One of the most important personal core values is to “Build and Maintain Lasting Relationships”. When initially wrote my core values and listed this one, I assumed that this would be my “slam dunk” value – the one that was easiest to achieve. It was wrong!
If you are like me, you struggle to maintain “great” relationships. Think about it. It’s likely that you have many friendships and relationships, but are they great, or as great as they can be? Are you putting as much care and effort into these relationships as you should be? Would your friends and family agree with you? Would your life be better if you had a stronger, more complete relationship with the key people in your life? Would their lives be better?
So, how do we make good relationships in our lives great? Try following these six steps, and notice the difference it will make not only in your life but in theirs too.
1. Identify a handful of key people in your life that you want to focus on building a stronger relationship with.
• I suggest starting with a small number of people and focusing primarily on those relationships. You can always (and should) add to this list later.
2. Write down the reasons that building and maintaining a strong relationship is important for you, for each person on your list.
• Like with any goal-setting process, identifying strong enough reasons for accomplishing your goal is essential.
3. Evaluate your current relationship with each person. What do you think is lacking? If you were to ask them, what do you think that they would say is lacking? How can YOU make it better?
• Some examples might include Quality time, more frequent phone calls, understanding their needs, honesty, motivation or just plain old fun!
4. Create specific action steps for improving the relationship with each person on your list.
• Again, treat this as you would if you were striving to meet any goal.
• Examples: I will call James every Sunday just to check-in (add it to the calendar). I will spend at least four quality hours with each of my children, every week (add it to calendar). I will become a better listener so that I can have more meaningful conversations (learn what it takes to become a better listener). I will provide at least one valuable life/business resource each week (network/research on their behalf). Etc.
5. Communicate openly with each person on your list.
• Let them know why the relationship is so important to you.
• Find out how you can better fulfill their needs.
• Ask for their accountability to help keep you on track.
6. Repeat steps 1 – 5 over and over again!
I really encourage you to try these relationship-building steps with the important people in your life. You will not only see a big difference in the quality of your life but in theirs too!
One thing is for certain, we can never have too many quality relationships in our lives!