Relationships can either help us grow and expand or they can serve as the chokehold that constricts us into stagnation and mediocrity. As I've learned, success and growth aren't solo endeavors. We all need help in some form or another.
When it comes to accomplishing your biggest goals this year and having abundant amounts of energy and a better state of health, master these four key relationships:
1. Relationship with self
Everything starts with how you view and think of yourself. A key indicator of the quality of your relationship here is how you talk to yourself behind closed doors when the spotlight isn't on you.
I used to have a terrible habit of using toxic words and being overly critical of myself--I thought it would serve as motivation to improve. However, it only created internal conflict and self-sabotaging because what I was saying to others and my actions weren't matching up with my internal dialogue.
To start improving your relationship, rephrase your overly critical internal dialogue with a more empowering statement. For example, when I first started writing, I would say, "I'm a terrible writer, and why would anyone want to publish my work?"
To fix this, I started pinching myself with a rubber band each time I caught myself being negative, and then rephrasing to say, "I'm not a good enough writer yet, but I'm improving each day."
2. Employee and team relationships
Building a team is a core factor for reaching the next level. Having trust in each person--and establishing clarity so everyone understands his or her role--is paramount. It's efficient, and it'll save you energy and unnecessary stress.
Building a winning team starts with understanding your own psychology and then filling in the voids in areas that aren't a strength. For me, I struggled with letting go of control. I could read up on how to code my website and design, but what's the cost of this in terms of time and energy?
That's the big takeaway I had to learn. I could do those things decently, but it would cost me a week of time; someone else could do it excellently in a day, leaving me free to focus on my core strengths.
Identify five of your biggest strengths and weaknesses. Then double down on your strengths and immediately create a plan to address one of your weaknesses. An easy solution is to outsource and delegate tasks to others.
3. Client relationships
We've all been there: working with someone who isn't a great fit for us--from a personality and worldview standpoint, or some other factors. Results take longer, and the process isn't as smooth because the ever-so-important connection between you is harder to elicit.
Your energy and stress levels are also affected, because the work isn't as fun. Decreased energy levels lead to a decrease in productivity, which leads to a decrease in your bottom line.
Create an ideal client and philosophy as if it's a brand. For me, I thought about a client's likes, values, beliefs, motivators in life, desired lifestyle, and desired feelings.
This helps more than just your marketing--it also helps your health, because you're not going to accept people who don't fit this worldview and thus won't have your energy drained.
4. Mentor relationships
Just as Luke Skywalker needed Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi in his corner to reach his potential, you'll need mentors in your corner to reach your goals.
Mentors shorten the learning curve. With mentors, my stress levels decreased along with my not wasting energy on the frivolous tasks that don't move me closer to my goal.
Mentors provide support, accountability, and advice based on logic instead of emotion, and help you mold the necessary mindset for achieving your desired result. They also--and this is an underrated aspect of good mentorship--have a great circle of friends who are equally as wise and successful. This means you're surrounding yourself with people who will elevate you.
As the saying goes: "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Assess your closest relationships and be honest with yourself: Are these people molding a better you for tomorrow or are they just keeping you status quo?