Certainly, where one concentrates will vary depending upon whether that person is dominant or submissive. Nevertheless, each of us has a responsibility to take the necessary steps to ensure we are continually developing. For most, this ought to take place long before getting into a BDSM relationship. I am a firm believer that most BDSM relationships fail simply because the parties involved are woefully equipped to deal with them. Contrary to what the majority of the online community tends to accept, BDSM is not a game that is to be taken lightly. While there are aspects of play which are perfectly acceptable, the truth is that this is something that can cause tremendous harm. The path of destruction left behind by the pretenders is catastrophic.
Personal development mandates that one go inward to uncover the natural qualities which exist within.
This is a primary step that few tend to engage upon. Instead, they feel that having an inclination that he or she is dominant (or submissive) is enough. Sadly, it is not. One needs to reveal where that quality lies and how it affects his or her life. What decisions are made from this? How does it manifest in other areas of life? Is it something that was repressed for decades or does it emerge on a daily basis? What is required to generate fulfillment knowing this quality exists? These are all questions that are basic in nature with answers which are fundamental to the success of a BDSM relationship.
Once the qualities within oneself are uncovered, what is an individual willing to do with this new found knowledge? Reading, learning, and practicing are crucial elements to mastering any craft. BDSM is a lifestyle that differs greatly from the mainstream. Thus, a new set of skills are required if one is going to approach things in a safe manner. One needs to have the motivation and desire to spend the time required learning about the different facets of the lifestyle before putting anything into practice. As I mention umpteen thousands of times, safety is always our primary focus.
Another area I feel is part of the basics of the lifestyle is the psychology behind the structures we establish. Power exchange carries with it a great deal more than just physical manifestations. There is a series of psychological needs that are to be met by each person. One who is willing to delve into this area will be able to understand what is required by each person thus increasing the chance of BDSM success.