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Yup, we’re still talking about you and your sober network, but I have to start today’s post with a little detour.

Yesterday I was downtown on Brazos street with JM filing the paperwork to make our non-profit a legal, for real thing. We were standing in the street in the middle of an argument (actually, I was screaming that point–I know, ugly!) after having left our house with a long long laundry list of things to get done in a very short amount of time and hitting some major bumps in the road on the drive into town.

I won’t go into the details, because they truly aren’t worth repeating, but let it just be said that my defects of character came bubbling up to the surface kind of like Mount St. Helen’s. It was fear, fear, fear, EGO, fear…and then a little more ego, just for good measure.

By the time we went inside, I walked straight into the bathroom and started crying…just like a little girl. And I’m really not a crier.

This thing is so hard sometimes. Not the non-profit thing. I mean, that is hard. I had spent the better part of several days looking at what it’s actually going to cost in real numbers to do this thing I want to do. I had been looking at lists of equipment and been lost in legal mumbo jumbo, swimming in paperwork and forms and other technical junk. And that stuff is all really hard for my creative right-brain self.  But that’s not what I mean. In just a few short weeks I had clearly gone from being God-directed to being self-directed, and you know what that looks like?  It looks like me screaming at someone like an idiot on Brazos street in downtown Austin.

Anyway, the point is, I have to come back around to asking where is God in this? And that can apply to my non-profit, my job, my relationship with my husband or children, to just about anything. Because I need to be god-directed, which is generally as simple as me remembering that there is a power greater than Nina. Also, I got a really good night’s sleep last night and that never hurts.

So, Thing 1 & Thing 2.  Today’s tip is ESTABLISH COMMON GROUND.

I could have used this one yesterday, but oh well.

When you meet people in business you are looking for ways you can help each other out. How can the relationship (if there is to be one) be mutually rewarding and fulfill mutual needs? It’s never about what can I get from this person. That’s an undercurrent that a seasoned executive will feel in a heartbeat and back away from like a bad case of chicken pox.  But if there is common ground…maybe a partnership can be forged.

Finding common ground in A.A. is about looking for the similarities and not focussing on the differences. It’s about the art of digging a little deeper for your appreciation of others who suffer the same common problem you do, and it’s a powerful thing for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that you never have to walk through anything in these rooms alone. Finding common ground requires the ability to listen, to ask questions, to have real interest in another person. But it offers the chance to share the journey with someone else and to find strength and inspiration in their experiences. I cannot tell you what a difference finding the common ground has made in my sober life.

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