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Let me guess—Your January intentions were going great. You’ve been using the skills we learned in February about making room for loving relationships. Then, bam! Someone aggravated you and all those ideas went straight out the window. In seconds, you were sucked into a black hole of anger, insult and offense.

What’s the way out? One word: Compromise.

Did your stomach flip? Does that word make you nervous? That’s probably because hearing “compromise” really makes you think “sell-out”, “weak” or someone badgering you to give in to their demands.

Let’s scrap that.

In March, we’ll be talking about The Third Way. The idea behind the third way is simple—it’s the sweet spot between “your way” and “my way”. It’s being confident enough to keep an open mind, just like the Soul Boss principle of calibrating to a changing world. And it is redefining compromise to be synonymous with “being practical,” “showing wisdom,” and “maturity.” Finding the third way is the quickest path out of struggle.

Elena was easing back into the job market after her marriage finally broke down for good. “Alimony is coming in for a while. I’m not worried,” she told her cousin Samantha during their Summer visit. “I’m thinking real estate might be a good match. You know how I’ve always had the knack for finding amazing houses!”

Samantha was sure Elena would be well on her way when they connected at Christmas. “So, how many houses have you sold? Commissions must be rolling in!” she encouraged.

“Uh…not really,” Elena said quietly.

Samantha looked confused. “I thought you were working for one of the national chains. Aren’t they helping you get started?”

“Well, kind of,” Elena said, looking away. “It’s just that the Office Manager asked me to consistently be in the office fielding random calls. She thinks it’s a fast way to get leads. And she said I should shadow a senior agent at his open houses. To tell you the truth, I thought I’d make my own hours. No one told me I’d work every weekend! I’m ready to walk,” she complained.

“Quitting? You just started!” Samantha joked, but Elena didn’t laugh. Samantha turned serious. “Have you tried working out a different schedule? I mean…when will your alimony end?”

Let’s stop for a minute and take a step back: Is the schedule Elena’s biggest problem?

No.

Elena’s story shows what happens when real life doesn’t match the mental movie we’ve been screening. Here’s the issue: Doubling down on an angry “things should be different” outlook puts you into a closed mindset, boxing you into even more struggle.

The answer is to replace declarations like, “My only choices are stay or leave,” with questions. Open-ended questions spark your creativity, releasing problems and transforming them into possibilities. Finding the third way starts by asking: “What is another answer?”

Compromise doesn’t require losing your identity or values—you’re still the boss of you. Envision yourself making smart, thoughtful concessions and feeling happy with the outcome. That’s how you go beyond a black and white world.