Relationships are critical to our happiness and success, both at work and in life.
Based on the longest study of happiness spanning almost 80 years run by the Harvard University (the Grant and Glueck study) which has tracked the physical and emotional health of two groups:
* 456 poor people in Boston from 1939 to 2014 (the Grant Study)
* 268 graduates from Harvard’s classes of 1939–1944 (the Glueck study)
Here is the simple, yet powerful conclusion shared by Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development
“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this:
Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”
Nearly everything in life is impacted by who is around you, and how those people influence you. Basically, who you spend time with influences the person you eventually become. The people that you let into your life can elevate you as much as bring you down.
When you have people around you who love and help you, you transform into a better person. You are happier and healthier. You become capable of doing amazing things.
And this goes for personal relationships, as much as for professional ones.
I want you to realize that one of those people that you spend most time with is actually YOU.
Look at how you show up in your own life:
are you a positive, or a negative influence in your own life? Do you hold yourself accountable, hold yourself to high standards, cheer yourself on, champion yourself, maintain your own values, self-promote and basically do everything you can to be your own best fan and sponsor?
Or are you in, as Professor Peter Hawkins calls it: the BMW Club? (Blame, Moan, Whine).
If you have people in your team who belong to this BMW tribe, coach them through these toxic mental states.
And most importantly: if you are in this negative tribe yourself, look at it closely: what is the tendency to BMW saying about you? What do you get from being stuck in the victim mode? Why do you take things so personally? Why do you seek so much attention? What do you get from being stuck in the Drama Queen/King mode?
What could help you snap out of this attitude?
I’m sure you’ve heard this countless times:
“Your network is your net worth.”
So ask yourself:
- What is the quality of your professional relationships? In other words: what is your RELATIONSHIP CURRENCY?
- How strong is your network? How do you maintain it?
- Do you have mentors or even better, sponsors?
- Do you have a coach?
- Do you leverage networks and groups that you are part of?
- Do you put active effort into meeting new people to expand your network of great, supportive people? Do you attend online events and join roundtables, clubs and memberships in your field of interest?
- Do you support the people in your network? (Relationships go both ways!)
BTW, if you work internationally, I hope you are aware that there are many cultures who rely heavily on relationships for doing business. I Asia, Arab countries, or Latin America you need to have strong relationship currency to do any serious, long-term business.
I teach this in my Global Dexterity program for leaders and members of international teams and projects, but if you want to explore the topic yourself, check out these books:
- “When Cultures Collide: Leading Across Cultures 4th Edition” by Richard D. Lewis
- “Global Dexterity How to Adapt Your Behavior Across Cultures without Losing Yourself in the Process” by Andy Molinsky.
More for you:
Here is a great TED talk by professor Waldinger summarizing the Harvard study:
Check out my private FB group for young executives: Rising Leaders Club. Join us and make your network stronger!