Whether personally or professionally, the greatest investment we can make are the investments we make in other people. Relationships are so essential to our lives and to the quality of the lives we live that maintaining good relationships is a value worth having. And it's not just "Relationships"; that's so broad. It's "Friendship"; that's what we're talking about. The funny thing is that many of us tend to know that friendships are important, but, yet, we often don't value them as greatly as we should or as much as we say or believe we do. In fact, sometimes we devalue them because, even though we know how essential they are, in the grand scheme of things, so many other things seem so much more important: family, career, and education, just to name a few.
For some, here's how the cycle goes: we go to college; after graduation, we set out to build a successful and satisfying career; maybe we've been dating or we meet that man or woman of our dreams; then we get married; then have children; then we decide to further ourselves professionally and go back to school for another degree or certification (and in some cases, maybe to finish a degree we previously started); then we set our sights on a new position, new employer, new career; and the cycle continues, repeating itself. But in the midst of this, what often happens? Because we become so focused on these very valuable and important life activities, we sometimes fail to give attention to the also valuable and important activities of building and maintaining genuine, meaningful, lasting relationships, including friendships that we truly enjoy. Some have the habit of associating having friends strictly with personal life and don't see its place and value within our professional lives and in the workplace. Many have the mindset that says, "I'm just here to do my job; that's it!" But what we sometimes fail to realize is that, yes, our primary role at work, or even in business, is to get a job done. Many opportunities, however, come by way of some relationship we've managed to build, and sometimes they come because someone considers you or me to be a friend. There's absolutely no question that we have to be capable and competent to get the job done, but regardless of how capable and competent we may be, so many "jobs" will pass us by if we don't have the right relationships and friendships in place.
A number of years ago, I was in full-time private law practice, but early in my practice, through very little effort of my own, I was able to kindle a relationship with a distinguished New York State Supreme Court judge, which later proved to be invaluable. Let me tell you how this happened. Prior to that time, I had been considering different bar associations to join. I began to zero in on one in particular and reached out to a few board members to learn more about the organization. After a series of telephone and by-chance in-person conversations with some of the members, with whom I had developed a really nice rapport, I finally decided to attend a meeting. At the end of that meeting, one of my new friends came to me and said that they wanted to introduce me to someone. They walked me over to a woman, introduced us, and the woman, the Supreme Court judge, happened to ask me where I had been working prior to entering private practice. As soon as I said the name of the company, she immediately responded by telling me that the company’s president/CEO, with whom I had maintained a very good relationship, was an old law school friend. Needless to say, over the years, my relationship with this judge has become one that I will forever cherish and has had a significant impact on my success, all because of the friendships and relationships "at work" (literally and figuratively) at the time we met.
So, what's the take-away? The take-away is that relationships matter! Friendships matter! Whether personally or professionally, they matter! Whether just hanging out and having a good time or attending an affinity meeting or professional networking event, building friendships matters! And we don't build relationships and make friends just because doing so can lead to opportunities; we do it because we care about people and value sharing in and enriching each others' lives. We understand that great relationships lead to great experiences. We also understand that friends care about each other, encourage and support each other, and want good things for each other, and if there's a way they can help make good things happen, they're more than ready, willing, and happy to do so. Contrary to what many adults believe, having friends is not something we do just during childhood. Adults need friends, too! Whether at home or at work, personally or professionally, in business or in pleasure, or in our living rooms or our board rooms, life is so much more enjoyable when we share it and do it with friends.
Like you, Katrina loves seeing people in healthy relationships (with themselves and others) that they genuinely enjoy and not just simply tolerate. This blog is dedicated to achieving that vision.