How To Grow Good Relationships
Apr 27, 2020
All month long, we’ve been talking about your relationships.
It’s been an inside job. You’ve been digging, wrestling with deep roots and removing what doesn’t belong in your life. This is foundational for any leader, regardless of your sphere of influence. If you're going to be the best for others, you have to do the work inside yourself first.
So far, we’ve talked about three barriers to building good relationships: offense, comparison and isolation. You’ve started the excavation process, but digging into your life to remove these issues is a journey that happens one step at a time.
As we wrap up the month, we wanted to give you more. In addition to The Becoming Good Ground Workbook, we’re sharing some of the things we use to keep us moving, growing, improving and being better in our relationships.
These are five practical tips from our personal journeys to cultivating good ground for good relationships.
Consider these five tips “steps” to improve your life and your relationships. Each one is actionable and includes some of our go-to tools and resources that have changed our lives and our relationships in BIG ways. Not all of them are meant to be done at once, but they definitely work well together.
Remember, the goal isn’t perfect relationships.
The goal is to stay in the process—to keep moving forward.
We hope they do the same for you!
5 TIPS TO GROWING GOOD RELATIONSHIPS.
- Don’t stop digging.
You’re in the middle of a beautiful process. We see the most miracles in the middle—in the mundane, everydayness of the process.
As you get rid of things that don’t belong, you’ll come face to face with yourself and with more things that don’t belong. (Did anyone else make an audible sigh just now?!)
If you’re anything like us, this is where things get really uncomfortable. It’s tempting to stop digging and just cover things back up. This may feel safe in the moment, but it’s a habit that will get you stuck in unseen patterns and keep you there, asking yourself years later: why is this still a problem? Why didn’t I do something about this sooner?!
So, keep digging. Keep looking for what doesn’t belong and take the steps you need to get to the root of the issue. Whether it’s in finding a coach or counselor, keeping time in your schedule to rest or just getting coffee with a friend—make it happen.
We did some of our best digging through a book called Necessary Endings by executive coach and psychologist, Dr. Henry Cloud. He’s uncomplicated and very practical. As he helped us understand how to say “no” and “no more,” he also inspired us to embrace new beginnings.
- Keep an eye on your priorities.
Believe it or not, in recent weeks we’ve heard relief from people with canceled vacations (even our own Disney cruise plans!). Friends with once-busy schedules and social calendars are enjoying rest, exercise and books—things they loved but lost sight of as the demands of life became more intense. People are rediscovering themselves in new and exciting ways.
Maybe this is you too. Maybe this moment “hacked” your busy schedule and gave you a fresh perspective on what it’s like to slow down. If you don’t think this is you, we challenge you to look again. We bet you can see some beauty in the change of pace—you just have to look a little harder.
It’s done the same for us. And we’re looking at how to make the most of our time so we can make the most of our relationships, especially when the pace picks back up and we move into a new and faster normal.
We want to be prepared to prioritize the people and the things that matter most, so we’re using our planners to strategically think ahead. We’re carving out time and new practices for being present with others, and we’re writing them into our future. They’re in our planners so we don’t forget when we’re tempted to overschedule our lives with people and things that aren’t our priority.
Kisha’s go-to approach uses Michael Hyatt’s “Full Focus Planner” process. She is routine and organized—from her wake-up time to her calls with family and friends—and so is this planner.
Alyssa works with greater flexibility and a need for more white space, so her favorite way to keep things prioritized is an 18-month Moleskine Planner. She can batch her work, make calls and keep yoga a part of her days, and though her priorities are maintained, no two weeks ever look the same.
- Work on loving yourself.
To build good relationships you need to build a good relationship with yourself first.
It sounds simple, right?
But how well do you really know yourself?
For example, if we asked you to tell us what makes you interesting, how would you answer? If you were introducing yourself to someone outside of work, what would you say? If you shared your self-care routines, what would they be? If you were asked to explain your faith in God to someone you don’t know well, how would you do it?
A good relationship with yourself keeps you well-thy; it keeps you well, from the inside out. This is more than just health in your body. It’s soul health. Being honest about who you are and where you are in life will help you move with greater confidence towards who you were created to be.
One of the resources helping us in this way is The Enneagram Assessment, specifically as explained in The Road Back To You, by Ian Morgan Cron. This book has changed the way we understand and love who we are. It’s also making us better. If you want to explore a basic assessment, here are a few links to get you started. The full assessment, available here, will be the most comprehensive.
- Work on loving others.
Love is a verb. It's meant for action.
We’ve learned that words without corresponding action don’t convey love well at all. It’s the doing that let’s people know just how much they can trust what you say.
What you do and how you do it matters more than you may know.
When you carry offense, comparison and traumatic life experiences in your heart, you limit the space that can be occupied by love. And this limits the love you have to give to others.
Learning to love well has rocked our world in the best ways! And the two books that catapulted us into this journey are: Love Does and Everybody Always by Bob Goff. Read both, in that order, and be prepared to have your world radically and beautifully changed by love!
- Get to know how much God loves you.
We saved the most important point for last because this one impacts everything else in your life.
Do you know that the God who created the universe… who set the stars in the heavens… loves you?
For years, we said yes to this question without even thinking. It was what we’d been taught. But believing this was a different story.
Before we really believed He loved us, we had to get to know Him. So we walked in the footsteps of Jesus, reading the Gospels and learning about Him from His life.
As we did, the hard places in our life and relationships start to soften. Distractions faded. We could see how He loves us—uniquely.
The best way to get to know who God is and just how much He loves you is by reading His Word—especially the Gospels as they document the life of Jesus—and taking notes. We’ve filled up many journals and made many notes in the margins of our Bible. The Passion Translation (TPT) and the New International Version (NIV) are our favorites for hearing and understanding the heart of God towards us.
So grab a journal and read the Gospel of John, known for its emphasis on God’s love. You can find TPT and NIV on the YouVersion Bible App.
After you go through John, read about Jesus through all four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each one will help you experience His life and His love more fully.
Enjoy the journey as you discover the depths of God’s love for you!
Until next week, keep digging… keep stepping… and keep building your relationships well!