I always want to wrap potatoes in foil and put them in. I even remember my mom cooking them like that in our fireplace at home because I begged her for them! Now, had I communicated this vision to my boyfriend he would have known that I wasn’t just requesting baked potatoes… I really wanted them in the fire!!
As I was sulking to myself about the fact that I wasn’t going to get my campfire potatoes, my boyfriend sensed that something was wrong and he asked me. When I told him that my vision was of us cooking them in the fire, he totally changed his plans so that I could have my campfire potatoes, and he asked me how long we should put them in the fire. I told him that google said 30 minutes to 1 hour. We put the potatoes in the fire, and he revised his plans for the steak so it would all be done at the same time. As it turned out… 1 hour was WAY TOO LONG. In the end, we ended up with no potatoes, because the blackened blobs we removed from the fire were totally inedible!
Had I communicated my vision in the very beginning, I would have known that he had never cooked potatoes in a camp fire, we could have done more research to find out how long to cook them, and we would have had the potatoes of my vision. Instead, we had a very delicious steak with some corn… and I learned the importance of clearly communicating my vision!
When people understand your vision, they can better understand how they can support you. It is your job to paint the picture of the vision.