You are human and you have many relationships. Let’s talk about the one you might be missing. Are you confident you found the love of your life? Are you so happy being single that you don’t care about dating? Don’t worry, I’m NOT going to talk about romantic relationships. *crowd gasps*
Instead, I want to talk to you about initiating quality relationships with the people in your life that are going to add value to you and make you more successful.
The people you have relationship with significantly direct your life. Being intentional about who is doing that directing, well, that’s hard work.
People will always be coming and going through your life. Some of them have the capacity to take you further than you’ve ever been, or could ever go on your own. However, without a relationship with them, you won’t have access to that potential.
Intentionally beginning relationships with other people is the key to moving from where you are to where you want to be.
Let’s break it down.
“What you see is all there is.” – Daniel Kahneman
Every day we encounter human beings. We see them in our workplace, at school, at the gym, in the park. But oftentimes we pay them no mind, only acknowledging their existence when absolutely necessary. We put in our headphones, stare at the ground, and hope they don’t want anything from us.
When we choose to live in a world with only necessary relationships, we are caring only about ourselves, and it’s keeping us from being our best.
C. S. Lewis said, “By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets…”
Choose relationships with the people around you who can call your whole man into activity, who can bring out the best in you.
When you acknowledge someone, you’re breaking through to their humanity. It doesn’t take much. Look a person in the eye! Smile and say you’re glad to see them! Ask how their day is going and actually listen to the response!
Take Action: Greet and make eye contact with everyone who comes within ten feet of you.
Acknowledging = Taking notice + Initiating contact
2. Show Interest
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie
People love to talk about themselves. But how do we get people to talk about themselves in a way that’s designed to build relationship with them. As it turns out, the answer is to show interest in their interests!
Now, by showing interest I don’t mean asking a lot of superfluous questions about something you don’t care about just to get someone to like you. In order for your interest to have the effect of building relationship, you must be genuine. People know when you’re asking questions because you have an agenda.
By asking sincere questions about what the other individual is into or up to, you are telling them that you care to know who they are. If you don’t care, you’re not going to build a successful relationship.
Put aside what’s going on in your life and what you’re trying to achieve to focus on the person in front of you. Be a good listener.
Take Action: Find out three things the other person is interested in, and ask them three questions about each interest.
Showing interest = Caring + Asking great questions
“Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.” – John Maxwell
Connection means finding the things you have in common with the other person and honing in on shared interests. This can also involve an exchange of perspective, advice, or encouragement.
A connection brings value to the relationship. Connecting is an important part of beginning a successful relationship because it solidifies the quality of the relationship and gives an opportunity for future engagement.
Connecting is a two-way street. To connect successfully, learn to share and be open about your own experiences and thoughts or ideas about whatever it is you’re connecting about.
Take Action: Discover at least one shared interest and capitalize on it by adding valuable perspective, advice, or encouragement.
Connecting = Finding common ground + Adding value
Now there’s no guarantee that the people you want to have relationship with will reciprocate. But these three steps should help! All we can do is bring our best.
Relationships are the key to a healthy, happy life. They are important if you want to get to the next level, and they are the single biggest blessing in all of life. In order to take ownership and increase your number of healthy relationships:
- Stop: Waiting passively for relationships to develop,
- Start: Initiating and beginning the development of enriching relationships,
- Continue: Connecting with the people you are already in a relationship with.
Remember… take action, take action, take action.
Questions or thoughts? Comment below!