When was the last time you took stock of your relationships?
You might want to do this purely for your business or you might choose to include your personal relationships too.
One way you might approach this exercise is to create a mind-map or a spider-web that captures the people that surround you, the people who have an impact on your day, your work, your life and your sense of wellbeing.
Link them if they are a client and a friend, or a family member and a supplier, a colleague and an influencer etc.
Now – ask yourself honestly:
· Who is adding value to your life?
· Who is worth continuing to pursue?
· Who is drawing your energy in a negative way?
· Who are you wasting your time on?
Make a decision to spend more time on the people who are enriching your life and less on those that are causing you stress & distress or costing you time.
Clients & Customers
· Are you giving enough time to your loyal clients? In good, solid long term relationships we can sometimes get a bit complacent. What have you done to ‘romance’ them lately? What could you do?
· Are you still hanging on to a client that just isn’t playing the game any more? Perhaps they don’t pay on time or keep you hanging on for days and weeks without committing? Consider this ‘unrequited love’ – and move on!
Colleagues & Network
· You know those people you walk away from buzzing? They make you feel great. They inspire you and ignite you and you bounce ideas and solutions about like a ball in a squash court?
THEY are the people to keep focusing your time and attention on. These are people that reflect you back to yourself in a positive light.
They believe in you and that helps you to believe in yourself.
· Then, there are the ‘others’.
The people who drop little ‘oh, you’ll never be able to…’ and ‘good luck with that…!’ (with eyes rolling!) comments when you are enthusing about your latest idea.
These people are like the evil mirror in a fairy story – they want you to see yourself in a negative light – but why?
Who knows. It might be because that’s how they see themselves and they are projecting that or it may be that they are sharing their opinion with the right intentions but delivering it in the wrong way.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t listen to advice, but when all you get is negative comments and there are no alternatives being offered, walk away!
Influencers & Managers
Influencers are not always chosen. You might think you choose who influences you – but if you really think about it you will face the reality that there are people in your life who are causing you to make decisions that you wouldn’t if they were not influencing you.
It would be fair to say that in many cases that is a good thing. People who are influencing you for your own good are keepers! They have your back, they can see your strengths and talents and they will push you to achieve more than you might without them. Keep them in your life, cherish them and listen to what they have to say!
The people in your life who influence you with their agenda at the forefront need to be carefully considered. Are they really helping you to achieve your goals, ambitions and dreams or are they moulding you to fit into their goals, ambitions and dreams?
Don’t be someone else’s puppet.
We don’t often get to choose our manager when we work for a company or organisation, and yet this can be one of the most important relationships in your life.
Your relationship with your manager will affect your:
- Professional Development
- Confidence & Self Esteem
- Sense of fulfilment
- Stress levels
It has been suggested that over 80% of leavers (when money/progress and geography are not the reason) are leaving their manager, not the job and not the company.
Any one reading this that has been through the pain of having a dreadful relationship with their manager knows how true that is.
If you have a good relationship with your manager then you are in a happy place.
If you haven’t and you’d like help to deal with it, drop me a line. We can discuss the matter confidentially.
Family & Friends
This might seem like an odd one – surely the rules don’t apply here?
Well actually they do and for the reasons already described. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and you will flourish and thrive like a flower bathed in rain and sunshine!
You can’t necessarily ‘dump’ your friends and your family if they are a negative influence on you and your life, but you can start to create a change in the relationship by:
a) Being honest – tell them how they make you feel and ask them to keep those opinions and thoughts to themselves. Use the behavioural feedback model BIFF to help you construct that honesty if it helps (let me know if you want more information about BIFF)
b) Be a role model for the behaviours you want from them. Be the person you want them to be. Eventually your positivity will rub off and they will feel silly about being negative and critical all the time.
c) If none of that works – create some distance. It simply isn’t healthy for you to do otherwise.
Real life example…
I have undertaken this activity a couple of times in recent years and one of the things I realised was that there were some people in my personal and professional lives that were draining my energy and causing me to believe in my limitations ahead of believing in my opportunities.
I didn’t ‘dump’ these people, I just stopped seeking them out. Instead I started to spend more time with the people that ignited that spark of enthusiasm, positivity and creativity that had me buzzing after an hour in their company.
Reviewing my network was an interesting exercise and I realised that there were some industries and sectors with whom relationships were much more authentic and natural, so I simply put more time and effort into those and stopped wasting my time on those people that weren’t showing any interest in what I had to offer.
Let me know how you get on! And remember, I am always happy to chat.