3 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Building Relationships

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Photo by Liz Weddon on Unsplash

I originally conceived of this topic and the associated article as one for business. An article about how to create deep connections with the people we work with, and the people we’d like to work with.

However, after reflecting upon it throughout the day, it occurred to me that this topic is applicable to everyone. Why?

Well, relationships are the cornerstone of life. Really. Think about all of the people in your life. You have people that are very close to you, friends and family, work associates and colleagues, and, maybe a little further from you, aquantinaces, clients, and neighbors, to name a few.

And, connecting, really connecting with these people, all of them, requires understanding ourselves.

Understanding why we do the things we do, why we feel the way we do, and think the way we think. Knowing ourselves. Why?

Because in order to connect deeply with another human being we must know ourselves first. Then, we can know them; and, know them as deeply as we know ourselves. If, however, we only know ourselves on the surface, we will only ever know them in the same way. Not a deep connection then.

Alright, let’s take a look at three things you can do to build deeper connections with the people that are currently in your life, and the ones that will show up in the future. Ready? Let’s go.

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Photo by Mike Clark on Unsplash

1. Know Your Why

Remember being little where everything we saw, thought, and felt was done with a sense of wonder and amazement? Yep, me too. Well, does life still feel that way to you? If not, don’t worry, it’s not a demerit; and, you are not alone.

As we grow older, we lose some of that wonder and amazement. Yet, we can intentionally create opportunities to get it back. How?

First, we must get back in touch with the things that drive us. You know, the reasons that get us up in the morning. And, I’m not talking about intellectual reasons. Nope.

I’m talking about those things deep within us that make us the person we are today. Can you feel them? If not, don’t worry. They are there, and you can get back in touch with them.

In the post, 3 Reasons Why Creating Alignment With Your Why Is Important; And, 3 Simple Steps to Create Your Why, I walk through three simple steps you can take to create your why. If you’ve not created one, create one; if you have one, maybe take a look at it again. Why?

It’s important to connect deeply with that why, or to reconnect with it if it’s been a while. When we reconnect with the why of why we do what we do, we are actually reconnecting with the vision we have of ourselves as human beings. And, in that moment, we create new possibilities. Really.

Photo by Danica Tanjutco on Unsplash

When we know who we are, what we are up to in life, we can share that with others. We can touch someone else with the passion we have for life. Just like when we were little.

The reason people connect with children, watch them, smile at them, want to be around them, is that, to them, everything is a wonder.

They are a wonder. Everything is amazing. And, reconnecting with your why can move you in that direction.

Further, when you reconnect with yourself on that level, you can now connect with someone else at that level. Sharing something of yourself that, in some cases, as it was for me for a long time, was buried underneath other intellectual ideas, concepts, and pursuits.

Remember one thing. People are not moved by their intellect, or by their head, they are moved by their emotional-center, or ther heart.

Now, you may be wondering, alright, I’ve got my why, then what? Well, now you can create a statement about your why. Something that you can share with those close to you and those that are further removed from you. Anyone really.

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2. Create Your Personal Mission Statement

A personal mission statement is something you can create, which declares why you are doing what you are doing; it will also give the people you are connecting with a sense of who you are as a human being. Example? Sure.

Here is my why.

To increase access to higher education for everyone.

Right, yet there is more to it. Yep. Here, then, is also part of my why.

Develop leaders, inspire creativity, and assist with personal transformation.

Okay, so now lets fashion a personal mission statement. Ready? Okay, here we go.

To increase access to higher education for everyone, and to develop leaders, inspire creativity, and assist with personal transformation.

Hm, that’s not quite right. It has the components, yet is not really getting at the crux of the why. Let’s try again. Here we go.

To increase access to higher education for everyone, while also working with students and clients to develop their leadership skills, expand their creative potential, and assist in their personal transformation.

Closer. The point? That there is no one way to create a why, or a personal mission statement. They are yours, and should be created by you for you to share with others when you choose, and how you choose. Simple.

You must simply create from within you. Important. If you don’t, and it is something that you don’t really believe in, well, you will know, and so will everyone else. Believe me. They will know if it is not sincere.

And, really, the point is to deepen your connection with yourself, first, and then with other people. You want it to be real. Real from your heat to the hearts of others.

Alright, you’ve got your why and you’ve created a personal mission statement, now what? A reminder.

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3. Understand that Relationships are Everything

In the post, Creating and Maintaining Relationships: What else is there?, I write about understanding that every relationship in our life is important. All of them. That, in fact, everything we do, everything, is about the relationship we have with ourselves, first, and then with everyone else.

Remember the relationships system? Looks like this.


There we go. Alright, so as you can see from the above system, everything we do starts with us. Everything. And, then as you move from the center circle, out to each corresponding circle, all that we do, goes out to those closest to us, first, and then to those that are further from us.

And, what do they get from you? From me for a time, they got cynicism. Yep. Not a judgement, just the reality as it was, not as it is today. Today?

They get everything I can give them, just as I do for myself, including the why of what I do each and every day.

The coolest thing about sharing your why, your passion, purpose, whatever you want to call it, with others is that they then get to know you on a level that will inspire them. Really.

Think about the people in your life that inspire you. What do they do? I bet they are up to all kinds of cool things, creating change, transforming themselves, working at changing the world. One step at a time.

And, you know the second coolest thing about sharing your why with someone else? You get to learn about their why. Yep. You get to know them on a level that might not have been previously available.

These deep connections are what drive people together. Actually the more appropriate language here, would be that they pull people together. Pulled by inspiring ideas, yes, and by inspiring actions.

Inspiring people to be all they can be is a pretty cool thing; and, guess what? You can be a part of that kind of connection anytime. You can create it. Yep. How? Well, as I’ve mentioned it all starts with you.

Why do you do what you do?

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An Inquiry and Invitation Series 2: The Art of Conversation?

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Have you ever considered what makes up a good conversation? I’ve been thinking about it some this week, so am going to inquire and see what I get, and also invite you to participate. Here we go.

Let’s ask some questions first to guide the inquiry.

  1. What are some of the different types of conversations?
  2. What types of contexts do conversations take place in, and how do contexts contribute to the quality of a conversation? Or do they?
  3. Is it possible to gain conversational expertise, or are conversations always byproducts of organically created contexts? Or, is it both?

Alright, let’s consider these questions, and then see if more questions arise as we inquire into the art of conversations.

1. What are some of the different types of conversations?

I have never really considered this question before. For most of my life, I generally assumed that conversations were generally the same. Yes, the context does contribute to the conversation, which we will look at next.

However, I’ve never really separated out different types of conversations. How many can we come up with?

  • Individual conversations – not sure if conversing with ourselves counts, yet we all do it in some iteration, so it seems like it should make the list.
  • Two-person conversations – common. Conversations with one other person. Maybe, the most common?
  • Tripartite conversations – a different dynamic. Many different kinds of things can occur in these conversations, from mutual agreement, to dissention, and even chaos.
  • Group conversations – more than three people. Group conversations can be unwieldy, and also cohesively arranged. An apparent paradox, yet maybe not.
  • Familial conversations – more intimate, and known. More comfortable for some, however, for others maybe more uncomfortable. Depends on the family, and the people in the various relationships. Lots of dynamics here.
  • Team conversations – a different type of conversation altogether. Conversations that happen on teams can vary, from individual, to two-person, tripartite, and even in some contexts familial. All kinds of possibilities here.

Now that we’ve looked at different types of conversations, let’s take a look at how contexts change the nature of these conversations.

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2. What types of contexts do conversations take place in, and how do contexts contribute to the quality of a conversation? Or do they?

There are many types of contexts that conversations take place in. How many can you think of? It may seem a bit weird to consider this, however to me, that means that it should be considered. For it is inside those things that we often do not consider that new insights may be hiding.

Here are some contexts.

  • Home – we have various conversations at home, with ourselves, our kids, partners, neighbors, and friends. All of which contribute to the people we are. Yep. Have you ever thought about a conversation that way? They do. We all have a little bit of those around us living inside of us. Inevitable.
  • Work – we also have various conversations at work. Some are with our peers, direct reports, other colleagues, and customers and clients. Each of these contexts is quite different. Very similar to conversations we have at home. And, yes, these conversations and the people in them also contribute to who we are.
  • Traveling – we also have conversations when we are out in the world, doing whatever it is we do. Even simple erranding can provide a context ripe for conversation. Depends on where you are going, and what you are doing. When we are on vacation, or on a trip, we also have conversations. They may be simple and transactional, or they may be more meaningful. Also depends.

There are a few contexts then that support various types of conversation. And, each of these contexts and the people in them do contribute to the quality of the conversation, and to the context that is developed in that conversation. Both.

I’ve written several posts about creating and maintaining relationships; and quality conversations are a product of the relationships we have, and the contexts we navigate. Both.

Further, as was aforementioned, the people that we are in conversation and relationship with also contribute to the people we are. Has always been that way, and will always be that way.

It is one reason why the relationships we have, and the conversations we create in those relationships are so very important.

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3. Is it possible to gain conversational expertise, or are conversations always byproducts of organically created contexts? Or, is it both?

We are all involved in both organically created contexts where conversations just occur, as well as contexts that we create to engage in conversation. It is definitely both. Here is a fun question.

Which conversations are the most productive and enjoyable – those that are organic, or those that are intentionally created?

Depends. Really. Recently I was shopping at the local market, and out of nowhere someone asked me whether I liked a particular plant-based “yogurt” over another. For me, it was a simple question, simple answer.

However, the other person was seeking more information, quality insights. They recently switched to a plant-based diet, and were wondering which was truly the best.

In this example, the conversation takes on two distinct perspectives. For one person, me, the conversation was simple. Question and answer. I didn’t get much and didn’t expect much from the conversation.

However, the other person was taking the conversation much more seriously. For them, they were seeking to better understand something they had little expertise in; and, they trusted, because I was buying one of the plant-based “yogurts,” that I might provide insight.

An interesting thing to think about. Conversations then are also a product of how we perceive them, and a product of what we want or need to get out of them.

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And, some people in a conversation may not perceive the conversation as valuable, while others may find the conversation highly valuable. Interesting.

I do believe it is possible to gain conversational expertise inside of your own development if that is something you are working on. Yes. Becoming a better conversationalist is really all about practice.

The more you practice conversing with people, in all contexts, the more comfortable, and seasoned you will become. More robust conversations will follow.

Good conversations then are a product of several different things.

  • Your own perspective about the conversation.
  • What you want to get out of the conversation.
  • The context of the conversation.
  • The people in the conversation.
  • The type of conversation.

I believe that a “good conversation” really depends on the context and the people in that conversation.

How do we perceive it, what do we want or need to get out of it, did we get what we expected, or did we maybe get more?

Alright, that’s what we’ve discovered thus far, yet I know there is more. Here then is my invitation to you.

An Invitation

I will ask a few questions to get you started, however, please feel free to create and answer a question that strikes you as more important in regard to good conversations.

  • What do you consider a good conversation?
  • What contexts do you have the best conversations in?
  • What types of conversation do you enjoy most?

And, here is where I say adieu. Have a wonderful day, and live, love, and be well.

#conversation, #conversation-tips, #conversational-contexts, #conversational-expectations, #conversational-expertise, #conversations-at-home-and-at-work, #good-conversations, #high-quality-conversations, #inquiring-into-conversations, #organic-conversations, #relationship-conversations, #types-of-conversations, #work-conversations