Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

We’ve had kind of a sad evening tonight saying goodbye to good friends who are leaving Dubai for ever to go and start a new life in Thailand. But while it will be really sad to not have them living ten minutes from us, there are so many ways that technology today makes it so easy to maintain long distance friendships. We’ve got Facebook and Skype and sms and email so the great thing is we are not really losing friends – we are gaining a destination!

I’ve noticed that many people like to criticise technology and say it gets in the way of people having proper relationships. But I have to say in my experience the reverse is true. I get to have face to face conversations when ever I like with friends and family all over the world. We can make quick connections on Facebook or long conversations on Skype, or just drop them an instant message to say we’re thinking about them. Its up to us. We can share experiences at the click of a mouse and sometimes create wonderful friendships with people we have never physically met. We can create relationship which are based entirely on common interest and geography is irrelevant.

People who say technology gets in the way of human relationships are clearly just not doing it right!

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It doesn’t matter where you are in an organization or even if that organization is just your family, it’s never to early, or for that matter to late, to start behaving like a leader.

In fact in the workplace the earlier you start exhibiting leadership qualities the faster, more easily and higher you will ascend the career ladder.

Here’s a couple of things you can start doing immediately:

Set clear and definite goals and be able to explain them and the reasons for them to any member of your team. Tell every member of the team what your expectations are in terms of activities, results and outcomes including deadlines and targets and get their agreement at the start of a project.

Provide all the support necessary to achieve the goal and instruct every team member to use that support as soon as they need it, including training, mentoring and coaching where necessary. If a team member feels unable to come to you for support you are not being a good leader.

At the outset, set out and agree with your team the “rules of play” including the consequences of failure and make sure those rules are enforced fairly.

A lot of leaders think knowledge is power and try to keep information to themselves. This is not leadership, this is playing power games and a sure sign of insecurity. A really great leader will allow and expect a free flow of information, both positive and negative. Trying to control information is SO last century!

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As much as its important to steer clear of people who drain your energy with their negativity, it is even more important to cultivate friendships which add to your energy and create a positive environment for you to thrive.

There’s an old saying “Its not what you know, its who you know” and although its generally thought to be a negative thing, like it or not it is reality! People want to do business with and spend time with people they like and people who add something to their lives. At the same time, its all very well having the philosophy of “givers gain”, but with the best will in the world if the givers do not gain eventually they will move on.

So make sure, as you are building business and personal networks, its with people who believe in uplifting, emopowering and enhancing everyone they come in contact with. Anyone else is a waste of time!

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Following on from yesterday – here’s a few more thoughts on relationships:

Love is hard work! Anyone who believes that love should be easy sailing all the time has watched too many movies and read too many fairy tales! The truth is that if you are planning to be with one person for the rest of your life, there are going to be times when you could quite happily strangle them! In fact my Great Aunt, who has been married for 65 years said one of the reasons she had stayed married for so long is she had never figured out how to kill my uncle and get away with it! I think she was joking! But she has a point. It is simply not possible to maintain a level of Valentine’s Day romance for 65 years and sometimes love can go into reverse! And if you expect this you can be prepared to deal with it, but if you believe that love is a “happily ever after” fairy tale then you’re in for a shock!

One of the most important principles in any long-term relationship is commitment. And I know that’s a pretty old fashioned principle these days but I believe that if you are committed to making it work, then you will put effort into finding a way. Sometimes its easier to just walk away but who knows how many years of joy you are throwing away if you don’t make an effort to get through the rough patches. OK, I know some relationships are just not worth saving, but I also know that if there was something in your partner which made you say “I do” then that thing is probably still in there, just buried under all the nonsense that life throws at us. You only have to look at the number of people who get married, get divorced and then years later get remarried to the same person to know the truth of this.

Celebrate your differences!

Sometimes we expect our life partners to think exactly the same way we do, and to enjoy the same things we enjoy but honestly – how boring would life be if that were true? While its true that for a relationship to work we have to have some things in common, it is also true that opposites attract. It’s OK to disagree with your partner and more importantly, the reverse is also true! We need to embrace our differences and learn to love them, that’s what gives our relationships spice and an element of unpredictability, which is what keeps them fresh.

Over time everything changes. If you are planning to spend the rest of your life with someone, you need to recognize that you won’t be the same people 20 years down the line. Sometimes you will grow apart and sometimes you will grow closer. But change is the one constant in life and its important to recognize and enjoy this. If you can accept that everything changes and sometimes you will be changing at different rates then you can learn to manage that process. I have a client who used to be a corporate Rottweiller and is now a hypnotherapist! His wife really doesn’t know what’s happened to him and is sometimes struggling to remember the man she married – you see, she didn’t choose the change, he did. So if he wants the relationship to survive he needs to have compassion for her and wait for her to catch up. Its possible she never will, but she’s trying, so he needs to be gentle.

When I look at my family, which has a tradition of long marriages, I realise that it is all worth it. The shared happiness and yes, the frustrations and most importantly friendship of a long marriage are a very rare, and very special thing. Are you up for the adventure?

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With Valentines Day coming up relationships are a big issue at the moment.

What makes them work, and more importantly what makes them work over time? I’ve spoken to a number of friends and family, some of whom have been married for over 50 years, and asked them what made their lives together work. And although they gave me lots of different answers there was one thing that was common to all – every one of them thought they had married someone who was very special and wonderful. Even though all of them had had challenges over the years, it was the one thing that they kept focusing on.

It makes perfect sense really – what you focus on is what grows, and if you constantly focus on what is wrong with your partner, the thing you want to “fix”, maybe they’re a bit negative or stuck in their ways, or they snore or are lazy, then that is the thing that is going to grow.

You have to remember that you are a wife (or a husband), not a coach or a teacher and it is not your job to fix anyone! No one is perfect, but if you keep remembering what it is you love about the person it makes it much easier to get past the faults, which lets face it, we all have! I love the Buddhist principle of loving kindness – they believe that it should be the over-riding principle of everything. So if you want to tell someone something “for their own good”, think first if you are being kind to that person.

Which leads me nicely on to the next principle: Be kind.

It’s funny how we often have the least compassion for the ones closest to us. And that is most true for ourselves. If we don’t see anything to love in ourselves how can we expect anyone else to? We need to learn to be kind to ourselves first, and that way we teach others how to treat us. I had a client who always used to complain that her husband was really rude to her, but then in the next breath she would tell me how awful she looked! As she learned to stop insulting herself, her husband has followed her example and now compliments her at every opportunity!

But we also need to be compassionate to our loved ones and realize that although they don’t always measure up, and sometimes they don’t get it right, for the most part they are trying hard and they should get the credit for that!

So go buy them some flowers or some chocolate, give them a huge hug and tell them how special they are!

Tomorrow we’ll look at some more principles that make your relationships shine.

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