September 14, 2014

The Best Kind of Relationships

Much of the success we seek in life begins with our relationships. The people who run in our social circles and show up in our weekend plans are key indicators of the lives we lead. As human beings, we are mirrors. Inevitably, we absorb and reflect the language, behaviors and even mannerisms of those we spend the most time with. This should come as no surprise. Hasn’t life always worked this way?
Who influences you?
If our friends eat healthy, exercise and maintain a generally positive outcome in life, we want to do the same. Conversely, if our friends are naysayers, complainers and people who lack vision or motivation, we are challenged. We know that in life relationships influence who we are and how we live. 
How’s your life and relationships today?
Let’s dive right into our current state of affairs. Today is all about personal evaluation. Where are you and your relationships at? Being honest with our current state is the best way to get where we envision ourselves in the future.  We all want healthy and consistent relationships. We all want a community of people building us up and encouraging our dreams. So why not start now?  
To be healthy and build long-term relationships, we need to know we have a voice and the freedom to be our own person—expressing our convictions, values, compelling ideas, and points of conflict. We also need room for growth, constructive feedback from peers, and grace for those we do life with on a daily basis, primarily our spouses, close friends and kids. 
How does love and caution play in relationships?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard on relationships is to give love. This is a great focus, as it frees us to love freely and extravagantly. We must be free of malice and regret—extending forgiveness to those who intentionally and accidentally bring harm while still placing boundaries around others that require restriction. It is healthy to be cautious in certain relationships that undermine our values and health. We can offer assistance while people are seeking to grow and embrace better things, but if not, we must consider closing down the relationship. 
There will always be a few people in our lives who are consistently negative or challenging. The key to our success is to surround ourselves with a Core Group of relationships that challenge us to be better. Not many of us would consciously place an intentional roadblock in our way and yet, we don’t often evaluate how our relationships might be hindering us. I am not suggesting that success and happiness lies in abandoning relationships that are hard. But we do need to be careful to limit access and in some cases eliminate relationships that are toxic. 
What are the best kind of relationships?
The best kind of relationships encourage us to grow. Is there freedom in your friendships? Do the key people in your life encourage you to imagine and share new ideas without immediate criticism? Do they praise your hard work, or your spirit of innovation? When our people believe in us, we are empowered to believe in ourselves.
Lastly, how are you providing this power of freedom and permission to others? The best way I know is through Active Listening. One of the greatest gifts we can give to others is to truly listen to them.
  • When we listen, we’re empowered to provide what a person really needs. 
  • When we listen, we can help people secure the permission they need to succeed.
  • When we listen, the other person positions us in a place of trust that builds confidence.
  • When we listen, we can give great advice.
Watch this short clip to learn the foundational principles of Active Listening.
It’s amazing how much untapped potential is laying dormant in our life. It’s time to start making headway toward the life we want by granting ourselves and others freedom and permission to succeed!
To your excellence,
Coach Greg