When faced with change and adversity, there are always two ideas that continually run through my head. Firstly, when the challenge is put in front of you and the question is asked of you to rise to the occasion. The reality is that you never do. In all honesty, what always happens is you fall to the level of most readiness. For some people this is a scary thought, be it in business or personally. But I actually see this as an incredible opportunity. You know that life is going to throw challenges in your way, so you get the opportunity to take responsibility for these challenges today. By continually working on yourself, training physically, mentally and emotionally, you are able to make yourself the type of person who's level of most readiness far surpasses what the challenge in front of you is requiring you to do.
So today I want to start by looking at how we continue to build relationships and connect fully with those around you. In FEAT I am continually talking about getting a 'yes' to our 3 major questions - Do I trust you? Do I respect you? & are you going to take care of me? - But how do we actually take this into our relationships?
There are 6 main principles below that can be taken into your relationship with anyone in your life. So practice them regularly and always come back to them when you get the inkling that the dynamic of a relationship is not where you want it to be:
Understanding the Individual - Really seeking to understand a person is one of the most important ways to get into someone's world and to be able to support them / inspire them to achieve. You simply don't know who you can be in their world and what you can be for them until you understand that person as an individual. The easiest way to do this is to listen to her and make what is important to her as important as she is to you. Our tendency is to project out of our own autobiographies what we think the other person wants or needs. Understand them deeply as an individual and remember to "treat them all the same by treating them differently".
Attending to the little things - In relationships, the little things are the big things. I truly believe that people are all the same in their want to be loved and cared for. It is your focus on the little things that make someone feel loved opening them up to trusting, respecting and understanding you will take care of them.
Keeping Commitments - Keeping a commitment or a promise is a major part of building trust and respect; breaking a commitment is an amazing way to do the opposite. Keeping your commitments is the backbone of trust; building a bridge of trust that spans the gap of understanding in a relationship between the two parties.
Clarifying Expectations - The cause of almost all relationship difficulties is rooted in conflicting or ambiguous expectations around roles and goals. People judge each other through their expectations. By making the expectations clear and explicit in the beginning you can bring someone along for the journey and they feel looked after or taken care of. Clarifying expectations sometimes takes a great deal of courage. It seems easier to act as though differences don't exist and to hope things will work out than it is to face the differences together to arrive at a mutually agreeable set of expectations.
Showing Personal Integrity - Personal integrity generates trust and respect. Lack of integrity can undermine almost any other effort to create high trust relationships. Integrity includes but goes beyond honesty. Honesty is telling the truth - in other words, conforming our words to reality. Integrity is conforming reality to our words ie. keeping promises and fulfilling expectations. One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present. As a wise person once said; you can tell a lot about someone in the way they keep their sock drawer, how they engage with the irrelevant tasks. In other words "the key to the 99 is the 1". It's how you treat the 1 that reveals how you regard the 99 because everyone is ultimately a 1.
Apologise Sincerely - When you have done something and you need to regain integrity, we need to apologise and we need to do it sincerely. It takes a great deal of character strength to apologise quickly out of one's heart rather than out of pity. You have to have a high level of personal security to show your vulnerability and take responsibility when you are out of integrity. As Leo Roskin taught, "it is the weak who are cruel, gentleness can only be expected from the strong". It is one thing to make a mistake, and quite another thing not to admit it. People will forgive mistakes, because mistakes are usually of the mind, mistake of judgment. But people will not easily forgive the mistakes of the heart, the ill intention, the bad motives, the prideful justifying cover-up of the first mistake.
As we go forward and seek to implement the principles of Trust, Respect & Take Care Of; we have to truly support others without conditions and without strings. In doing this we help them feel secure, safe, validated and affirmed in their essential worth, identity and integrity.