Outside of Your Health, Nothing is More Important Than the People in Your Life.
This is a foundational principle in 3 Circles Living, but it’s also a simple reality. All you have to do to prove this is consider loss for a second. You could lose material things and it would be inconvenient for some things, and down right devastating temporarily depending on the scope of the loss (money, home, business) for others, but the emotional impact will be short-lived and then you get on with life and whatever measure of recovery it takes.
Losing an important relationship is an entirely different matter altogether. If it’s love of any sort, like the love of family, or even of dear friends, this loss is felt in a deeply guttural way. It may take several months or years before it’s no longer at the center of your thoughts, and it may take many months just to feel somewhat like yourself again.
Relationships are at the center of everything that matters to us. Family is obvious, but this also applies to business. What do you think is the most important thing in the success of any business venture? It’s easy to think it’s your product, service, quality, unique value proposition, timing or any number of other things that all matter to a great degree, but all of them would be secondary to people.
Without people, you have no clients and customers, and without the right people none of the other things that matter will end up becoming what you want them to be. A business is a structure of people.
Time is Your Most Valuable Currency
The better your relationships, the better your life. Again, you can find many points of disagreement with this, but it won’t make it less true in the broader sense. If you are wealthy and lonely, how is that working out? If your healthy and lonely, how is that working out?
Relationships require two things: time and attention.
You cannot “mail it in” in a relationship. You have to show up. And this is the tricky part. No one “feels” your intention. You might value someone greatly, and want the best for them and be willing to do anything for them. But they will NEVER believe this if you don’t show up. This means you have to invest some measure of actual time in the relationships you value. You also have to fully present (attention) and invest yourself in the relationship when you do show up. You have to listen, be considerate, and share of yourself, or it’s not genuine.
You have to be intentional and purposeful in how you go about managing all the relationships in your life, or you won’t have them. This is what I call “relationship management” and is a crucial “Quadrant 2” approach (this is a prioritization strategy) to a successful life.
What to Consider to Do This Well
Different relationships require different types of time investment. From a time utilization and 3 Circles perspective, I break down relationships into four categories: Family (love), friends, community, and business.
There’s two specific things I consider when I decide how to spend time relative to people. The first is the emotional value and the other is the practical value. I realize that this may seem too strategic, but that’s sort of the point here. There’s so much “reaction” in a daily life, that you are ONLY going to be proactive if you are doing so with purpose, planning, and action on those two things. I am an introvert who enjoys, and spends a great deal of, time alone. If I’m not purposeful about staying engaged in relationships, I wouldn’t have many…and neither would most people…or at least not many of the RIGHT ones. Okay, back to the point here.
Emotional, is just that. This is no less important than practical in the big scheme of things, but in some aspects of your life, harder to control (job for example). I do an entire exercise on “managing associations” when I’m working with clients that is focused on this side of things. For now, let’s just say, this relates to how you feel when you spend time with specific people. A simple example is that if someone is negative in general, I will only spend time with that person if there is truly no other choice in the confines of my value system. The cost to me is simply too high.
The practical value is what to assess here and structure time for, and this will apply to your business life, but is useful elsewhere.
Pareto Lends a Hand
The “Pareto Principle” essentially means 20% of your input generally creates 80% of your output.
Apply this to the lens of your business, and for now, simply look at it in two places: Internal and external.
Internal would be your team and co-workers. Twenty percent of these people are making most of what takes place happen in the work. It’s essential that you spend the majority of your in-person time with these twenty percent. In other words, taking the time you allocate for relationship management in your workplace (and yes, this is part of excellence in time allocation) and carving it up such that you are investing 80% of your people time with the 20% and 20% of your time with the 80%. This will mean you have to have boundaries in place for when you are accessible personally for all forms of communication, and in-person. You will also have to have systems in place so that everyone is supported. And you have to schedule in the time for the 20% (for coaching, critical thinking, creative collaboration, connection, etc.).
Externally, we are looking at the 20% who create 80% of your profits, revenue, referrals, sales and any other way you quantify. You have to be purposeful to schedule the time to further invest in these relationships because they are your bread and butter. It is easy to take them for granted after a while. That’s a massive mistake. This means time that isn’t just about the transaction of business, but specifically about the human connection. At the same time, you have to have time for cultivating new relationships. This requires you to have some systems in place and some type of tracking. This is too specific to dig deeper into because it varies so much depending on the business and position you’re in.
So to wrap up, here are some actionables:
- Make a list of who the 20% are.
- Consider how you can strategically stay better connected to them.
- Note what you know about them relative to what’s important to them.
- How can you better serve them?
- Create some sort of process flow for touching them on a regular basis. (notes, text, calls, meetings, coffee…etc.)
- Follow your process and pay attention.
As you can imagine, I could have taken you deeper, but this should be enough to help you in some way. If you feel you got value from this article, please share with others who might benefit.
If you need some Coaching, or Training for your organization, reach out to me.
Many Blessings, Todd
P.S. If you would like a roadmap for living your best life, or what I refer to as your “richest life possible” check out 3 Circles Living.