Tag Archives: healthy relationships

Build Relationships Physically, Mentally & Spiritually

3 minutes to read

Back when most of my friends were single they used to tell me about the dreaded “conversation.” You know the one I mean. Rarely did a personal relationship develop at the same rate for both people. So one would ask the other, “Uh, where do you think we’re at?” It was a huge risk. The response usually foretold the end or catapulted the relationship to a new level. As difficult as the “conversation” was at least you could have it with interpersonal relationships. Being that direct in business doesn’t work.

Build RelationshipsPhysically, Mentally & Spiritually

Build Relationships

My business philosophy is it’s better to keep a good client than to have to find a replacement. So while property management and real estate appraising are fairly cookie cutter businesses, I tailored my services to the specific needs of a client. One didn’t trust the US Postal Service with delivering checks. So I hand delivered them myself for several years. Then I transitioned to a messenger service. It cost me a few extra dollars. But such personal service led to the client twice raising my fee without my asking.

Whether you work for a company or run your own the stakes are the same. Your ability to build relationships that deepen over time is more valuable than your hard skills.

Much relationship building can be done on the job. But there’s a limit. Many people are uncomfortable sharing more than pleasantries at the office. Others maintain a work persona as a shield against letting people get too close. You’ll have to spend time outside of work developing strong, enduring relationships.

If you hate doing the “let’s go out after work” thing look for alternatives.

Think Physically, Mentally & Spiritually

What common interest was the basis for your initial connection with someone? Use that as a base and expand from there. If your initial affinity was business consider engaging the person in another aspect of the physical realm or in the mental or spiritual ones.

Some options to try are:

  1. Sports & Recreational Activities. Are you passionate about cross-training? Maybe the person is interested in getting into the box. Is the other person a committed lacrosse player? Try it. You may like it. Ask him what sports he likes. Ask her which recreational activities she’s involved in.
  2. Health. When someone is sick or has a chronic health challenge, your sincere support will be welcome. Periodic emails or better hand written notes can make it easier for them to bear their burden. So can a call or phone message just to let the person know he’s in your thoughts. In cases of serious injury or illness picking up her kids or running an errand will be appreciated.
  3. Learn Together. Do you need some training or a class that the other person could benefit from? Suggest you take it together. Is the person learning about a subject in which you have expertise? Offer to help him.
  4. Hobbies. Passion’s are as varied as people. Want to be my friend? Find me some kosher chocolates. I need 43 more to reach my goal of having tried a 1000. Like with sports & recreational activities, be curious about what the other person likes. You may grow to love stamp collecting because of the bond it created between you and a colleague.
  5. Community Service. I have a friend who took a woman to work at a soup kitchen on their first date. Crazy? She fell in love with and married him. A lot of companies have community service programs.  LinkedIn lists causes a person cares about. Working together to help others creates lasting memories and deep connections.
  6. Family Celebrations. Get together for a holiday. Invite your colleague and her family over for game night with your family. Fancy or simple, it doesn’t matter. Think about when you were single. Would you have liked to spend Thanksgiving with a family rather than home alone? Offer the invitation. She’ll be grateful even if she has plans.
  7. Worship & Bible Study. Are you amazed to see this on the list? Perhaps religion isn’t discussed in your workplace. So be it. But if you reach out with sincere interest in providing someone with an interesting experience, no strings attached, you may be surprised how many people will appreciate it. We are blessed to live in a religiously diverse country. Yet many people seldom have the opportunity to nourish their souls. You can give them the chance.

At this point you may be thinking these are all things you do with your friends. You're right. In the final analysis creating deep, enduring business connections is no different. You may not socialize with colleagues as often as you do with your friends. But to build relationships you still need to engage people in the physical ∞ mental ∞ spiritual realms.

What interests have you shared with others? Please comment below.

How to Go from Contact to Relationship

2 minutes to read

Networking may be the most frustrating part of finding a job and building a business. First you have to muster the courage to go to a meeting of strangers. Then you have to figure out how to approach them. Next you have to get a card or information so you can follow up later. Finally you have to follow up and create a relationship. If you feel overwhelmed read on. I’m going to simplify this process.

How to Go from Connection to Relationship

Be Selective

Everything you want in your life will come from relationships. Professional success, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth come from them. The more and better connections you have the happier you will be. But there are limits. Most people can maintain about 150 relationships. That may sounds like a lot. Still, you need to be intentional about the people in whom you invest time, energy, and emotion.

We tend to think of networking groups and meetings as being the best place to make connections. But that may not be true. Any situation where you organically meet new people is likely to be a better place to make new contacts. Social situations, classes, even church create a natural basis for rapport.

Look for people you like and sense a bond with. And if your gut says something’s wrong trust it.

Building the Relationship

I always figure you might as well approach life like everybody’s your friend or nobody is; don’t make much difference. Kevin Kline as Paden in Silverado

Unless you’re content to keep your connection at Facebook friends level you’ll need to set a foundation for greater depth. The building blocks are mutual trust and service.

No association gets beyond the acquaintance stage until both people feel they can trust each other. Some people offer you trust right away. It’s yours to lose. Others trust in stages. You’ll have to figure out into which mode you fall. It can be frustrating establishing trust when modes don’t match. But it may be worth it. In any event, the process will work better if you are aware of this dynamic.

Building and maintaining trust comes from helping the other person. I don’t necessarily mean by convincing them to buy what you’re selling. That may be appropriate if what you’ve got will really help the person. But you’ll want relationships with people besides customers.

Be curious about the person’s life and business. What challenges does he or she face? What resources or contacts do you have that can help? Think about how you can provide the means for success. Most importantly, give without an expectation of return. If you expect reciprocation every time you help you’re not building a relationship. You’re just contracting a series of debts. Most people don’t like feeling obligated. As a result you won’t create mutual trust.

The process may sound lengthy. In some case it will take time. But often you can move from contact to relationship in a matter of a few days or weeks. You’ve probably done it before, albeit not intentionally.

While I’ve focused on business relationships, all the above is true for personal relationships. Other factors may impact whom you choose for a spouse and friends. But fundamental to a marriage and companions is mutual trust and selfless service.

How have you built trust in your relationships? Please comment below.

When Will You Stop Giving Your Kids Bad Advice?

2 minutes to read

Thank goodness school is out for the summer. My daughter had a spelling test every week. She also had tests on Scripture several times a month. She’s only in second grade. But she did two to three hours of homework most afternoons. And she complained. “Daddy, why do I have to do so much homework?” “Daddy, I hate taking tests!” Recently I realized how much bad advice I’ve been giving her on this topic.

When Will You Stop Giving Your Kids Bad Advice-

Words, Words, Words

I find my daughter’s complaints hard to understand. I loved school. Even tests were cool. They let me show my teacher how dedicated a student I was. Math was my specialty. I always found a second way to do a problem and verify the answer was right!

My advice to her fell into two categories:

  1. Exams help you understand what you know and what still needs work. It’s nice to get high marks. More important is identifying the questions that don’t make sense. In this way you build knowledge.
  2. The tests you’re taking now are easier than ones you’ll take later in life. Your studies only get more difficult. And unlike math, most of the time you won’t be able to check your work. Correct answers become illusive.

On their face, both are sound. Yet she never seemed to buy them. Relieved of the daily homework grind, I’ve had time to reflect. Here’s the thing. Just because we’re out of school doesn’t mean we don’t take tests anymore.

Truth is, I complain about tests more than she does.

Turning Good Advice Into Bad Advice

I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.” ∞ Lewis Carroll

Aside from a couple I took while earning a Masters in Library and Information Science, I don’t take sit-down examinations. But life tests me everyday. When my wife gets home we talk about our days. She relates to me the challenging (read stupid) ways people handle their health issues. I tell her about the problems I face with my business and the navy. It’s the kind of harmless chitchat that goes on in most homes.

In reality it’s not so harmless. From my daughter’s perspective, the challenges my wife and I face are adult versions of the tests she takes in school. If we complain about ours why shouldn’t she do the same about hers? Nothing like mismatched words and actions for turning good into bad advice.

If my daughter understood the context it wouldn’t be so bad. We want her to get the most benefit from the tests she takes. In that light, if we’re just blowing off steam we need to make sure she knows that’s what’s going on. Otherwise, our conversations about work need to focus on how we can improve based on overcoming the challenges we mention.

Parents have to match words and deeds. But some behaviors are so ingrained you may not realize you’re acting incongruently. Look for where your kids aren’t taking your advice. You’ll find fertile ground for keeping your good advice from turning into bad advice.

Where are you action turning good advice bad? Please comment below.

How to Have a Father Daughter Relationship

1-½ minutes to read

My daughter reminded several times she’s glad I’m home. I was on navy duty most of the last two weeks away from my family. So we spent most of yesterday together. We didn’t do anything special. Washed the car. Shopped for groceries. Ate lunch together while she showed me a Peanuts movie she loved. At the end of the day, she told me it had been great, just spending time together.

How to Have a Father Daughter Relationship

There’s No Substitute for Time

Military life teaches there’s no such thing as quality time. Short, intense interactions like going to Disneyland don’t substitute for the consistent togetherness that builds enduring relationships. If a father fails to make this time commitment what is he teaching his daughter about male attention?

When we go places I take the time to open the door for her when we get into and out of the car and stores. I ask her advice when buying food. Over the years I’ve guided her choices and little by little have made progress. We share audio books while driving. I’ve seen her mind expand from listening to A Short History of Nearly Everything.

Absent positive father-daughter interaction, where will she learn how to deal with boys and later men? Consider how the wrong guy could take advantage of her need for attention.

Father Daughter Enhances Mother Daughter

My wife and daughter have a terrific relationship. But they argue too. I understand. Sometimes my wife and I don’t see eye to eye.

When mother-daughter conflict gets too hot, I’m there to help get the relationship back on track. Likewise, my wife does the same for father daughter discord. All our bonds are tighter because we have strong paired-connections too.  The quality of my marriage will probably dictate how good her's is.

I found another version of Grouch Marx’s Father’s Day song. I hope my daughter and yours will echo the sentiments of the last line that Groucho and Dick Cavett sing together: “For they say a child can only have one father and you are the one for us.”

How do you build a father daughter relationship? Please comment below.

The One Thing You Must Do to Get What You Want

2-½ minutes to read

Remember the last time you got a gift? Did you get what you wanted? It’s disappointing when you don’t isn’t it? But it ruins the surprise if you drop hints. My daughter loves to hear me tell of how I prayed for a girl when my wife was pregnant. In this case the hints worked. Prayer is a powerful tool for getting what you want. But you shouldn’t treat your aspirations like gifts. You’ll have to take direct action.

The One Things You Must Do to Get What You Want

Forcing People to Read Your Mind

Rejection tops many people’s lists of fears. Sales is a tough profession. For every yes, the typical salesman had heard nine to 24 no’s. A lot of people cannot take such rejection day in and day out. But the professional arena isn’t the only arena where people fear rejection. Some avoid relationships or let theirs stagnate rather than risk being told no.

Why didn’t you get the job you wanted? How come you didn’t get a date with the guy or gal that sparked your interest? Did you ask for what you wanted?

At the end of a meeting to discuss a job, if you want it you must ask for it. Jobs aren’t gifts. You have to close the deal. If you don’t, the next candidate will. The same goes for getting a date and having the relationships you desire. People have to know what you want. They can’t read your mind. You’ll have to tell them.

The Kindness of Asking for What You Want

You’ve heard it before. If you don’t ask the answer is definitely no. What have you got to lose?

In many situations the other person may fear rejection. When you take initiative they don’t have to worry about being turned down. As well, most people don’t like rejecting others either. So by giving them the chance to say yes without fear of your saying no to them you make it as easy as possible.

Ask in the way it's easiest for the person to say yes:

  1. Preface your question with a reminder of why the person should say yes: “Given our understanding of the scope of the job and how well my qualifications fit…”
  2. Be positive: “Are you prepared to give me the job?” Not negative: “You wouldn’t want to hire me would you?”
  3. Be confident: Smile and look the person in the eyes as you ask.

If the person does say no, you can still make progress toward what you want. Having turned you down, he is more likely to say yes to your next request. Ask for a referral to someone who needs an employee with your qualifications. Be specific about who you want to connect with.

By giving the person a chance to help, you relieve him of any guilt he may feel about saying no to the job.  All the above is true for sales and personal relationships. In fact, it applies to anything you want.

The best way to get over a fear of rejection is to ask a lot of people for what you want. Despite hearing no 90% or more of the time you’ll find enough who will say yes. You only need one yes to get the job you want. You’re going to marry only one special person. When you close 4% to 10% of your sales prospects you’ll have a big income.

Ask for what you want. Expect to hear yes. If you don’t, move on. Repeat.

What prevents you from asking for what you want? Please comment below.

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