As I blog for the first time on this new site, I am reminded of how I got here.  Everyone must admit at some juncture they are a result of their environment.  We are at times true reflections of parents, teachers and coaches.  It is hard to admit but anything we accomplish is not done alone.  Boy, for me that’s even hard to write.  Noting that you have depended on others is not what’s sold, sometimes what is coached and the framework of success.

However success is relationships.  A relationship is success.

For many including me there is the wrestle between the forces of “I don’t want any help” and “I want it my way”.

Somewhere along the way the realizations of life hit.  Your parents do not appear as wrong as they appeared in the teenage years.  Your presumed crazy professor with one button on his sweater probably had it right when he would repeat,

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply”.

Coaches along the way were great philosophers when they would say “I wish I could come back to play and be a part of a team like this”.

What we know from business and healthcare research is relationships in all facets of life are vital – spouse, patient, business associate and even competitor.  Most of the  esteemed entrepreneurs can be described in many different ways – power hungry, narcissistic, self-focused, temperamental.   Each only reached new heights when they began to understand relationship power:  Patriots coach Bill Belichick has Tom Brady, President Reagan had his wife Nancy, Microsoft’s Bill Gates had cofounder Steve Allen .  Even Steve Jobs came to realize he needed others in the many derivations of Apple.

Practicing relationship development has long been noted as a life skill.  Dale Carnegie first wrote it in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.  Here are the skills I am still practicing and I encourage others to wedge these skills into their day.

1) Be Humble – relaying that you are not the focus.  Let others be the focus of conversations, business debate and especially with spouses or significant others be humble and learn to pause when it becomes about you.

2) Avoid Complaining – every time you complain of a person, situation, or plight that you have detracts from any relationship you are trying to form.  Generally human beings don’t like other human beings talking negative in any respect – even about others.

3) Smile – physiologically in any situation of loss, grief, embarrassment, argument or aggression smiling eases the environment, reduces respiration rate, mitigates heart rate response and releases well being serotonin.

4) Get Others to Talk of Themselves – no greater way to build a new relationship than to ask questions of others and give them space and time to give answers and elaborate.  Let them talk of their history, their family, their loves, their failures.

5) Admit Mistakes – this can sound good but admitting mistakes only works if you are genuinely taking responsibility for a failure or impairment.  Truly owning the mistake is critical to positive equity in relationships.

6) Aim to Not Win an Argument – come to the realization that there is no equity in winning an argument – when another person loses, a relationships is impacted.  Ultimately wins end up being losses.

I too am a work in progress and training relationships is very much like Ironman triathlon training – it is long, it is multi-disciplined and it is never over.