Have you ever heard the saying ‘you get out of life what you put into it’?
Better yet, how about ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’?
Everyone has heard these sayings at some point in their life. But how can you apply these sayings to relationships?
‘I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.’ – Walter Cronkite
This quote and principle applies very well to functioning relationships. Simply, the success you achieve in relationships will be proportionate to the quality and quantity of the effort you put in. If you do everything it takes to make a functioning relationship work, it probably will. This will not be easy as relationships are not static. Once we are in a relationship, we still have to work at it as people’s personalities and circumstances evolve with time. Also challenges are all around us, testing our relationships and helping us to build our character and strengthen our fortitude. Sometimes we might fail with someone. It is how we pick ourselves up and move forward one step at a time that will determine the success in our relationships. ‘No matter how many times I break down, there is always a little piece of me that says ‘NO, you are not done yet. Get BACK UP!’
‘The greatest human quality is that of becoming unstoppable. And you become unstoppable by refusing to quit, no matter what happens.‘ – Brian Tracy
Relationships are fundamental to our personal evolution. We are all in relationships in one form or another and we talk about them endlessly. If we are not mothers, we are fathers or daughters or sons or brothers or sisters or friends or work colleagues and often multiples of these.
What is the importance of relationships?
Simply, they provide opportunities to keep in touch with our emotions and with the emotions of others such as joy, a sense of connectedness and fulfillment. And if they don’t work, we feel frustrated, unhappy and possibly alone.
You might ask, what is the reason for all this?
The answer lies in our human needs. We have the need to share our successes, stories, projects, adventures, inspiration, frustration and pain just to mention a few. If we don’t share, we feel that something or more likely someone is missing from our life.
We have all come across people who say that to help another person move their life forward is one of the most rewarding experiences. I strongly believe that there is nothing more gratifying than helping people achieve their goals and to see them glowing with a new sense of their own possibilities. I am sure that most of you will agree with me.
Think for a moment, can we start a family by ourselves?
With whom do we build a successful business, pursue projects and share ideas?
There will always be exceptions, but most of us will spend time with friends, families and work colleagues. The reality is that we cannot live without others. This is not an easy concept to accept as we love to think we are independent. If you speak with successful people in any arena of life and business, they will state that much of their success is determined by who they work with. In short, we depend on each other.
Think about humankind’s history. From the beginning of what we know, till now, humans have always looked for unity and companionship as families, communities, teams, friends and colleagues. Our ancestors understood that a unified group made them stronger and more able to achieve common goals. Even today, our lives are centered on supporting, inspiring and sharing with each other. After thousands of years and advancements in many areas of our lives, we still need to fulfill the same necessity of being in relationships.
Then, if this is the reality, why are many relationships not so easy?
That’s the tricky part. ‘Where there is no struggle there is no strength‘ – Oprah Winfrey. This is a very powerful quote; I attached it to my fridge so I never forget to make more effort in my relationships and my goals. In my life I have felt the pain of mistakes I have made, but ultimately it has made me wiser and stronger! You have to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone when you meet obstacles along the way. See it as an opportunity to become more and to achieve more in your life. All the effort we employ in accomplishing our goals is not in vain, it makes us resilient and each minor success energizes us and gives us the strength to keep going. When we attain our goals with the help of others then I can assure you, the joy, satisfaction, gratitude and fulfillment are limitless. When we spend time with others simply interacting, our lives are more enjoyable and the memories last in our hearts forever. ‘You can talk with someone for years, everyday, and still, it won’t mean as much as when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known that person forever…. connections are made with the heart, not the tongue.” ― C. Joybell. This quote illustrates well our need to bond with others.
The above quote also differentiates between communication and connection. We communicate verbally, through the written word and with our body language but we connect with our hearts. When our feelings and emotions are involved, we are better able to understand what it is to be in another person’s shoes.
Here is an example of a beautiful passage: ‘Sometimes in life, you find a special friend. Someone who changes your life just by being a part of it. Someone who makes you laugh until you can’t stop. Someone who makes you believe that there really is good in the world. Someone who convinces you that there really is an unlocked door just waiting for you to open it. This is forever friendship. When you’re down and the world seems dark and empty, your forever friend lifts you up in spirit and makes that dark and empty world suddenly seem bright and full. Your forever friend gets you through the hard times, the sad times and the confused times. If you turn and walk away, your forever friend follows. If you lose your way, your forever friend guides you and cheers you on. Your forever friend holds your hand and tells you that everything is going to be okay. And if you find such a friend, you feel happy and complete because you need not worry. You have a forever friend, and forever has no end.’
So, who knows you?
When we connect we develop a deeper level of relationship. This is true of not only friendships and families but the world of business has recently begun to see the powerful value of it too. In fact, I have often heard at business events and seminars that the currency of this century is connection and not money. This is reflected by the fact that companies are increasingly engaging in network events in order to make connections with other businesses with the aim of being mutually beneficial.
When I think about relationships, my starting point is to remember that everything we have learnt came to us through someone else’s hands. At our best, we pass on this borrowed existence to others, enhanced by our own contribution. At our worst, we waste and misuse it. I have decided to pass mine. I feel my life has been an amazing journey. I have learnt a lot from every person I have met along the way, many of whom have touched my life and heart in unforgettable ways.
You have to wake up every morning and ask yourself:
How much do you want this relationship?
How much work are you willing to put in for the people you want and need in your life?
What are you willing to give up in pursuit of your dream?
Nothing great comes without effort. But I promise you that if it’s something of great meaning in your heart and something you need in your life…EVERY risk, EVERY step, EVERY tear and EVERY drop of sweat will be WORTH IT!
We are all in the same game of life, just different levels. No matter what level you are at, if you really want to be successful in both relationships and other areas of your life follow your heart and passion but temper it with logic. You don’t need to be afraid of the mistakes you made in previous relationships and the ones you are going to make in the future. These are all part of your journey to reach your destination. Also remember that sometimes you need to pause to reflect and fully appreciate the people you meet along the way who enrich your life and assist you in becoming a better you. Even if you might find someone who at first appears destructive, they may have important lessons to teach you.
One of the secrets of any relationship is to ‘Be the authentic you!‘ You need to be your authentic self to enjoy the journey and only when you appreciate who you are then others will too. People can often discern whether you are authentic or not. The only person you are fooling is yourself!
If you have a challenging relationship simply ask yourself:
- What is my part in the dynamic of this relationship?
- What can I do differently?
- How can I make this work?
- What behaviour will set me on course towards a successful outcome?
- How can I bring out the best in myself?
- What can I do to live a meaningful relationship?
‘There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.’ – Tom Krause. There is no such thing as failure, only feedback. Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up. You are not defeated when you lose, you are only defeated when you quit!
Remember that success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out and it is not about what you accomplish in your life or what relationship you are in, it is about what you inspire others to do. To be inspired is great, to inspire is incredible – I can assure you that there is no better feeling!
I urge you to keep in mind the following metaphor: Start thinking like a camera, focus on what’s important and capture the good times. Remember to develop yourself from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot. Always chase your dreams instead of running from your fears.
It is never too late to be whoever you want to be and have meaningful relationships. I hope with all my heart that you live a life you are proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the courage and the strength to start again as it will be worth it!
‘It is impossible,’ says Pride. ‘It is risky,’ says Experience. ‘It is pointless,’ says Reason. ‘GO FOR IT,’ whispers the Heart.
Which one are you going to listen to?
To your successful relationship!
Double Winner Awards Author of ‘The book on Success‘