Nothing brings more joy and contentment than a good, healthy relationship. And nothing brings more frustration and stress than a bad relationship.
Unfortunately, most people have never been taught how to make their relationships work.
Perhaps that explains the comment overheard on a New York subway. The man said, “Be reasonable, Phyllis. I made this date with Rita months before we were married.”
The good news is you can learn how to build any personal or professional relationship … if you apply one or more of these five strategies.
1. Change Your Focus.
It’s only natural to put yourself first. After all, you’re biologically hardwired for survival. It makes sense.
Unfortunately that same hardwired selfishness spells disaster in families, work teams, and even national politics.
The antidote is simple. Change your focus from me-me-me to you-you-you.
In fact, this changed focus is the secret to every great salesperson’s success. As Les Biglin, the National Salesman of the Year, said, “People are primarily interested in themselves, not you!” In fact, he went on to say, “The other person is ten thousand times more interested in himself than he is in you.”
That being the case, if you focus a little more on helping the other person get what he wants, the more he or she will return the favor.
2. Employ Realistic Expectations for the Relationship.
That’s why I think there needs to be a new warning label from the Surgeon General on all liquor bottles. It would read, “Warning: Alcohol can make members of the opposite sex appear far more attractive than they actually are.”
In reality, however, you can’t expect your love relationship to live on cloud nine forever and you can’t expect your spouse or partner to always make you happy. You can’t expect the other person to be perfect and you can’t expect to live in perfect harmony.
The same goes for each and every work relationship.
Nonetheless, you can learn how to move towards more harmonious, more productive relationships. In fact that’s the direction in which you should always be moving.
You just have to be realistic about it … it will take some time and effort.
That’s what Barb Tolbert, a senior manager at one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, did. After attending my two-day program, the Journey-to-the- Extraordinary, Barb wrote,
“At the Journey, you said ‘you perform exactly as you see yourself,’ and through the techniques you taught us, I see myself in a whole new way. It’s truly amazing the difference that has made in the past 6 weeks.”
Barb continued, “I admit to being a bit skeptical at first. After all, I had lived so much of my life feeling a certain way that I couldn’t believe that I could feel any differently. However I can honestly say that in the past 6 weeks I have experienced a complete change in my attitude, posture, comfort level and relationships. I am so grateful to you for opening my eyes. Through the process of affirmations, visualization and self-motivation, I feel mentally stronger than I’ve EVER felt in my life.”
Best of all, Barb concluded, “I keep on using your teachings to ensure my personal and professional success. I now expect and BELIEVE that good things will happen and they do!!! I would recommend your course to anyone and in fact, I have recommended it to everyone who has inquired.”
To all of you sitting on the fence, trying to decide whether or not to attend, I simply tell you four things. First, take the free Guided Tour of the Journey so you know what it’s all about.
Second, I am offering a $500 tuition discount if you register before October 19th.
Third, this is the LAST WEEK I will be offering the two-payment option, should you prefer to use that.
Fourth, I guarantee your 100% satisfaction with a money-back guarantee.
And fifth, there are only a few seats left for the 2016 Journey coming to Chicago, IL on November 10-11, 2016. Click here to register now.
3. Accept the Fact that People Are Different.
As simple as that sounds, we often expect people to see it our way and think like us. And when they don’t, we get confused or upset. We can’t understand why they don’t understand us.
In every relationship, you’ve got to expect people to be different. And that’s especially true when it comes to male-female communication. Despite all the talk about equality, about males and females being equal — which is, of course, true — they’re still very different. To expect them to think and act alike is just not fair.
One of my audience members made that quite clear. She said that the Three Wise Men brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child. Then she asked if I knew what would have happened if it had been Three Wise Women instead. She said the women would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought disposable diapers as gifts.
Another man in the audience teasingly countered her comment. He said things were changing. Childbirth is no longer a “woman’s thing” to do all by herself. He said, “Take natural child birth, for example. The man is the coach. That’s how they get the man involved. They make a sporting event out of it.”
The sooner you realize and accept the fact that people are different, the less time you’ll waste on trying to make other people think and be like you. You’ll focus your energies on trying to bridge the naturally-occurring communication gaps in any relationship.
4. Break the Relationship Routine.
Don’t allow your laziness or lack of creativity to hurt your relationship. Try some new things together. Or make one person responsible for thinking up a fun, creative thing the two of you can do this week and then let the other person think up something for the following week.
You probably tried something like that when you were dating or just beginning your relationship. All day long you’d be waiting to see your date. You’d be thinking, “Wow! We get to be together tonight.” And you’d be thinking of fun things you could do together.
Then, you get married and something happens. You hear spirit-killing comments such as, “Would you hurry up?” and, “How many times do I have to tell you?”
I like the way the past president of the National Speakers Association put it. Michael McKinley says you could break the routine by bringing home a pizza, taking off your clothes, sitting in the living room, and chowing down the pizza. He guarantees there will be some leftovers.
The same principle applies to a work relationship or to work teams. If you always meet in the same place, at the same time, use the same procedures, and let the same people monopolize the discussion or serve as silent partners, it’s time to break the routine. You are bound to have more energy and more creativity with better results.
5. Use Conscious Acts of Kindness.
There’s been a movement to encourage random acts of kindness. That’s great. It makes the world a better place.
But any relationship is built on conscious acts of kindness, not random ones you occasionally remember to do.
Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin, the former president of the American Institute of Psychoanalysis, said, “Kindness is more important than wisdom and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.”
Of course some people tell me they don’t know where to start. They don’t know which acts of kindness might be best.
Start with this:
- Treat your partner (team member) the way you treat your best friend,
- Remember things that are important to your friend,
- Do things for your friend (without being asked),
- Remember your promises, and
- Avoid sarcasm and put downs.
Perhaps the best and fastest conscious act of kindness is sharing appreciation. People crave it and never get too much.
That’s what three businessmen were discussing one day. As they discussed their wonderful wives, the first husband said, “My wife tells me I’m so distinguished that I look like an ambassador.”
The second one said, “My wife tells me I’m the best-read man she has ever met.”
Then the third one added, “My wife really appreciates me. I remember one time when I had to stay home from the office. Every time a mailman or delivery man arrived at the door, she shouted, “My husband’s home! My husband’s home!”
Final Thought: Love does not make the world go round, but it sure makes the ride a lot more fun.