If you were asked to name your five most important relationships, who would make that list? Now, when you think of each of those relationships, on a scale of 1-5 with five being highly intentional, how intentional are you about nurturing each of those relationships, and what does that intention look like?
Let’s take it a step further. Think about five people who nurture the relationship they have with you. What does that look like, and do you see the value in it? Are you as intentional about the relationship as they are?
We all know that positive relationships are essential to a healthy life. Healthy relationships can decrease stress, lower blood pressure, and boost our immune system. They also encourage personal growth, give us purpose, and can even extend our lifespan. Studies indicate that a lack of strong relationships with others can increase a person’s mortality risk equal to the impact of smoking fifteen cigarettes a day.
Clearly, the people we surround ourselves with can impact us in significant ways, and yet, we often don’t put the level of care and intention into choosing who those people are and nurturing the relationships that help us be our best selves.
If you rated how intentional you are in nurturing your relationships below a four, think about why that is. Is the reason a lack of confidence, you are too uncomfortable, you don’t see the value, just plain old complacency, or all the above? Whatever your reason, decide to do better, and put more effort into strengthening your existing relationships and developing new ones. Here are three tips to get you started.
- Intentionally Choose The People In Your Life
- What does your sphere of family and friends look like? Who inspires you, supports you, and encourages you every step of the way? Equally important, who in your group of family and friends are you inspiring, supporting, and encouraging?
- Who are your internal influencers in business? These are the leaders, colleagues, and collaborators you interact with on a regular basis. Who are you drawn to work with, who encourages you to stretch in new ways, and who helps you get stuff done?
- Who are your external influencers in business? External influencers include clients, prospects, and partners. Who among them are the achievers, the ones who share your motivation, and the ones you admire and want to learn from?
- Intend To Give
While it’s true that you’ve identified relationships that help you grow, the real purpose of developing meaningful relationships is not to get, but to give. Think about the people you want in your life and what you have to offer them. Make a list of all gifts and keep adding to it. Consider things like gratitude, time, attention, knowledge, skills, and experience to start.
A big part of sharing your gifts is first getting to know the individual. Find out what their dreams, hopes, and goals are and how you can help them achieve those aspirations. Genuine giving means there is no expectation of receiving anything in return other than the good feeling of helping someone else.
- Be Yourself
This can be challenging for some of us. There may be people or circumstances that make us feel like we should act or respond in a way that doesn’t feel true to ourselves. When that happens take a moment to determine what is driving that feeling and how you can re-engage in a way that feels authentic to you. Relationships help you grow and adapt—and sometimes that means getting uncomfortable—but they should never require you to change your values. If they do, they’re not the right relationship for you. The strongest relationships are the ones in which you can be you.
Building and nurturing relationships is hard work, but the benefits for you and the people you choose to have in your life are immeasurable.