Five Questions To Improve Your Everyday Relationships (A Recipe for Growth)
Have you done an “audit” of the relationships in your life, and how they impact you?
It’s summertime, which in our family means the opportunity to grow and cultivate our vegetable garden! Last year was a bit of a disappointment, and so this year we invested a lot more time reworking the soil and foundation of our garden. Every few days, my wife also fertilizes, trims, waters, and manages any bug infestations or plant diseases.
It’s made a huge difference! Check out the progression of our plants below:
Normally around this time of year, I think about areas of my life where I need to grow in terms of my personal character. However, this time around I’ve been thinking about something different. I’ve been reflecting on how a big part of my growth has to do with the people around me. After all, I’ve seen countless leaders who want to make a healthy choice in their lives, but end up being negatively influenced by a friend or coworker.
So I had the idea to do a relationship “audit,” where I take a closer look at the people in my life. Here are a few questions I’m asking myself:
Who are the people I interact with on a daily basis?
Who are the people I interact with every week?
How do these people influence me, for good and for bad?
Do I have someone I talk with every week, in whom I can confide? How many people am I leading or mentoring, compared to how many people are mentoring or advising me?
This is a very simple exercise that can be rather eye-opening. I might discover, for instance, that I’m really missing spending time with peers. Or I might find that my daily environment is filled with negativity stemming from a couple of individuals.
Of course, once we do an “audit” of our relationships, we’re not victims and have some choices we can make. Here are two more questions we can ask ourselves:
What kind of relationship adjustments might I need to make?
Do I need to arrange for a short weekly phone call with a good friend? Do I need to set up 1-2 more advisors or mentors in my leadership, so that I can continue to invest in my growth?
How can I learn and use the negative influences in my life, for positive growth?
After all, there are many relationships that we cannot pick and choose – and for some leaders, their workplace or family can often be the most challenging environments. What kinds of goals and character lessons can I take from those challenges… patience? Resilience? Learning how to resolve conflict? The possibilities go on.
After all, relationships – whether spiritual or human – can be seen as the foundation for our growth, much like in our vegetable garden. If we pay attention to that foundation, it can lead to much fruit in the long-term. Here’s some of our harvest from this year:
I hope that the five questions listed above help, as you reflect and set goals for your own leadership growth this year. If you want to explore this topic more, the sixth chapter in Facing the Demands of Leadership discusses how we can “initiate growth.” Thanks for reading!