Updated: Sep 6
Recently, when I was being interviewed for an article, I discussed the importance of compatibility. I said compatibility was a value I now cherish with a lot of things: work, and relationships.
When I was younger, I went with the flow with both work and relationships, and I wasn't as intentional as I am now today. Those experiences provided me with a lot of lessons, however, one of the biggest takeaways is that compatibility in your choice of career, your relationships, and the people you work with are super important.
Of course, some situations are out of your control and influence (like with family and colleagues), however, if you can, choose compatibility. Not only does it feel better, but it can also be more productive. How much wasted time and energy is there when there is tension, dissatisfaction, and miscommunication? I believe compatibility is critical for me because I also value peace.
Even when things are out of your control, try to better the situation by creating healthy boundaries or reassess whether to continue the job or relationship. No career or relationship should cost you your physical and mental health.
Compatibility usually equates to longevity as well, you're more likely to stick with something or someone if it's a good fit. One of the components for a habit to repeat itself is if it's satisfying. This should seem evident but, unfortunately, for some people it's not.
One of the reasons for this is how people traditionally define success. Liz Fosslien, author, and artist, succinctly captures this in a diagram she made and suggests a better alternative:
It took me some time, however, I eventually redefined what success was for me, and the second pie sums it up well.
If you want to be more intentional about who and what you're compatible with, I recommend creating dating/relationship criteria and/or a career one (whatever is relevant to your situation).
Draw up a list of your needs and values in a relationship or career and determine which ones are negotiable and non-negotiable. I wouldn't recommend a long list as that might be too high to meet in any situation. Years ago, my dating criteria was compromised of ten character traits I was looking for in an ideal partner e.g., empathetic, accountable, communicative, etc. I'm super grateful to say that I met and married someone who met all those characteristics.
The idea behind all this is what you focus on grows. You can also consciously weed out people and things that are not a fit for you. Dating/relationship or career criteria are not intended to promote intolerance and rigidity (hence negotiables), it's to help you be more intentional with what you feel aligned with. That's why I have a Get Acquainted Call with all prospective clients, it's so we can both figure out if we want to work together.
Yes, sometimes someone or somethings come into your life that are awesome and was not even considered. That's great too. I recall someone setting an intention and saying at the end, "If not this then something better." Spontaneity can work too, although I still suggest creating some standards with both work and relationships.
As much as I value compatibility, I also believe there is room for differences. Valuing compatibility doesn't mean you need to "see eye to eye" on everything or everything is perfect. I believe it means even with each other's differences there is mutual respect and a healthy way to communicate. Differences in your skills and passions are another story.
So, if things are not so satisfying for you, I hope with some of the things discussed here you can have an intentional new year filled with great compatibility. That's my intention at least.
Ps. If you feel you would like more guidance around this, apply here for a Get Acquainted Call to see if I can help.