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Lesson 1 – Exercise

Your Task: Listen to this exercise and follow all instructions. You’ll want something to capture your thoughts (journal, text file, etc.)

Share your Stories! If you find anything you really love in this lesson, please note it in the comments section below.

Welcome to Exercise #1 !!!

You will want to have a document or journal in front of you as you listen so you can write down the answers.

We will use a fast writing technique that is designed to leverage your intuition
and assist you in getting to the heart of the matter. You will want to write fast!

Feel free to stop the audio if you want more time, and try to use the time constraints to answer quickly using your intuition vs. your ideas about what the right answer should be. We want the answer that is true for you, whatever that is, not the right answer that you think you should have, or an answer that would sound good to others.

Part 1.

This first exercise is all about you getting clear about where you are in your relationships and where you want to go. What really matters you about relationship, and what’s at stake for you?

To get you in touch with this, we will have you ask and answer questions surrounding The 5 Keys To Creating Thriving Partnerships
1. Reality
2. Reason
3. Responsibility
4. Respect
5. Realization

KEY #1. REALITY: Conscious Partnership
The first key to creating thriving partnerships is Reality – or Conscious Partnership.

What are the real relationships in your life where you want thriving? Which ones make the biggest difference, the ones that have the most impact on their on your real-life?
I will suggest 5 categories, and I want you to choose the top 1 or 3 or -5 in each category — the people who have the most powerful impact on your quality of life
in each of those areas.

ROMANCE – first, in the realm of romance – 10 seconds to write down the name of your romantic intimate partner or partners or would-be partners.

FAMILY – Write down the top 3-5 family members, probably those who get your emotions moving.

FRIENDS – Your top 3-5 friends, the ones that mean the most to you.

WORK – Your top 3-5 work colleagues, the ones that most impact your quality of work life.

COMMUNITIES – The  top 3-5 people in the communities you participate in,
the ones that impact your status, power, and belonging in those communities.

5 – 3 – 1

Now, choose the top 5 people from this list, the ones that have the deepest impact on your quality of life.

Now, choose the top 3. Which are the ones that really make the biggest difference – just choose.

Now, who is #1? Who is the most important person in terms of impacting the quality of your life?

KEY #2: REASON: Intentional Partnership

The second key to creating thriving partnerships is Reason – or Intentional Partnership.

The question to ask and answer about this is, what are the stories are you telling yourself about your relationships? How do you understand what is happening in the partnership?

So choose your #1 relationship and – in 60 seconds – write down the story you would tell someone (if you were really honest) about where the relationship is going.

Is it good, or great or bad or horrible. it is getting better or worse? Imagine talking to an old friend who you could really just lay out the truth of it, how you think about it. What is the story you would tell them.

Next, ask yourself, does this story inspire me to invest my best intelligence and energy into making this relationship thrive? on a scale of 1-10 – how inspiring is your story?

Now, choose your #2 relationship and – in 60 seconds – write down the story you would tell someone (if you were really honest) about where the relationship is going.

Next, ask yourself, does this story inspire me to invest my best intelligence and energy into making this relationship thrive? on a scale of 1-10 – how inspiring is your story?

Now, choose your #3 relationship and – in 60 seconds – write down the story.

On a scale of 1-10 – how inspiring is your story?

KEY #3: RESPONSIBILITY: Authentic Partnership

The third key to creating thriving partnerships is Responsibility or Authentic Partnership

the question I want you to ask and answer for this key is, What do you really want in this partnership? Where do you want it to go? What do you want to avoid? 60 seconds – go.

Now, I am going to ask the same question but have you focus in 3 specific areas,
which I will call love, happiness, and teamwork.

60 seconds. What do you want in terms of love? In terms of friendship, intimacy, depth, meaning?

60 seconds. Now, what do you want in terms of happiness? In terms of pleasure, fun, joy, ecstasy?

60 seconds. Now, what do you want in terms of teamwork? Communication, delegation, effectiveness, synergy?

The more clarity you get about what you want, the easier it will be to make it reality, and the more love, happiness, and teamwork you will experience.

KEY #4: RESPECT: Evolving Partnership

The fourth key to creating thriving partnerships is Respect – or Evolving Partnerships

The question I want you to ask and answer about this key is, how do you negotiate the boundaries and agreements in your relationship? How do you deal with disagreements, dissapointments, and conflict?
60 seconds – go.

Scale of 1-10 how are you doing?

Is it getting better worse?

60 seconds
Who else does this relationship impact? How would improve the relationships improve your other relationships? What’s the ecology and network of people who you impact. 60 seconds.

KEY #5: REALIZATION: Transcendent Partnership

The fifth key to creating thriving partnerships is Realization or Transcendent Partnership.

The question I want you to ask and answer for this key is:

How does this partnership fit into my overall purpose in life? How does this partnership further my personal and spiritual development, and the higher beauty that my life, at its best, it is ultimately in service of? 60 seconds – go.

Now, 60 seconds – if I could choose, how would I want this relationship to impact my personal and spiritual development?

You do get to choose how this fits into your overall purpose in life.

  • You can choose to focus on the most important part of its Reality,
  • Bring your best Reason and tell stories that empower and inspire,
  • Take Responsibility for making authentic love, joy, and teamwork,
  • Demonstrate a deeper Respect for yourself and your partner – to transform conflict into cooperation and synergy,
  • All in service of a more profound Realization of your highest and deepest values.


Each of these 5 keys multiply the effectiveness of the others — the better you do each of them, the better you can do all of them, and the better you can do all of them together, the better you do will each of them individually.

You are on track, you are on path, you are on course, an advanced course to Creating Thriving Partnerships

If you are inspired, I encourage you to listen to the lesson and do the exercise again, to multiply your results! Then, on to the next lesson!

Lesson 5 – Key #1: REALITY: Conscious Relating

In the first 4 sessions, we focused on inspiration, attitude, practice, and methods to get yourself in the game of creating thriving partnership and build momentum towards thriving

We explored first, what does it mean to thrive in a partnership – for you then we gave you the attitude of right right thinking the practice of presuming positive relating and the method of The Synergy Process

In these next 4 sessions, we will take a deeper cut at what it means to have a thriving partnership is so you can get your mind around how relationships actually work and how you can make them work for you.

Practice to Theory

We could say that, in the first 4 sessions, we started off with some practices, and now we want to give you some theory.

We started you off with specific techniques to manage your garden now we want to give you insight into the nature of soil and seed and rain and sun to cultivate thriving relationships, to create thriving relationships to empower you to go beyond paint by numbers, into true artistry in your relationships.

3 of 5 keys

Specifically, we’ll cover the first 3 of the 5 keys to create thriving partnerships
The first key is Reality or Conscious Relating – Becoming conscious of what partnership really is, what is really happening in your partnership.
The second key is Intentional Relating or Reason – clarity How the way we understand and approach partnership impacts how we create it
and the third key is Responsibility – How we honor our Integrity AND the integrity of our partner to create thriving partnerships

These sessions get you clear about what thriving partnership is , how you understand it, and how you honor your values within it.

What does this session offer?

I will now describe what I like to call, “the three spheres of thriving partnerships.”

Over the last decade of teaching this work, this diagram of the three spheres of thriving partnerships tends to be one of my most popular diagrams and ideas

If you have ever felt hopelessly confused by relationships – like you would never really understand how they work this session will give you a diagram, a single image that will help you make sense of just what thriving partnerships are and how you can build it in any area of your life.

The more you understand this diagram and the principles it expresses the more you will recognize the dynamics it describes playing out everywhere in your life and get insights that allow you to create partnership where used to experience conflict.

So let’s get started.

Lesson 6 – Key #2: REASON: Intentional Relating

In this session, you will:

  • Learn how to create intentional partnerships.
  • See how we think about our relationships, and how our thinking invokes out feelings, and how these feelings again affect our thoughts.
  • How partnership is a game played between the ears
  • How when you change the way you think about your partnerships, you change your life
  • Examine how your stories shape your experience, and how to make them work for you in your partnerships.

Some highlights from this lesson:

Our Stories

Our stories tell us what something is.
They interpret facts into understanding.
They make sense of our world.
Stories can be congruent with reality or incongruent

Congruent stories give us power to create thriving – they are empowering stories
Incongruent stories are delusion and thwart our thriving – they are illusory stories

Stories tell us what something means
They project out our understandings into the future
They tell us where we are headed – what trajectory we are on
They create feelings about where we are headed

Stories can project positive or negative future outcomes
Positive stories create inspiring emotions
Negative stories create depressing emotions

Stories create emotions
Our thoughts create our feelings
Our feelings influence the stories we tell

The more, the more.
Fear leads to fearful stories and more fearful emotions
hope leads to hopeful stories and more hopeful emotions
When we use our best reason to tell empowering and inspiring stories – we are telling intentional stories

Our stories are typically unconscious and unintentional
We only experience the effects (understandings, emotions) not the cause – (the interpretations and projections)
Unconsciousness leads to right/wrong thinking, VSR, and resentment/resignation,

Our stories are unintentional
We did not choose them, we inherited them (mimicry and rebellion)
We inherit the understandings and the emotions
We inherit the self-righteousness

To thrive, we must do due diligence on our stories about partnership

Lesson 2 – Moving from right/wrong to right/right

…we thought you might.

Lesson 2 is a powerful exploration of this toxic and destructive pattern, how it affects relationships and how to liberate yourself from this painful dynamic.

We call it the Victim/Self-righteousness dynamic and Right/Wrong thinking.

We explore this dynamic and a few other distinctions that are very likely at play in all of your relationships right now.

In this lesson, you’ll learn:

  • “The one right way”
  • Our individual “rulebooks”
  • Right/Wrong Thinking
  • The victim/self-righteousness dynamic
  • The the basic solution to this problem and Right/Right thinking

Leave a comment below if you would like to discuss lesson two further with Mark.

Lesson 1: Clarity, Commitments, and the 5 Keys to Thriving Partnerships

This course will help you:

  • Resolve challenges suffering in your relationships
  • Deepen experience of love, intimacy, depth
  • Easier, more fun, more functional with friends, family, work
  • Create powerful partnerships to accomplish ambitious goals


2 hours per week for 12 weeks.
Bring your best attention and intention – listen, take notes, do the exercises.

What Does It Mean To Create Thriving Partnerships

Partnership is the whole to which each participant contributes their part. To partner with someone is to work together with them as part of greater whole, we each do our part to make that whole thrive.

Thriving is growth. Thriving is the action of realizing your potential becoming more of what you can be.

Creating has two central meanings:
1. Proactively causing a result in reality through our action.
2. Intentionally imagining new possibilities through our thinking

So, Creating Thriving Partnerships means:

  • to intentionally imagine new possibilities for depth and beauty in service of a whole greater than ourselves, and
  • to proactively do our part to cause those possibilities to become reality in action.

5 KEYS or Dimensions to creating Thriving partnership

The 5 Keys are also the 5 R’s:

  • Conscious Relating – Reality – real-world relationships
  • Intentional Relating – Reason – understanding and skill
  • Authentic Relating – Responsibility – to honor your integrity, Honoring I and YOU and US
  • Evolving Relating – Respect – Synergy DEAR process — conflict to cooperation, transcendent
  • Intimate Relating – Realization – love intimacy and depth

Lesson 3 – Presuming Positive Intention

In this lesson, we’ll further unpack Right/Right thinking and learn what this way of being looks and feels like with another person.

You’ll also get the single most practical tool for creating thriving partnerships, what we like to call Presuming Positive Intention.

Presuming Positive Intention

  1. Whenever we are uncertain about someones motive or intention, we presume that their intention is positive.
  2. Communicate to them that you are presuming positive intention.

Assume any upset is based on a misunderstanding not an attempt to hurt. Commit to clear up this misunderstanding ASAC(As Soon As is Convenient.)

When it comes down to it, we just don’t know why anyone else does anything. Our discomfort with not knowing has us project all kinds of reasons and motives onto others when we experience unpleasant feelings.

When we react self-righteously to presumed negative intention, we create all sorts of problems in relationships. Presuming negative intention, like most propel do most of the time, is a sure trigger for the victim/self-rigteous dynamic we learned in Lesson 2.

The more we allow these Presumed Negative Intentions to run wild in our minds, the more our own world will seem dangerous and hostile.

If we have the choice, doesn’t is seem better to Presume Positive Intention?

The Rule:
Presuming Negative Intention is at the heart of nearly every conflict.
Presuming Positive Intention is the surest path to resolution.

This choice is an act of consciousness, and a skill that we can develop.

This choice will fundamentally change the quality and depth of all our relationships.

Presuming Negative Intention is the essence of Right/Wrong Thinking.

Presuming Positive Intention is the heart of Right/Right Thinking.

This is where the rubber meets the road.

Lesson 4 – The Synergy Process

Now that we have learned the essential distinctions of Right/Right thinking and Presuming Positive Intention, we are ready to effectively practice in relationship and introduce you to The Synergy Process, an incredibly powerful tool to create thriving partnerships.

In this lesson, we will learn the Synergy Process, the relationship tool to systematically turn conflict into greater connection.

This is the practical expression of Right/Right thinking and presuming positive intention.

Learn to create synergy where most people create resentment and resignation.

Systematically use our differences as an opportunity to build partnerships.

Change the way we think about the issue instead of falling back into the old Win-lose, lose-win, lose-lose outcomes.

Shift the focus from what we want, to the reason why we want something.

“What do you want through having X”

When we reveal the higher purpose for each person, we get a much wider range of opportunities to find win-win outcomes.

The Synergy Process

  1. Affirm each persons right to want whatever they want. (establish context)
  2. Presuppose positive intention and ask the higher purpose question. (what do you want this for?)
  3. Find creative solutions to address the higher purpose even if it does not result in the person getting their original desire.

Listen to Lesson 4, and get this distinction in much greater detail, then proceed to Exercise 4