I often see entrepreneurs losing touch with the people that mean the most to them, their friends, family, even their spouse.
Entrepreneurs tend to get tons of ideas, and love working on them to create something new, or better. It is how we are wired.
In times of struggle, the entrepreneur often does the exact opposite of what is proven to help them be successful. They hide, they don’t see friends and family, they think, right I have just got to sit in my office in front of my computer working as long as I can and this situation will sort it self out. Well thats not the case, as Shawn Achor shows in his fantastic book, The Happiness Advantage, people who in times of stress and struggle seek out and spend time with friends and family are more likely to be successful.
Shawn also tells us that our social circles and our relationships with those people are a huge indicator of success. So how do we go about building great relationships and maintaining them.
To break it down, and keep it super simple, here is my 2 cents…
Whats the one thing you need to do to build meaningful relationships?
Be intentional about your relationships. Everyday you intentionally do things that will grow your business (hopefully), but all the other areas kind of get left behind.
Think about the times when you were trying to win over your spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend. In the beginning you were very intentional, you took him/her on dates to amazing places, you used your imagination to pick spots or gifts that she/he would love, you spent time planning out the perfect date, you were intentional in every decision to give yourself the best chance of winning them over.
But after a few years, you get comfortable, and you stopped doing those things, and this is when people get miserable in relationships. Think about it, instead of going out on date nights, couples sit in separate rooms, watching 2 different TV shows, and only briefly talk to each other to say good night.
It’s the same with your friends, you have to work at relationships, you have to put in time and effort. And this effort is well worth it, knowing that happiness is key to success, and your relationships are key to happiness, it would be silly not to go build the relationships.
Often people just get busy in their lives, they have kids, families, work commitments etc etc etc.
Ideas of how you can be intentional about relationships:
Building new relationships:
- Go to networking meetings – and meet these people regularly
- Reach out to other business owners in your area – again meet them regularly, go for coffee/lunch etc, just set times to meet them.
- Seek out those who you aspire to be and get into their circles.
- Go onto MeetUp and find people who share similar likes and hobbies. There are groups that meet up to talk literally everything and anything.
Improving current relationships:
- Set a weekly date night with spouse – nothing can move this, it’s in the diary and happens without fail each week. Get out of the house, go for dinner, go to places you haven’t been before, explore new places together. Date night does not mean sit in front of the tv not talking.
- Go away together – book your holidays well in advance. Knowing that you have down time, relaxation time together is great. Then actually spend time together when you go away.
- Set regular get togethers with your friends. Make sure there is always something in the diary.
- Set times in your diary to reach out to friends/family just on the phone to see how they are doing.
Improving business relationships:
- Set regular monthly (more if needed) catch ups. Go for coffee, lunches etc to find out more about them and their business.
- Help them grow their business – do you know people that would be great for their business?
- Connect them with other like minded people – who do you know that could add major value to them, or their business?
- Send an email every now and again to those people, just checking in and catching up
There are lots of ways you can be intentional in relationships, these were just a few ideas.
Some people laugh at why I feel I need to put things like this in my diary. i’ll be quite honest, if they weren’t in the diary they wouldn’t happen, I would end up booking meetings, or carrying on with work, or seeing clients, there is always more stuff to do. I am being intentional in my actions.
So my challenge to you:
- This week call 5 friends or family members to see how they are doing (this is not about you, this is about them).
- Set a time in your diary that is for calling someone different each week.
- Schedule in a regular date night with spouse
- Schedule in a regular night/day with friends – e.g., the first Saturday evening of every month we will all get together. You don’t have to plan the activity now, just know that you will be doing something.
I would love to hear how you get on, and if you are focused on improving your relationships, so leave me a comment below.