Building On Relationships

A long time ago it was said that who you know is more important than what you know. When our children were in their teens we used to tell them, show me your friends and I will tell you what you will become.  Recently an executive recruiter friend told me that before he reads a candidate’s resume he examines his or her LinkedIn and Facebook profile and contact lists. Yes, more than ever in today’s crowded world we are known by the company we keep.
In a world crowded with social media and limited time, focusing on the right relationships is one of the most critical foundations in the process of creating your life plans. Building on Dr. Gordon McDonald’s book; Restoring your Spiritual Passion; I suggest that in our lives there are three groups of relationships or people:

  • Important Peopleunderstand your passion, vision, and life roles you prioritize. These people are engaged in helping you play your life roles and fulfill your future visions and life plans. These are the people you collaborate with and in so doing you add value to their lives as well.
  • Teachable Peopleare often the beneficiaries of your life plans. You search them out or you encounter them on the road to fulfilling your dreams. These are the people who grow when you delegate to them some of your roles and responsibilities. They often become your legacy as you journey from one stage of life to another.
  • Draining Peopleare not necessarily bad people; they simply drain you and take away from your ability to focus on your important and teachable people.

Your relationships are a vital asset to building your future life plans. As with any important asset, relationships must be inventoried and carefully monitored. The people you spend your time with and the kind of conversations you carry are accurate indicators of your relationship strengths. So:

  • Take inventory of the people in your life. Just a simple list will do.
  • As candidly as you can, code this list as important, teachable, and draining.
  • Examine your calendar. In the past three months, what investment did you make with your important and teachable people?
  • Looking forward to the coming months what changes can you make to strengthen the foundations of your relationships?
  • Write your commitments to change and share themwith a coach or a trusted friend who can hold you accountable for the changes you need to make.
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