Relationship conflict—I’ll take much less, thank you. Isn’t that what most people generally say? However, are your actions and words consistent? Wow, do I have your attention now? Let’s face it; everyone wants a reasonable return on their relationship investment (ROI). In order to receive any return, investment is the first important secret. Just how much investment have you made lately?
Be honest now; have your relationship investments just been the bare minimum to get the return that you want? If so, you know that you are not leaving any room for error, and we all error sometimes. By not leaving any margin for error, you can be assured of conflict sooner, than later. What I’m suggesting is that you re-evaluate your relationship investment strategy and embrace the idea of frequent relationship bank deposits. Build up a relationship contingency account for those times when you screw up—because you know you are going to screw up sometime.
Lose the Blinders and Focus on Others
When you only keep your focus on your needs, you can be assured that everyone else notices, especially the people that are important to you. So what’s a person with needs to do? The simple answer is to give, give, and give again. The more complex answer is for you to figure out what really matters to the persons in your life, which you care about and try to help them get what they need. Reciprocity is a wonderful and mysterious truth. When you help others to get what they need and want, they will experience a continual nagging feeling of loyalty, beholding, and allegiance toward you. While you can assign any name you want to this dynamic, it is nonetheless real. Lean into the idea and you’ll repeatedly be amazed at how it benefits you.
It’s Okay to be Healthily Selfish
Yes, I’ll admit it—this is my personal Achilles heal in life. Recently, a friend for whom I have enormous respect, Alan Weiss, told me, “Ed,you have to be much more healthily selfish in regards to your professional life.” He did not tell me to be more narcissistic, but rather not to forget about making sure that I receive value for my knowledge, effort, and results in helping others. I believe that there is a huge difference between the two; most people are weary of the narcissistic person while sub-consciously drawn to the healthily selfish person. When you are self-absorbed, few desire to be around you. However, when you are an active player in life, you become a magnet ROI.
Look for Every Opportunity to Serve Others
This is where the convergence of the above occurs. When you have a healthy mindset, great self-esteem and confidence, and truly desire to make relationship investments; this is the mental playground for developing outrageously successful relationships. I have preached from the podium, for over two decades, that partnerships, alliances, and relationships must be a two-way conduit for value delivery. I have admonished audiences around the world that they have both give value and receive value in order for any kind of a relationship to continue in the long-term. I truly believe that you have to give first. Why is this so? Because you were the person smart enough to figure it out—that’s why. And this is why I repeatedly state, “Look for every opportunity to serve others.” Do more than just look; find those opportunities and act on them. It is the correct action that delivers outrageously successful relationships.
Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.