I'm always talking about relationships being the key to everything. Why, even just yesterday I talked about the key to relationships.
But how do you keep a relationship strong? Or better yet, how do you make sure that you don't just have a "good" relationship, but also a relationship that keeps growing?
I've often talked about how communication is vital in relationships. And I think this is where relationships tend to stagnate.
Because too often, we don't know where we truly stand in our different relationships - personal, familial, professional.
Actually, the professional arena might be the one area where people more often than not do know where they stand. That's because so many companies do employee and manager evaluations every so often. Those evaluations are productive because they force people to communicate some hard truths - and those hard truths are usually areas where one or both parties can improve, and make their relationship stronger.
But in our personal and family relationships, we almost never stop and evaluate things.
Everything goes great until it doesn't. And then we're left wondering, "What happened?"
To prevent that from happening, every once in a while we need to truly take stock of where we stand with people.
It may be uncomfortable, but every so often, we need to sit down with friends and loved ones - and even our customers - and ask them: "Please tell me what I'm doing wrong. Where I can improve."
That's the only way to keep our relationships growing and thriving - rather than just going.
Most people avoid this kind of confrontation.
I think that one of my biggest strengths is being a master of confrontation. Because when you do it peacefully and constructively, it works wonders.
Think of the important people in each area of your life.
Write down the things you like about them, the things you don't, and the things they probably like and don't like about you. You don't need to go over every detail with them (there is such a thing as too much truth), but you can use your list as a starting point for a productive conversation - with both constructive criticism - and praise - mixed in.
And be prepared for some people to tell you some hard truths that you'd rather not hear.
But also keep in mind:
The only way to get the hard truths about you out of other people's heads - is to get them to start letting them out of their mouths.