When I was younger, I took great pride in having friends and relationships since I was five years old. Over the past few years, and especially since I turned 60 years old, I realized that all relationships are not worth cherishing. However, those that are worth it require five major things to be successful: commitment, communication, compromise, compassion and consistency! I would add a sixth “c” when I talk about personal relationships...companionship.
The Importance of Commitment in Relationships
It is ultimately up to you how you prioritize these key ingredients, but commitment is very important in relationships. When there is a high level of commitment for both parties, a vested interest, the relationships will survive basic human ideoscencrises. Little things that a person does that you do not like will irritate you but it will not be a deciding factor to the longevity of your relationship. Your love and desire to be with that person in a personal relationship will survive their irritating or annoying behavior(s). Your business success and desire will be stronger than these behaviors in your business relationship.
The Impact of Communication
I have lost several relationships in the past because of lack of communication, not on my part, but on theirs. They refused to communicate what was going on with them. They began acting different, being rude, disrespectful in public and starting making unfounded accusations. I valued their friendship and our relationship so I tried to meet with them to discuss what was going on, however I realized, after a couple of times of doing that with people, it was not working. The person holding the grudge, misinformation or pain must want to clear up the confusion. There are many people walking around mad at people because they never communicated with the person they are upset with or misunderstand. The key to effective communication is being open to listen to the other person and sharing how they made you feel when they did whatever they did to you. I try not to let things build up inside of me because 1) Being at peace is important to me 2) Communicating with a person who has hurt you helps both of you. They know you are hurt and you get to release the stress and pain by sharing your feelings. Great business relationships have these communication acumen,
The Art of Compromise
Yes, compromise is an art. I had to learn that to be able to be happy in my personal relationships and to build successful business relationship (ie strategic partnerships). As a business woman for over 40 years, I realized that I loss some great partners because I did not compromise effective when working together as both powerful people. People do not supporting what you do as long as they can see how they benefit also. Benchmark International defines a strategic partner as another business entity in which you develop a plan or agreement to share resources with the mission of growth and mutual success. Achieving mutual success is the art of compromise in business. It is knowing when to agree to disagree and giving in to your partner because peace is more important than winning every debate, especially if it will not effect you negatively.
The Power of Compassion
Compassion is vital to relationships. It is about sympathy and empathy. Sympathy means you can relate to what the other person is going through and empathy means you understand but there are still expectations in the relationship although you have gone through something. It helps the person you love or have a business relationship with know that you can provide nonjudgmental support to them. You will not come back and use what they told you against them. Providing compassion can be difficult because I am guilty of throwing something up that was shared with me during a person’s vulnerable state. As I have matured, I have learned to avoid doing that because I know how I felt when my love one or business partner did the same thing. It requires practice. If you do bring it back up, make sure you are using it to encourage them to use that past experience to help them make better decisions this time.
The Vital Role of Consistency
Consistency is vital in anything you do if you want to achieve a high level of success in it. Relationships are no different. As the old adage go, “Consistency is the Key!” Women always look for consistency in their personal relationships with a love interest because men are known to “woo” them, pull out all the stops during the courtship, but show their true self after three to six months in a relationship. As I matured, I began to watch consistency before I totally gave my heart to a man. If they were not consistent in something that was very important to me, especially things I felt were non-negotiable, that was a deal-breaker. I end two engagements because I noticed behavior changes. When I brought it up a few times and their attitude about it was nonchalant, I knew I could not leave the rest of my life with them. I recently wrote a segment about consistency in business in BOSS Up: 4 Strategies to Leverage Your Business as a Boss. Consistency is the difference between making a few thousand dollars a month to ten of thousands times that amount. Consistency is simply about habits formed that changes people perception of who you are and what you can do...it all goes back to your level of commitment to your business and your relationships.
Companionship with Your Mate (the plus one)
I must admit, I have longed for a companion that understood me, loved me and wanted to be with me. Who would provide nonjudgmental support, be consistent, want to communicate, be willing to compromise and showed compassion for things I shared with them. After three marriages (twice to same man), 2 engagements, and several perceived great relationships, I finally thought I hit the jackpot. We had declared each other our “lifetime partners.” We spent time together on the weekend, we saw each other for a little while during the week, we enjoyed our time together and we made each other feel important, loved and happy, so I thought. I also thought we recognized our differences, allowed each other to be authentically who we were and communicated our concerns so we could come up with a compromise that worked for both of us. I thought he was consistent, reliable and eagerly let everyone important in his life know how important I was to him. However, I discovered he had lied to me from day one. All the things I thought we had, we didn't, however I know if we did we would still be together. If we had kept all of the 5Cs in tact in our relationship, we would have experienced amazingly fabulous companionship continuously and you can to with your mate.
At this point in my life, I have decided not to waste time. I will only invest 90 days with a potential mate. I will accept them for who they are and if they can not give me unconditional love, honesty and represent the 5 C's, I will let them know and move on, that is how much I believe in the 5 C's plus one!
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I am Dr. JoAnn Ajayi-Scott.