Again - keeping it real. Isn't it nice to know yourself? I mean, the good stuff about you, not the stuff that you wish would go away (like love handles). I love that in the past few months I am owning my strengths and saying, "Hey yeah - I AM good at that and darn it, I am going to be happy about that!" Gifts are amazing things.
For example, this past week I have been learning about how business is ALWAYS all about people, and the moment you lose sight of that is the moment that you become a "prostitute for profit" as my buddy Garrett J. White likes to say. He should know, because he was one. Funny how when you have been through something you have a lot more experience than when you haven't. Anyway, back to the people.
I am a great friend to a lot of people. And by great friend I mean that I care and I show that I care and I make an effort. It might be a small effort like commenting on their Facebook status. Or it might be a large effort like having them over for Thanksgiving. It doesn't matter - it is a priority for me. I like that I make the time and to be honest, when people ask me how I have time to keep up with so many friends the evil pernicious thought going through my head is, "Why don't YOU be like me?" See - ugly. There is always the shadow of myself sitting there feeling all superior. Go away, Shadow self! Not really - it keeps me aware that there will always be things for me to work on.
So here's the good stuff. Creating value. I will use my next door neighbor as an example. I have probably gotten treats from Kristen at least 100 times over the past six years. Her husband mows part of our lawn that joins theirs and trims around our mailboxes. They had extra line from their sprinkler system and just ran it over to some bushes of ours that are hard to water. Kristen is a do-er. She is organized, meticulous, and brilliant. And really, I love having her as a neighbor. So she has created value for me. She has made deposits into my "bank account". You can bet that when Kristen needs something, I am so there. I look for ways to try to help her out when she will let me. Because we are similar in a lot of ways, I know it is as hard for her to let go of some things as it is for me. We just like doing things for other people. Lots of people are like that - we aren't unique. (Wait, we ARE unique, just not in that way!)
How do you create value for others? And do you find that sometimes you create value for other people only to realize that they don't care and are willing to just keep taking and taking, never giving back? How does that make you feel? Translate that into a business setting. Is it important for me to give to clients so that I can ask for referrals and feedback? Absolutely.
If things aren't working in your relationships, because business and LIFE are all about the relationships, stop and think about what sort of value you are giving to others. If you need to make some deposits into other peoples' bank accounts, try working on that and see what happens.