Five Ways to Value Relationships

Well-lived lives leave a legacy of both great results and great relationships.  This is why the “Do” Phase of Think Time prompts you to consider both when you make your plans.

Over a decade ago, Mark Miller, now VP of High Performance Leadership at Chik-fil-A, generously shared a new book he co-authored with Ken Blanchard with my classmates and myself in my small graduate Creativity class in Dallas.  His book, The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do contains a million servant-leadership gems.  I wholly recommend it.

Within the book, Miller lays out a model of what great leadership looks like.  He describes how great leaders “S-E-R-V-E.”   While I will encourage you to buy the book to discover the rest of the secrets, I will spoil one of them for you here.  The “V” in his model is that great leaders Value Results and Relationships.

This principle is a core theme in the Think Time 3DR Process.  Every time you mind-dump or brain-storm your to-dos, you are also encouraged to do the same for your to-bes…the activities that build into your soul and make you who you are.

The last thing you want to do is reach your goals…alone.  You want to bring other people along.  You were designed for relationships.   Psychologist Henry Cloud says that our brains were made to run on three things: “oxygen, glucose, and relationships.”

While there are millions of positive ways to value relationships, I have pulled together five quick and applicable ways that you can value relationships in your life today.

1. Initiate. People want to get together. Unfortunately, however, most people are reacting to circumstances around them and are not being proactive to initiate being together.  This is especially challenging in our digital age.  Be the one who initiates getting together with those in your life. If you are lonely, and even if you’re not, initiate regular connection with those in your life. Go to coffee. Go golfing. Catch a game. Do dinner.

2. Put Your Phone on Airplane Mode.  When you get together with other people, remember that our brains and bodies are wired for connection with others through eye contact and responsive communication.  Studies are showing that when we are distracted, we can misinterpret body language and intentions.  This misinterpretation can lead to inaccurate responses and decreased connection.  So, while you are in the presence of others, BE in the presence of others.

3. Don’t Gossip. When you have an issue with people in your life (which you will if you are living closely and honestly in connection with others) do your best to resolve your conflict directly with the other person.  In their seminal work Boundaries, Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend describe a type of communication that is a relationship-killer.  It is called triangulation.  Essentially, when Person A and Person B conflict, triangulation occurs when Person A does not resolve directly with Person B.  Instead, he or she talks about the conflict to Person C.   While it can feel easier in the short run to get things “off your chest” and to have people “on your side,” it is better in the long run to honor the other person with timely, gentle, and direct communication with a focus on resolution.  Be careful not to gossip.

4. Forgive.  As you seek to resolve conflict with another person, at times the relationship will be fully restored.  At other times it will not.  Either way, it is imperative that you do the difficult work to forgive.  Unforgiveness is poison to your body, your soul, and your relationships. Do the hard personal and spiritual work to ask yourself if you are forgiving others when (not if) they wrong you. This inner work will pay amazing outer dividends.

5. Have Fun.  Do things you enjoy with the people in your life.  Life is moving fast.  If it feels like you don’t have time today to do what you love with those you love, you need to pause and consider your priorities.  If you don’t have time today, , you probably won’t have time tomorrow.  So, carve out the time today to prioritize having fun with people in your life.

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