Rod Hairston: Master Your Love Life… While Mastering Your Livelihood

Posted in: PSA Partnership

Are personal challenges at home preventing you from succeeding at work? Are you feeling stressed out trying to balance your workload and the happiness of your significant other? We have all been there! In our most recent Valentine’s Day Partnership webinar, Rod Hairston, former life coach for the Baltimore Ravens, author, and certified coach with a Master’s degree in counseling, dared to address this complex relationship between our love lives and our work lives. 

Through his wide variety of clients and years of experience, Rod has observed that the #1 detraction to productivity is not the demands of the workplace, but most often, it is a relationship problem outside of work. During his virtual workshop, Rod demonstrated how you can break through any emotional or attachment barriers that maybe keeping you from reaching your career goals and building happier relationships. Follow his steps and create your own master plan to become the leader and lover you were meant to be. 

Steps to Building Your Master Plan 

1. Consider Capacity 

When you are passionate about something, you enjoy doing it and have an ample amount of capacity (time, focus and personal energy) for it. For some of us, our passion is our career. While you may have a significant amount of capacity for your job, your partner almost certainly has a lesser capacity for your job. By becoming aware of your partners’ tolerance for your work rhythms, it can create a balance in your romantic relationship. Rod explained that the key to attaining this is by thinking that you and your significant other are partners in each other’s careers instead of viewing your work life as “my career” and “their career”.  

2. Acknowledge Needs 

In your relationship, you and your partner both have legitimate needs. Whether you need attention, security, or better communication, it is crucial to acknowledge that all your needs matter and need to be satisfied. Rod addressed that meeting our partners’ needs can be the largest challenge within our relationships. He noted that we tend to dismiss our partners’ needs as illegitimate because their needs can cause us stress. Rod challenged our audience to select their top five needs they expect from their partner, such as feeling respected, having financial stability, showing a sense of leadership, etc., as well as choosing five needs they think their partner expects from them. He then encouraged our audience to have a conversation with their significant other about the needs they selected. Rod explained that this is a great start to having our needs cared for and creating a change in our relationship. 

3. Engage Emotionally  

Contrary to what we’ve been taught, emotional connection and emotional intelligence go hand in hand to having healthy relationships and to satisfying our needs. When our deepest needs are overlooked, problems will arise. From years of observing clients, Rod has noted that most fights in relationships occur as protests over emotional neglect. He explained that individuals are usually unaware that they are neglecting their partner. In many cases, the neglected partner in the relationship will use silence, not as a weapon of harm, but as a mechanism of self-protection from shame of being neglected.  

To develop a deeper emotional connection with your partner, Rod suggests switching your thinking. The next time you observe your partner showing anger, criticism, growing insecurity, withdrawal or detachment behaviors, view it as a cry for more emotional connection in your relationship. The next step is to address this “cry” and learn what your partner emotionally needs and is missing. 

4. Share Stories 

Everyone has a story that makes them who they are and act in the way that they do. In your relationship, it is key to be curious and ask our partners difficult questions to understand the experiences that shaped them. By understanding why our partner responds to life in the ways that they do, it can give you the opportunity to become a safe environment for them. Some questions that can help facilitate discussions about you and your partner’s life stories include: 

  • What are some of your most memorable moments and experiences in life? 
  • Who championed and celebrated you? 
  • What were the big change events along the way for you? 
  • What were some of the most painful experiences of your life? How did they make you feel? 
  • As a child, how did you feel about your parents’ relationship/marriage/divorce/re-marriage? 

Understanding your partner’s stories is a gateway to showing your partner enhanced levels of empathy. Rod explained the importance of learning how to understand our partner’s feelings and to put ourselves in their shoes. Some practical ways to show your partner empathy include:  

  • Putting yourself in your partner’s pain story 
  • Giving them space to feel certain emotions 
  • Giving them grace when they have been triggered by something 
  • NOT trying to fix your significant other if they are upset 
  • Saying sincerely … “I’m sorry” 
  • By understanding that needing empathy is not a weakness 

5. Listen Longer 

As Rod explained, “In relationships, listening is like driving on a road into town.” The road is your gateway into your significant others reality. It can lead you to have a better understanding of what makes them who they are. When you listen to your partner, you are showing them that you value and validate their voice. Not only did Rod indicate the importance of listening longer, but he explained three techniques to pay attention to while you are listening. These include:  

  • Listening to your partners’ tone while watching their facial expressions and body language 
  • Listen for emotional cues when your partner is speaking 
  • Listen without judgment or interruption 

Hopefully, these five steps can help you to build your master plan to improve your romantic relationships while bringing you fulfillment in your career.  

It’s our goal at PSA to help you be as successful as you can in both your home life and work life. To learn more or watch our recorded webinar, visit  

Ready to inspire resiliency in your life? Don’t miss our next partnership speaker, Rebekah Gregory, Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor, as she demonstrates how you can overcome hardships in your life to achieve your goals and reach your finish line! Be on the lookout for our next webinar. 

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