When Chris Brogan and I were working together one of the first lessons he coached me on was to always be helpful. It did not matter when or how, always seek to be helpful.
It was this lesson combined with staying focused on developing deep relationships that has served me well over the years.
But, there have been many times throughout those years that I did not invest in those relationships as much as I should have.
Some of these relationships I invested time in but not enough. Others I took for granted. And others I did not realize the importance of.
Fast forward to going through the last seven weeks of this medical journey that I am on. I have now fully realized the five relationships that need to continually be cultivated.
This is among the highest and most important relationships that you need to cultivate.
I would not be where I am in my recovery without Laura. She has been by my side, taking care of my every need and want. I am fortunate to have her in my life and I did not fully realize how much so until this ordeal began.
Spend more time with your spouse no matter how much time you are spending now.
Put your phone away when you are at dinner with them.
Focus solely on them.
Look them in the eyes.
Do not be quick to argue.
Enjoy an extra laugh.
Beyond your spouse, your family will be there for you through anything.
I lost both of my parents 15 years ago and thus have had to become an adult without them around, experiencing all of life’s ups and downs without any guidance. It has also made me very independent since I have not had anyone to really rely on throughout the years.
Before these injuries my mother-in-law and I had a “typical" in-law relationship. We sometimes got along and sometimes did not. Once we moved out to California we dealt with each other during the holidays or when she flew out here to see Laura and not much else.
However, the second my wife called my mother-in-law in the middle of the night, her and my father-in-law sprung into action. Within four hours she was at the airport to fly cross-country to come help us. And this was at 12:30a in Connecticut where they live.
By 10:00-11:00a or so the following morning, the first full day of me being in the hospital, she was in the Bay Area to support us. She lived with us for the next six weeks helping me and supporting Laura.
By the time she left to head back to Connecticut she had become like a mom to me. Our relationship has deepened to a level I would not have ever imagined possible.
As I was drafting this article I received a text from her wishing me luck at the ortho surgeon today and saying how much she missed spending time together. I sent her back a similar text.
You may be asking yourself what it was beyond the injuries that caused us to become closer? I think we learned to understand each other deeper. It is as simple and complicated as that.
Take the time to understand your family and their perspectives.
It is not always easy especially if you think your parents or in-laws are over-reacting.
Take a deep breath.
Walk away if you have to.
There are times when arguments will happen but avoid them whenever possible. In the grand scheme of life, trust me, it is not worth it.
Invest time in your friendships. You never know when you will need to lean on your friends.
Beyond being a better digital friend, we all need to be better friends generally.
I never realized how important these relationships were until I needed them the most.
Immediately upon hearing about being admitted into the hospital my friends began reaching out, sending food, gifts and flowers.
Take the time to pick up the phone or shoot a friend an email for no other reason then to just say hi.
Cultivate and maintain those relationships fiercely.
I cherish the colleagues that I work with on a daily basis. Many of them have become friends over the years.
You spend more time per week with them than you do at home with your loved ones.
Invest additional effort in doing more than just catching up with them in the kitchen or by the water cooler.
Take colleagues up on offers to hang out after work.
Sign up for work sports teams, team walks or other opportunities to spend time with colleagues.
After 3.5 years of investing time into my work relationships, the majority of the flowers that I received while at the hospital were from different teams that I regularly work with.
Prior to the injuries I spent years investing in the online community that I am fortunate enough to be part of.
I have not always done as great as I would like but I still have continued to be there for them.
I believe that has a lot to do with why there has been such a strong outpouring of support.
Whether you have 5, 5,000, 50,000 or 500,000 people that follow you, spend as much time trying to help them as possible.
You are fortunate to have the opportunity to influence and support them.
Stop just pushing out your personal and work marketing crap at them. Take time to actually engage with them. Again, be a better digital friend.
Investing in these relationships in a balanced approach will prove beneficial not only for you but also for those that you are engaging with. It will enrich your life in ways that are hard to measure.
You might start with just one or two of these relationships depending on where you are currently with cultivating these relationships. We all can use additional time working on these five relationships.
Question: What other relationships are you spending time investing in?
Image Credit: hojusaram