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The Anti Meta Partnership Principle
Some people collect coins or salt & pepper shakers. Well, I’m a bit of a language nerd. I collect antimetaboles.
Antimetabole is the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed order.
You've likely read or heard antimetabole used before:
During his inauguration, President John Kennedy shared what might be the most famous American use of antimetabole: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
During WWII, Winston Churchill told the British people “This is not the end. It is not event the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Malcom X: "We didn't land on Plymouth rock. Plymouth rock landed on us."
Antimetabole is like the reversible sweatshirt of language. And just like a great reversible sweathshirt, great antimetaboles are hard to find.
Here are some gems of life advice for you in the form of antimetabole:
Plan your work and then work your plan.
Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. (President John Kennedy)
On advice & fundraising
If you want advice, ask for money. If you want money, ask for advice.
On getting started
You don't have to be great to start but you have to start to be great. (Zig Ziglar)
On reading & writing
If you are overthinking, write. If you are underthinking, read.
It is the duty of a student to get everything out of a teacher, and the duty of a teacher to get everything out of a student.
The meaning of life is to give life a meaning. (Viktor E. Frankl)
One partnership principle (antimetabole) to live by
One of my favorite antimetaboles is also a partnership principle I live by: "if you want value from partners you need to create value for partners"
This principle is similar to best-selling author Stephen Covey's concept of an emotional bank account. In the Seven Habits of Highly-Effective People, Covey writes:
“By proactively doing things that build trust in a relationship, one makes ‘deposits.’ Conversely, by reactively doing things that decrease trust, one makes ‘withdrawals.’ The current ‘balance’ in the emotional bank account, will determine how well two people can communicate and problem-solve together.”
The concept of “trust deposits and withdrawals” is central to how I build partnership and relationships. In short, if you want something from someone else you need to make deposits into the relationship first before you make withdrawals.
In business, that might mean investing financially. But money isn’t the only way to invest in a partnership. Creating value for partners can come in non-financial forms too - training their team, generating new business leads for them, co-marketing, etc. These kinds of investments are key to building trust. And they are typically pre-requisites to getting what you want.
The next time you find yourself stuck with a partner that you are trying to motivate, ask yourself: have I made more withdrawals than deposits into the bank account of this partnership?
Remember, if you want value from partners you need to create value for partners.