Think about this for a moment – All relationships are not important. If all relationships are important, no relationship will be important.
Developing and maintaining key relationships is a critical discipline if we are going to genuinely care for people, live out vision, and help others achieve their full potential.
Relationship development (especially with those closest to us) is not something you or I can simply check off of the to-do list. And it’s certainly not an exercise in convenience. Effective leaders genuinely value key relationships and make them top priority.
All about relationship
Sarah and I have scheduled a standing lunch date every Friday. Our lunch dates have become a time for us to push the pause button on the rest of the world and catch up with each other.
Last week we decided to eat a quick lunch and run a couple of errands together. From my perspective, this plan would require an abbreviated lunch to allow time for our errands. So we selected a restaurant and I asked her if she’d like for me to call ahead with our order so it would be ready when we arrived. Good plan, huh?
If you said yes, Sarah didn’t agree with us.
She responded, If you’re going to call ahead we might as well go through a drive-thru.
Since I sincerely had her in mind when I suggested streamlining the process, I asked her why it mattered if I called ahead. She reminded me that our Friday lunch dates are less about eating – and all about relationship. (So we went through the Chick-fil-A drive-thru – just kidding.)
Be all there
It took me several seconds to slow my thought process – and enter the moment with her. She is important to me – my most treasured relationship in the world. So why would I want to rush this one afternoon which we set aside to enjoy our time together?
Important relationships will not grow when we’re in a hurry. In fact, these relationships will become strained and fall apart if we approach them without intention. There are no shortcuts in relationships. So leave the phone in the car. Forget about email, Facebook, andTwitter. It’ll be there when you get back.
Listen. Laugh. Love. Wherever you are, be all there. – Jim Elliot
We chose a table out on the porch of one of our favorite cafes in Clemson. Sitting in the cool breeze, we laughed about our differing perspectives. While we talked, I scribbled down these thoughts on the back of my receipt. (I know, I was supposed to be in the moment with Sarah.)
It didn’t really matter that our order took extraordinarily long to make it to the table. Or that this restaurant cost a few more dollars than drive-thru alternative – it was worth it! Because I value her – and I value our relationship.
Prioritizing key relationships will cost you. Relationships require time when it’s inconvenient. They require more money when there’s not much. They keep you awake when you’re exhausted. And, they’re worth it!
Because those few relationships that you value most – whether family, friends, or colleagues – will become those which bring the greatest fulfillment in life.
So create more perfect moments with those who are most important – when time stands still and, at that moment, they realize that they are the most important person in the world.
How do you give make sure that you are giving your full attention to key relationships?