How do your relationships affect where you are, compared to where you want to be – personally or professionally? The ones that work well of course are enjoyable and beneficial. What about the people you could do without? It’s always them, right? Even if you can be honest for a moment and reply no, how do you show up on a daily basis?
A colleague of mine helps people become better leaders by tending to the strategic components such as budget, marketing, sales and asset allocation. As you know, my concentration for creating better leaders is on the human component, such as improving communication skills, increasing productivity and developing the mindset of success. In order to be effective in our day-to-day operation we must develop both strategic skill sets and the soft skills. Here is the key, ignoring one of these aspects still leaves a person ineffective and with results other than desired.
Relationships are a part of life and business, in fact, everything we do. We first need to have an effective relationship with ourselves before we are able to have one with others; and that is a significant issue for many, while others appear to deceive themselves with their level of proficiency. For numerous people, the spiritual connection with Divine is the first. Beyond those two considerations, the focus here will be relationships with others.
Like all business and success, focus on the problem brings more problems. You must have noticed by now that focus on what bothers us about a person only makes us miserable. A rebuttal often generated is what about a person you have “no choice” about having in your life. The bottom line is when we carry negative energy toward another person it impacts us in multiple areas; look and listen for areas of blame regarding any results you dislike.
When you shift the thinking from what is out of your control to what is in your control, you decrease stress, are more focused, think clearer, make better decisions, increase productivity, overall more effective, enhance your quality of life – benefits that many claim to want on a daily basis. Let’s explore examples where we often believe we are without a choice.
A family member – immediate, extended, or in-law (some call them out-law):
- We choose the amount of time we invest with them. Notice the use of the word “invest” instead of “spend”. When we recognize all our choices are a form of investment we become acutely aware of the control we have in our lives and in our business.
- When we choose a significant other, it automatically includes their friends and family. Amazing how we can overlook the ways we play victim, me included. When we say we chose our significant other, not their friends and family, we make an excuse to justify our behavior, to some degree, to berate or degrade the people. Making someone bad or wrong is hurtful to the person we love and damages the relationship. This behavior is a demonstration of a dip (acute or chronic) in our self-esteem. Ouch! Accepting the whole package can be a challenge and yet it’s the same idea as when we decide on our partners we’re unable to take some characteristics without others.
What about a co-worker where someone else is in charge of the hiring and firing? We choose where to work. Ready for the victim language? “Why should I leave?” often linked with, “I was here first . . .” etc. Consider who is choosing to keep the focus on them and what you dislike about them. Again, this issue has plagued me as well. So, what do we do?
- Be accountable – willingness and ownership to the full extent of choices you made . . . and continue to make when you are with a person or in a particular situation
- Empower yourself and others – identify the part you know you made a conscious decision and then remind yourself, as often as necessary, of the benefits of making that choice
- Discipline yourself of where, and on what, you let your mind focus
- When you find yourself annoyed, irritated, frustrated or whatever negative emotion occurs for you with another person, examine your behavior (past or present) for the same type of aspect (selfishness, judgmental or other characteristic, keeping in mind the specific look may vary). Also, look at when those negative emotions occur in you about your own behavior, such as when you say yes and wanted to say no. Either scenario is an indication of where you have work yet to be done
- Commit to the application of self-improvement, especially to the areas that trigger. Let your actions be the display of your commitment and learning.
So, what about the people you could do without? What will you change about you and in your approach to create a different outcome?