A Developmental Moment #4: What Does Influence Mean and Why Does it Matter?

The Differences Between Internal and External Influence and Their Relationship to Service

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As I was pondering the next developmental moment, and was considering influence as a topic, I had to stop, and reflect upon the past three years. What to say about influence?

Well, as with most things in my life today, an insight did occur, which will now come out through me and to you. Fun.

Alright, so influence is an important topic when you are leading teams; and, well, I do believe it is an important topic in everyone’s development, regardless of their iteration of self-development, or their interest in leadership. Why?

Because, we all will, at some point, apply for a job, need to grow our network, and, or, seek new areas of self-expression. And, to be fully self-expressed, or, rather, to self-express yourself fully, it is nice to understand the concept of influence. Let’s do just that then. Take a look at how I interpret the concept of influence.

Ready? Good. Here we go.

influence

verb /ˈɪnfluəns/ 

to have an effect on the way that someone behaves or thinks, especially by giving them an example to follow.

influence something, influence how, where, etc. to have an effect on a particular situation and the way that it develops.

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There we go.

Alright, so here’s what we have for influence; to have an effect on a particular situation and the way it develops, or the way that someone behaves or thinks, especially in regard to providing them an example to follow.

Now let’s discuss influence in two different ways. Let’s take a look at internal influence, and external influence. Both are important, and both are needed. Here we go.

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Internal Influence

When I write the phrase internal influence, I am referring to your influence within the business, organization, or institution in which you work.

Understanding influence as an opportunity to build cultural capital inside of the business, organization, or institution in which you work is important for a leader to consider. If your influence wanes, it may be hard, for example, to garner political support on a project your team is working on.

However, if your influence is strong, or even adequate, garnering support will be easier. Pretty simple.

What I’ve found to be most true about internal influence is that being who you really are is of utmost importance. Meaning, to be the authentic leader you know yourself to be.

Yes, we all have to make concessions at times, and, yet, we all have the creative power to effect change. And, this is true, even when our influence is bourgeoning.

A quick aside. Influence, like most things in life, lives along a spectrum. Meaning, that influence is not binary. You gain influence over time; and, it takes time.

Maybe you’re asking yourself, okay, well, how do we create influence, and effect change. Here are a few important considerations for those interested in increasing their internal influence.

  1. Relationships – as I’ve written many times, everything starts with relationships. The one we have with ourselves, yes, and then with everyone else. Being in a relationship means having easy and difficult conversations. Remembering this truth is important in leadership.
  2. Questions – asking questions is always an important step in creating influence. Often, people shy away from asking the tough questions. Ask them. It is important to your own development, and that of your teams.
  3. Creativity – being open, flexible, and innovative, is an important aspect of influencing the future. Without creativity, the past is the future, a stamped reproduction. Thus, being open to new ideas, those from your peers, and your team is essential.
  4. Integrity – doing what we say we are going to do is important to all aspects of our lives, and there is no exception in creating influence. If we are unable to make it to a meeting, or are going to be late, communicate. Open communication ensures that we are always keeping everyone in the conversation, and keeping our integrity intact.
  5. Authenticity – be who you are. You are just as you are supposed to be, so embrace your unique-self, and let that shine. There is only one you, which means there’s not another person on the planet that can create influence, or anything else for that matter, just like you. When we are authentic, people know, and respect our truth. And, if they don’t? Remember, that’s their issue. Not yours. Be who you are.

Alright, there are five examples, and considerations for you, on how to create influence within a business, organization, or institution. Remember, influence takes time to cultivate. It’s kind of like gardening. You must water your relationships, questions, creativity, integrity, and authenticity, and, when you do, you will see your influence grow.

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External Influence

External influence is similar to internal influence, and yet, also different. You can use the five considerations aforementioned with those clients, students, or customers, that are external to your business, organization, or institution. And?

There are a couple more strategies for you to consider. Here we go.

  1. Engagement – being fully engaged at all times with those you serve is important. Meaning, that it is important to create an engagement system that you can rely upon, which will ensure your engagement is, well, like a drum beat. Your clients, students, or customers need to rely upon your engagement pattern. I write about developing my LinkedIn engagement system in the post, A Blogger’s Diary 12/27/20: On Writing, Goal-Setting, Systems, and the Holidays, which can serve as one of many examples to draw upon.
  2. Consistency – a drum beat, or pattern, on which your clients, students, or customers can rely. Important. There are lots of ways to ensure you stay on track with your engagement. You can calendar your engagements, enter them into a project management software system, or keep them in a planner. The tool matters far less, than the output of making sure to engage regularly and consistently.
  3. Reciprocity – relationships are built upon many things, and reciprocity is one. Being in relationships means sharing yourself with your clients, students, or customers. And doing so in a genuine way. Remember, people know when we are inauthentic. They can see, hear, and feel it. Just be who you are, and reciprocate.
  4. Value – our clients, students, or customers want to know they are valued. They would like value, and to know they are valued. Both. Providing value comes in many forms, and it’s not always, actually rarely, monetary. It’s about being there for your clients, students, or customers. Taking care of them, treating them with kindness, and valuing their needs.
  5. Service – in the end, it’s all about service. All of it. The service we give ourselves, and the service we give out to our clients, students, or customers. When we value our service, we are always looking for, and creating, new ways to serve. Whether that is through a new business model, a new product, or a new service. Really. Ultimately, it’s about understanding the need, reflecting on that need, and creating a bridge for that need.

Internal and external influence matter. It’s not about ego. We are leaving ego at the door. It’s about service. About taking care of people. Finding out what they need, and working with them to fill that need.

When we are in relationship with people, we are in a unique position to serve.

And, as we continue to serve, our influence grows. Influence grows as we grow and deepen our relationships. The relationships we have with those we serve. Ultimately, it’s our peers, teams, clients, students, and customers that let us know about our influence.

When we have movement in our relationships, we can see it and feel it; and, when we have traction, we know, because reciprocity flourishes as we enter into new relationships each day. And, as we enter into more relationships, our service grows; and, yes, we also grow. Fun.

#authenticity, #consistency, #creativity, #development, #developmentalmoment, #engagement, #externalinfluence, #influence, #integrity, #internalinfluence, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #questions, #reciprocity, #relationships, #self-development, #service, #value

A Developmental Moment #2: The 3 C’s of Authentic Productivity

3 Reasons Why Being Authentic Will Increase Your Productivity

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A few months ago I wrote the article, The Reflection Series Part 2: What Does it Mean to Live an Authentic Life?, where we discussed living an authentic life. The basic premise being how living an authentic life is an empowering experience.

Now, in this article, we will discuss how we can increase our productivity by simply being the human being we know ourselves to be. Yep. Ready? Good here. we go.

Have you ever seen behind the scenes of a theatrical production? Yes, no? Well, either way, there is a ton of work that goes into creating a stage production, even a small production at a local high-school.

I remember taking, what was then called stagecraft, in high-school, and that was our job. Creating the stage, or, in sociological terms, creating the visual context for the play. Was great fun.

Erving Goffman, an American-Canadian Sociologist from the 1950’s, talks about life in terms of a play. Noting that we all take on particular personas based on socialization, yes, the context we are working or living in, and the ideas we have about who we are, and, yep, the ideas we believe others hold of us. Phew. That’s a lot of information to hold, which, hint, hint, is part of the point of this article.

I digress, back on track. Here is a short, well, relatively short, synopsis of what Goffman terms dramaturgy.

Dramaturgy is a sociological perspective that is a component of symbolic interactionism and is used in sociological analysis of everyday life. Developed by American sociologist Erving Goffman in his seminal 1959 text The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, dramaturgy uses the metaphor of theater to explain human behavior. According to this perspective, individuals perform actions in everyday life as if they were performers on a stage. Identity is performed through roles. Here, the term “role” works in two ways, referencing both the name for a theatrical character and the ways in which individuals fill roles in reality by acting as a mother, friend, husband, etc. Dramaturgy argues that the presentation of oneself through role is a way of engaging with society.

Social Science

Alright, now, you may be asking, okay, and?

Well, think about all of the roles you take on each day. Seriously. Count them real quick. Here, I’ll do it too. I came up with 7. And, that was just a quick inquiry. A more focused inquiry would reveal many, many, more. And, you? How many did you come up with? Yep. Good.

Now, with all of these roles, and what I will now term performances, how much preparation do you do to create, deliver, and sustain these performances? Hm. Quite a bit, I bet. And, time? Yep, preparation is time. And time is energy.

Alright, so we spend a lot of time backstage, in Goffman terms, preparing for our individual performances, even when we are unaware. Yep. And, then frontstage, delivering them? Exactly. We spend a lot of energy there too. True.

And, now, let’s add in being inauthentic. If we are, let us say, working even harder on our performances, because we believe we need to look, act, and behave a certain way, either because we feel we should, or, we feel that others expect that of us, that is even more tiring. Phew. That’s a lot of tiring. Yet, there is another way. How?

By being authentic. And, guess what? Yep. When we are authentic, we save energy.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Authenticity and Productivity

When we are authentic, we save energy because, quite simply, we work less hard trying to convince ourselves and everyone around us that we are someone we’re not. As we’ve already seen, it takes a lot of time and energy just to perform our various roles, which does not include trying to perform them in ways we think we are supposed to.

Further, we all have a limited amount of energy to utilize throughout our day. We can think about our day in terms of exchanging units of energy for each task, project, or activity we take on.

As we exchange our units of energy, our stores become depleted. Now, we can recharge these energy stores by doing various things, such as taking a walk or sitting and breathing for a couple of minutes.

However, we should also covet these energy stores by being aware of our energy levels throughout the day. And? Well, when we are continuously thinking about our performances, our energy is depleted at a faster rate. Why?

Because we are distracted with thoughts and mentalizations that make the work we are engaged with more arduous. Pretty simple.

Photo by Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash

However, when we aren’t concerned about our performances, meaning we are being authentic and true to the person we know ourselves to be, our energy is saved from tasks such as worrying and overthinking. Important.

And, when we save our energy we can be more productive.

Alright, here then are three productivity byproducts that come from being authentic. Being who we really are. Just for fun, we will call these the 3 C’s of Authentic Productivity.

  • Capacity – when we are authentic, we have more energy for the aforementioned reasons, and we also have more capacity. More capacity to do the work we need to do, free from the constraints of spending time and energy concentrating on performing in ways that we think we are supposed to, or we think others expect us to.
  • Concentration – when we are authentic, we are also able to concentrate more easily. Our minds are not busy fretting about our performance. For instance, wondering what someone thinks about what we just said, or how we are acting in a particular context. When we are free from these mentalizations, we are much more clear.
  • Clarity – and, yes, when we have more capacity to concentrate on the work at hand, we are also more clear. We have more clarity in general about all things, and are able to complete tasks and projects with much greater efficiency and effectiveness.

There is one more bonus to being authentic. Insight.

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When we have more capacity, are able to concentrate more effectively, and have more clarity, we create the possibility of receiving more insights. Insights occur when our minds are quiet. When we are quiet.

And, we are much more quiet when we are not in a continuous internal battle about who we are. When we are authentic, this battle drops away, and insights come more frequently.

Wow, that was fun.

Alright, that’s the 3 C’s of Authentic Productivity. Know there are many more benefits to being authentic. Seriously. Many more.

Pretty much everything we do, we do more effectively and efficiently when we are authentic. As we’ve seen in our discussion, worrying about our performances depletes our energy levels.

However, when we are authentic, we save our energy, and in doing so increase our capacity, ability to concentrate, and overall clarity.

You are already just as you are supposed to be. So be who you are, be authentic, embrace yourself, and enjoy each moment of every day.

Oh, yes, and, remember, when you do so, you’ll also enjoy more insights along the way. And, believe me, that’s super fun.

#authenticity, #authenticityandproductivity, #capacity, #clarity, #concentration, #energy, #humandevelopment, #insight, #leadership, #productivity, #selfawareness, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement

The Reflection Series Part 2: What Does it Mean to Live an Authentic Life?

A 3-Minute Reflection on Being Your Authentic Self, and Living an Authentic Life

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When was the last time someone said something to you about being authentic? About living your life authentically, or about being your authentic self? Hm.

I’m actually not even sure how common these questions are, yet, I do know that inquiring into authenticity and our authentic-self is important. Yep.

Right, as this is the 3-minute series, let’s get right into the discussion, shall we? Good. Here we go.

What in the world does authentic even mean?

authentic

Pronunciation /ôˈTHen(t)ik/ /ɔˈθɛn(t)ɪk/ 

Translate authentic into Spanish

ADJECTIVE

Of undisputed origin; genuine.

Lexico

Very well, that’s pretty straightforward. Now, let’s have a quote or two. Here we go.

“To find yourself, think for yourself.” – Socrates

Everyday Power

And.

“Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” – Henry David Thoreau

Everyday Power

Last one. Promise.

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
― Brené Brown

Good Reads

Alright, now, let’s take each of these quotes, one at a time, and work through why authenticity is so important to all of our lives, your life. Ready? Good. Here we go.

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Think for Yourself

Right, so what is good old, well, not old anymore, Socrates talking about here? You may ask yourself, I think for myself every day, that’s self-evident, so? Yet, do you?

What Socrates is pointing to in this quote is the awareness of the realization that oftentimes we think, and make decisions, about our life predicated on something that someone else taught us. Yep. Truth.

Meaning, that in order to live an authentic life, and to be who we really are, we must let go of all of the ideas, concepts, and notions of who we think we are, and create ourselves as we want to be.

What does this mean? Good question.

It means learning to let go of outdated ideas and concepts about ourselves, which were handed to us during our childhood. Yep.

Socialization is powerful. And, unless we do the internal work necessary to let go of these concepts, we will continue to make decisions about our life from these standpoints. And?

We will continue to live a life that someone else has created for us. Yet, it need not be that way. Nope. Being you, the you that you know yourself to be is most important.

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Being You

In sociology, there is a theory that basically states that part of how we know who we are is by the confirmations we get from others about how we present ourselves (Goffman, 1959). The issue?

When we present ourselves as others would like us to, we are not being authentic. We are being a version of ourselves that other people would like us to be. Not authentic.

What Thoreau is saying is to let go of the need we have, a compulsion if you will, to please others, to be as they would like us to be. Instead, Thoreau is tasking us with being true to the person we know ourselves to be.

Further, to create ourselves again and again, as we want to be, not as someone else expects us to be. That is authentic; and, that is being you.

Photo by Courtney Nuss on Unsplash

Showing Up

Alright, so what is Brené talking about here? What does it mean to show up and be real? Right. Here we go.

When we are authentic, we are authentic in all aspects of ourselves. We own and stand in our strengths and weaknesses. Both. We show up just as we are. Important. Why?

Well, to do otherwise is not being authentic. When we are being inauthentic, we are trying to conform to an idea. An idea of what or whom we are supposed to be. And, that is, well, painful. Really.

It is painful to deny aspects of ourselves under the guise that they don’t exist. Whether that is a strength we are hiding or a weakness we are hiding. Either way.

When we hide aspects of ourselves, we limit ourselves, and we limit the context we are in. Why?

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Because we are human. We are supposed to have strengths and weaknesses. That’s part of being human.

However, if we perform, for instance, as if we don’t have a weakness, or an opportunity to develop, we are, at that moment, literally limiting our developmental potential. And, guess what?

It’s totally avoidable. We can choose to be the authentic-self we know ourselves to be. Full of strengths and weaknesses. Both fantastic and boring. Both. And, that is perfectly okay. Why?

Because we are human, and being both fantastic and boring, for instance, is a part of our shared humanity. Better to embrace it and be the authentic-self you know yourself to be. And?

Simple.

When you are true to your authentic self, and you embrace all aspects of yourself, you get to choose how you create yourself next. In each moment, every day. And, guess what else?

When you live your life that way, you are now living the authentic-life you’ve always dreamed about.

Live well. Live authentically.

Citation: Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. Doubleday.

#authentic-life, #authentic-self, #authenticity, #beingyou, #brene-brown, #livinganauthenticlife, #reflection-series, #showingup, #socrates, #thinkforyourself, #thoreau

An Insight, An Inspiration, and A Quote: On Purpose and Authenticity

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I recently wrote the post, 3 Reasons Why Creating Alignment With Your Why Is Important; And, 3 Simple Steps to Create Your Why, and it occured to me on my hike today that I missed a very important aspect of understanding, creating, and then relaying our why. What, you ask?

Authenticity.

An Insight

Anyone can create a why, right? You get a prompt, why do you do what you do? You answer. Yet, that’s not quite it. If your why is disconnected from your authentic-self, people will not be attracted to it; why?

Because they will know/feel that you are being inauthentic.

It is, then, super important when creating our whys to be the authentic human being you know yourself to be. Let go of preconceived notions of who you think other people believe you are, and write your why from the space of who you know yourself to be. Important.

See, creating a why, or a purpose statement, is not about pleasing someone else, it’s about you. About the person you are today, the person you are creating yourself to be tomorrow.

When you get clear on your purpose, and convey your why from a place of authenticity, people will be attracted to it. They will see themselves in you. And, when someone shares their why with you, you’ll know if they’re being authentic, and, if they are, you will probably be attracted to them.

Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

An Inspiration

You. Yes, you dear blogger.

I’ve been following more and more sites the past couple of weeks, and have been truly inspired by all that I’ve read. From food recipes to articles on grief and trauma.

In the event someone hasn’t told you recently, you are making a difference in the world. Each one of you.

Human connection is such a wonderful experience, and to connect with each of you, though distanced we are, is such a joy, and honor.

My cousin literally just sent me a new message via LinkedIn, and shared with me a beautiful story about the Good Night Lights. Have you ever heard of this? I hadn’t. Take a look. Beautiful, and moving.

Good Night Lights

I went to the site and was moved to tears. Why? Well, it is, yes, a beautiful story. And, then, it got me thinking about each of you, and the work you continue to do on your individual websites.

See, it isn’t about moving an entire population of people, or providing them access to you and your ideas, all at the same time. It’s about touching one person at a time.

One person, then becomes two people, which eventually becomes thousands, as many of you can attest to; and, thousands can become millions.

You are an inspiration, and I thank you for the opportunity to know you in the way I do today.

Here are three quotes on authenticity that I love.

A Quote

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brene Brown

Awaken the Greatness Within

“As I began to love myself. I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living my own truth. Today I know this is authenticity.” Charlie Chaplin

Awaken the Greatness Within

Authenticity is more than speaking; Authenticity is also about doing. Every decision we make says something about who we are.” Simon Sinek

Awaken the Greatness Within

Always be who you are. Every day, every moment.

Be well. Be authentic.

#authenticity, #authenticityandpurpose, #beingwhoyouare, #blogger, #blogging, #blogs, #goodnightlights, #insight, #inspiration, #makingadifference, #movingonepersonatatime, #purpose, #quote

Three Transformational Leadership Skills

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jon-tyson-r9t0lzv8xwq-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Where we start matters, much more than where we end up. For, it is in the starting of something that matters. The action, not the result. Let us embark, then, on a simple foray into leadership essentials.

What are those essentials, and why do they matter? And, do they matter only for leaders, or do they matter for everyone on a team, in a family, or in a relationship? Hm. Good questions. Let’s take a look.

Being Authentic

One of the most important leadership skills, is the ability to know oneself. Understanding who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, is critical to effective leadership.

It is an impossibility to effectively lead a team, when you are disconnected from yourself, or are hiding from yourself. Impossible.

What is possible, is to be honest about who you are, and to be authentic. Being anything other than authentic will come off fake. The team will know when you are not being authentic, and traction with the team will elude you.

When you are authentic about who you are, you create the possibility of openness. When you are open to all that is around us, you also show that you are vulnerable. And, when you are vulnerable, you openly admit that you do not, could not, know all of the answers. No one can.

The opposite of authenticity and vulnerability is rigidity. Being rigid, pretending you know things you do not, will shut people down, close doors to new possibilities, and decline moral.

Practicing authenticity and vulnerability starts with you. You are the only one that can be authentic, and vulnerable. It can be frightening, as I share often with the team I work with, to be out on a ledge before the unknown.

However, that is where all the great stuff awaits you.

Photo by Nicholas Sampson on Unsplash

Creating Safety

Creating a safe environment where people can be who they are, while knowing that they are safe to do so, is important to building trust. And, building trust with those you work with, reciprocally creates more safety.

I believe that the ability for a leader to create safety, is one of the most important leadership skills.

That is my bias. However, know that without trust, developing the investment, or buy-in, from team members on what you are looking to create is impossible. They must trust you completely. And, trust will only come when the environment is a safe one.

When you have created a safe and trusting environment, you have the opportunity to innovate because people are willing to trust in each other and be vulnerable. Safety increases the likelihood that people will be who they really are, authentic and vulnerable.

And, being vulnerable is one of the keys to creating innovative teams.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Include Transparent Communication

Being open with your team, includes being transparent. In the first year working with the team I am currently working with, there were people that were surprised when I would discuss the financials with them. They had never had open conversations about the finances. They were simply told to hit a number, or were told nothing.

You may get results this way, however, I am here to tell you that those results will not last, or will be limited.

People that don’t understand the financials, cannot understand all that is possible. And, similarly, only knowing a number, is only one piece of the whole. People need to have access to all of the information, so they can grow.

When people grow, the team grows. And, when the team grows, you grow. Simple. Growth will only come when you have created an environment that welcomes growth.

Welcoming growth, which includes creating opportunities for individual and team development, are keys to building an innovative and dynamic team.

Photo by LUM3N on Unsplash

Developing High-Quality Relationships

Being authentic and vulnerable, while creating a safe and trusting environment, which includes transparent communication is all about creating high-quality relationships. And, it is inside of the development of these relationships where reciprocity flourishes.

Building and fostering relationships that are reciprocal, means that it is always a team effort. Always. As a leader, you lead and set the tone, including practicing all of which we’ve discussed, however, it is the entire team that creates traction that is sustainable.

And, as they grow, you grow, and as you grow, they grow. Transformational.

The leadership skills we’ve discussed in this post are not limited to work teams. These leadership skills can be used in any relationship. And, you can get transformational results from any of your relationships by employing these leadership skills.

Relationships that are transformational have no limits. People in these relationships, whether it is a work team, family, marriage, partnership, or any other relationships, live without limits, without fear of the unknown, at the edge of what is known.

As a leader, it is your choice. What will you choose to create with your team and in your relationships?

Originally posted on servantleadershipcoaching.com

#authenticity, #authenticityandleadership, #creatingsafetyonteams, #developinghighqualityrelationships, #developingteams, #highqualityrelationships, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipessentials, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipmindset, #leadershipprinciples, #safetyandleadership, #teamdevelopment, #transformationalleadership, #transparentcommunication, #vulnerability, #vulnerabilityandleadership

Creating and Maintaining Relationships Part 4: The Relationship System

Photo by Nick Owuor (astro.nic.visuals) on Unsplash

Have you ever thought about how relationships work? I mean how they function within the systems and spheres that we move through? It is an interesting question, and one that we will explore in this post.

In my first post on relationships, Creating and Maintaining Relationships: What else is there?, I write about how all relationships start with you, and go outward. Here is the diagram from that post.

Now, in this post, we are going to expand on this simple relationship diagram, so we can see the movement that occurs through each of these relationship spheres. Let’s start with the relationship we have with ourselves, as it really does all start there.

Relationship with ourselves

In the post, The Self-Development Tips Series 1: The Art of Loving Yourself, I write about the importance of developing a highest-quality relationship with ourselves. That, in fact, learning how to love ourselves is the very first step in having other high-quality relationships. It is a must. Really.

Without a high-quality relationship with ourselves, we cannot create high-quality relationships with others. Why? Because if we don’t know how to take care of ourselves, to love ourselves, we cannot give care and love out to others. Not in a sustainable way.

We must first develop deep care and love for ourselves, then that same deep care and love will go out from us to others.

Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

Relationships with Family

Once we have a high-quality relationship with ourselves, we can truly be there for our family. In being there, I mean have open, honest, and loving communication with each other; developing those high-quality relationships along the way.

In the post, Creating and Maintaining Relationships Part 3: Understanding Our Emotions and Strengthening Our Relationships by Slowing Down, I write about the importance of noticing when we are being inattentive to how we feel. Important.

When we are inattentive to our emotions, and are reacting without pausing, there is a higher likelihood that arguments with our partners will become more common. These pauseless reactions also function the same way with and toward our children.

It is important to note that we are not reacting to our environments in this way intentionally. Fully understanding how we are reactive, includes learning about our “triggers.” What are they, whom are they with, and why do we have them? Once we know, we can create space to pause, think and reflect, and then choose a different action.

All of which when combined with having a loving relationship with ourselves, free of blame and shame, creates whole new possibilities with the relationships we have with our family.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Relationships at Work

In the post, Three Transformational Leadership Skills, I write about developing high-quality relationships at work. Developing these relationships, like the ones we have with family, also starts with ourselves.

Once we are clear on who we are, and how we think and feel, we can develop work relationships that are strong and long-lasting. In the article I note three essential skills all leaders should develop in order to create these high-quality relationships.

  1. Authenticity – knowing who we are is the first step, then being who we are all the time is the next.
  2. Safety – creating a safe environment with the team you lead, or work on, is essential. People will not be authentic with you unless you are also authentic, and they feel safe.
  3. Transparency – being forthright about the state of the business, and issues that arise, are also important. Sharing with the people you work with is important for them to feel included, and valued.

These three skills, of course, are also important for us to develop in our personal lives. It works like that. What we develop for ourselves, we end up developing for everyone around us.

Relationships with the Community and The Greater World

How we develop ourselves, and our relationships then goes out from us and into the community, and, yes, the greater world. When we create a focus on our inner development, people around us develop, and the community also develops. That is movement.

The movement is part of the way the relationship network, or system works. Here is a simple illustration that goes a bit further than the above referenced system image, showing that we are connected through everyone we know, ultimately, to all people.

By continuing to add more contexts into the above illustration, you can create more complexity in how the relationship system is interwoven.

Ultimately we are connected to everyone, and everything, and what we give out, comes back to us. All contexts are also connected, sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly, as the above illustration also shows.

Whether the connection is direct or indirect matters less, than the realization that all that we do on this planet as human beings touches each other in some way. Important.

Relationships are so important. Really. The relationship we have with ourselves is the starting point, and, as you can see, it is only the beginning of how we, as human beings, end up touching everyone and everything around us. Even when we don’t know about it.

These relationships and all that we give and get from them are crucial to moving society forward. Without them, there would be no movement.

Know that every action you take to develop and grow yourself also grows your family, friends, teams, organizations, communities, and the greater world.

Develop well.

#authenticity, #community, #connection, #developingourselves, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #emotionalintelligence, #grwoth, #leadership, #loveeachother, #loving-yourself, #relationships, #relationshipsystems, #safety, #theworld, #transparency, #weareallconnected, #workrelationships

7 Keys to Highly Effective Relationships

Photo by Henri Pham on Unsplash

This week I’ve been thinking more about relationships in general, and also more about the ones in my life. Relationships are so important. I’ve written several posts about relationships, and the importance of all of our relationships. Even the ones we don’t typically consider, or think about often.

Well, let’s consider them all; and, what makes up a highly-effective relationship. Do you know?

I think deep down we all know, yet, we often get confused in our relationships. Swayed by commitment, personal ties, expectations, memories we have, and emotions we feel.

Sometimes, then, we stay in relationships, against our best interest. Yep. Most of you reading this know about that, as do I. Happens to us all.

Let’s then consider some of the keys to highly-effective relationships. A guide of sorts. Now, there are many keys to highly-effective relationships. Dependent on your standpoint, some of these may resonate with you more than others. Yet, I’m sure you will see yourself, or someone you know in some of these.

7 Keys to Highly Effective Relationships

Reciprocity

Being in a relationship that is mutually reciprocal is important. Why? Because too often there are balance-issues in relationships. Meaning that one person is adding more value in the relationship than the other. What happens then?

When this happens, people can become resentful. This is especially true if the people in the relationship believe they must stay in the relationship at all costs. For some of you this might sound odd. Yet, believe me, people stay in relationships all the time that are not healthy, that are even toxic. Not helpful. Rather destructive.

Boundaries

The most effective relationships are those where there are clear distinctions between the two I’s that make up the relationship. In effect, in every relationship, there are three relationships. The one’s each individual has with themselves, and then the one they have together. 3 relationships.

And, all 3 of these relationships are important. When the relationship someone has with themselves is sacrificed for the partnered relationship, there is likely to be resentment, anger, and frustration. Again, not helpful.

Development

When in a relationship we should support our partners growth and development. Too often, however, relationships are founded on a set of principles, ideas, and expectations, that prohibit, or at least mitigate growth and development.

When this happens, it means that the people in the relationship are, in effect, limiting themselves, and each other without knowing it. And, when one of the individuals in the relationship embarks on a developmental trajectory that upsets this previously created foundation, there can be pain and discomfort. Difficult.

Integrity

Integrity is important in any highly-effective relationship. Integrity simply means doing what you say. Being your word. And, if you are out of integrity, to say so. You actively create a context, and conversation to let the people you are in relationship with know that you are out of integrity. That’s it.

It is important because humans are often out of integrity. Happens to us all. Think about a time you committed to be at a meeting, and you were late; or, committed to be at a restaurant at a certain time, yet were late. Two simple examples. And, they happen to us all.

Being out of integrity does not automatically mean that there is a problem or an issue; what it means is that there is a need to communicate about a change to the commitment that was made. Think of the two aforementioned examples, to continue to be “in integrity” a call about being late is all that is needed. Pretty simple, really.

Inspiration

How does it feel when you are inspired? Pretty good, right? Yep. Well, as I’ve written about in other posts, inspiration comes from within. It is our job to create inspiration; and, being in relationship with someone that lives an inspired life can create more inspiration.

If someone you are in relationship with is not living this way, it can lead to confusion, conflict, and possible resentment. Better to be clear about this from the outset.

Further, it doesn’t mean that you will both find the same things inspirational; maybe, yet not necessarily. Being with someone that leads an inspired life, is less about being mutually inspired by the same things, though that is possible. It is more about understanding what living an inspired life is about. Looking for ways to grow individually and together. Fun.

Communication

How important is communication in your life? Yep, pretty important. In fact, it is one of the most important keys to a highly-effective relationship. Why? Because when we are communicating, we are in a relationship; and, when we are not communicating, we are not in a relationship. Simple.

And, when I write communication, I am not talking about saying good morning, and good night. Or, even, how was your day. That’s not it. Communication means you are talking about your hopes and dreams, and having hard and difficult conversations about how to move them forward.

These conversations can be very difficult; yet, being in relationship with someone is not supposed to be easy. If your relationships are easy, chances are you are simply living each day as you did the previous one; and, this is not a judgement. I lived this way for most of my life, which is why I know the difference.

Being in relationship with someone, means being in communication with them. A must.

Authenticity

It is also important to be who you are. When we are in a relationship where we have to be someone other than who we are, think of performance, there will be a tendency for disagreement, unhealthy conflict, and resentment.

We all change over time, even if we are not interested in change. Change is a part of being human. When we are interested in change, we may change even more. Regardless, being in a relationship where you can be who you are, at whatever stage of development you are is important.

Being who you are doesn’t mean that you are always in agreement in your relationship. In fact, there may be disagreement often. It does, however, mean that you are supported, and advocated for. Important.

In Closing

Know that there are many important aspects to highly-effective relationships. Yep, some of the ones you are thinking about did not make the list. Maybe they’ll make a future list. Don’t know.

What is more important is to know that the 7 in this post are important; and, if you’ve never considered one or more of them as important, you can now do so, if you choose. Your choice.

Now, how to put them into action? A few examples.

Putting the 7 Keys into Action in Your Life

  • Reciprocity
    • Notice when your relationship is not reciprocal. When it is out of balance, ask why, first of yourself, and then of your partner. What can be done to create more balance? Again, first of yourself, and then of your partner. Asking these questions will create a context for open communication.
  • Boundaries
    • Create them, and talk about them. We all need our own time, away from all things and everyone. When you’ve created a boundary, you must talk about it, or else your partner will not know about it. And, when it is transgressed, by you, or your partner, get back on track and put the boundry back in place.
  • Development
    • Openly communicate about the support you need. As often as needed. And, if you are not getting the support you need. First question yourself. Are you supporting yourself and your partners development? If you are, ask for that same support. If you are not, start there.
  • Integrity
    • When you are out of integrity, talk about it. Openly communicate when things change, or get in the way. Don’t hide from it. And, if you do, make sure to talk about it at some point. Better to be open and openly communicate than hold something that is causing confusion or a possible misunderstanding.
  • Inspiration
    • Create inspiration for yourself, first, and always. Ask questions of your partner – what inspires them? How do they find their inspiration? And, what do they do with that inspiration? And, share your inspiration. Once known, inspiration can become something that is talked about often.
  • Communication
    • Create contexts for open communication often. Especially when a difficult conversation is needed. Hiding from a difficult conversation will only make it more difficult for everyone. Communicate openly and often.
  • Authenticity
    • Be who you are, in whatever iteration you are in. Remember, being in a relationship is a choice. A choice for you, and your partner. Sometimes, it will be best to leave the relationship than sacrifice your true self.

As you think about your relationships, always remember that we are in many relationships in our personal and professional lives. Some of these keys may resonate more with you from a professional perspective, and some more from a personal one.

Either way, if you feel stagnated in your relationship, try one of these keys. If not these, then try something new. For, it is in the trying and doing of something new that we can create the change we feel we need, yet are often unsure of how to achieve.

Try, do, be, and live well.

#authenticity, #boundaries, #communication, #development, #highly-effective-relationships, #inspiration, #integrity, #reciprocity, #relationships, #taking-action

Living a Transformational Life: Authenticity and Vulnerability

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

This week I’ve been reflecting upon authenticity and vulnerability and their relationship with transformation. Though I’ve been reflecting upon authenticity, vulnerability, and transformation in regard to the team I work with, it is impossible to consider these concepts without considering the individual. They are completely interconnected. You cannot have one without the other. They reinforce each other.

I spent many years thinking I was authentic and vulnerable, however, that authenticity and vulnerability were always lived out within a limited framework. When things got too scary, I would withdraw, or hide. Know that many people live this way, some are aware, some are not. I was not aware for a long time.

Being authentic means living in all of your contexts the same way. Where you show up the same no matter what you are doing. Many people have performances for work, for home, for friends, etc. Just like I did. However, to live a completely authentic life, you perform the same way in every context. You are the you that you know yourself to be everywhere and with everyone.

Of course, being authentic in this way, can be uncomfortable for you, and for those around you. Especially if the people around you have a particular view of you that they are attached to, and you are not showing up as they expect you to. However, when you are living an authentic life, and are being true to yourself, you are beginning to live a life without limits.

Limitations are superimposed by ourselves on ourselves when we are trying to live up to a standard that someone else has set for us, whether that be parents, caretakers, partners, or peers. When you remove these limits, by living authentically, you create new possibilities for your life. And, you also create new possibilities for those around you.

Know that those around you may not always want to partake in these new possibilities, especially if they are living in the past, waiting for you to show up in the performance of you that they expect of you. However, that is their expectation, and need not be yours. You can live an authentic life. It is not easy, yet it is there to be lived, and it is transformational.

Living a transformational life, opens you up to a whole new possibility. The possibility of stepping out into the world knowing that there is far more to learn than you could ever know. More, it is actively seeking contexts where you can experience the many things you don’t know. Especially when that learning makes you uncomfortable, which, for me, is the height of being vulnerable.

When we are vulnerable we provide ourselves the opportunity to learn as much as we can while we are living on this planet. And, we also create the possibility that those closest to us also get to live a life full of that same possibility. A life without limitations.

Again, those closest to us may not want to live a life without limitations. For a life without limitations can also be difficult. When you are open to all new things, new ideas, new ways of being and doing, you develop and iterate as an individual. And, when you are around people that do not develop with you, you can find it harder to be compatible with those people, and they you. Difficult.

Yet, this difficulty, is also transformational. It is transformational because through these difficulties you will learn a lot about who you are, and who other people are. I am grateful for those people in my life that actively resist the person I am today. They help me understand more about myself, more about them, and more about humanity in general.

You will also have those people in your life that want to develop with you. Also a transformational experience. Getting to see people develop around you is one of the most exceptional experiences I’ve ever had. It is inspiring, and insightful.

And, when you are around people that are interested in your development, actively participate in it, and develop themselves alongside you, you also get to develop together. Reciprocal development like this, breeds transformation.

Living an authentic and vulnerable life can be difficult, however, the experience you get out of living this kind of life is more than worth while. In fact, I would say that the difficulty, uncomfortability, pain, and uneasiness in venturing into the unknown is really what living life is all about.

For, it is in the experiences we have where our heart rate increases, and sweat beads on our brow, where we know we are truly living. Living an authentic, vulnerable, and transformational life. And, that life awaits you. You just have to take that first step.

#authentic-life, #authenticity, #development, #inspiration, #self-development, #transformation, #transformational-life, #vulnerability