Recently a client was grappling with a difficult work relationship and trying to figure out how to move forward more effectively with this colleague. There was a lot of history between them, a history riddled with misperceptions, rigid beliefs about each other, broken commitments, and mistrust. “What would it be like to press the rewind button and start anew with her?” I asked.

It seemed like an impossible task to my client, yet it also felt empowering to embrace this “clean slate” approach and move beyond all of the baggage of the past. A recent article in strategy+business looked at how fresh starts can make the difference between unrealized goals and achievement of your goals. The writer cites research that supports the idea that when we can reset and begin again, there is renewed energy, enthusiasm, and motivation to achieve the things we want to do.

The same goes for my “clean slate” request. Seeing an old relationship through new and hopeful eyes makes it possible to strengthen the relationship for lasting success. A few ways to put the “clean slate” approach into action are:

  • Forgive and forget – putting to rest past missteps and affronts will eliminate the negative energy that gets in the way of moving forward
  • Look for what is right and good – trying on your rose-colored glasses to see someone in a new, more pleasing light sets you up for a more open and positive start to a better relationship
  • Get on the same side – understanding someone else’s perspective goes a long way toward appreciating their viewpoint and resolving differences

What steps have you taken to start anew in a relationship?
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