Rethinking Your Relationships

The pandemic has created a reset of epic proportion. Rarely do we get these grand interruptions in the habits of our days. Rarely do we get the opportunity to stop and notice what’s working and not working so we can continually improve.

We’ve been gifted that moment.

One of the greatest benefits I’m seeing come from COVID-19 is that we have the time to re-evaluate and refocus on what is really important in our lives. In many cases, the one thing that tops the list is our relationships.

When we stop and notice our relationships – and take an inventory of what works and doesn’t work in each of them – we become clear of what we should do more of and what needs improving. The observations can be enlightening, particularly the observations on what’s not working. Things like realizing work became more of a priority than time with your kids, or that you’ve accepted that your teen is distant and non-communicative because it’s been easier that way, or that you and your spouse have become roommates instead of living the passion that initially brought you together.

The power of the COVID-19 interruption is that we can more clearly see what life looks like today so we can choose how to move forward in a way that is wiser and better.

Consider these 3 ways to rethink your relationships at this exact moment to make each of them better.

  1. Get present. Use some of the time the pandemic has forced on you to assess what relationship you want to have with the important people in your life, and what is currently working and not working in each. Don’t judge where things are; just notice and assess it (is it where you want it to be?). Now you have information and clarity about what you want and where you are. You can’t improve or celebrate what you can’t see.
  2. Brainstorm improvements. Choose any of the things you see are not working and brainstorm ways you could improve it. If you feel you spend too much time on technology, for example, consider brainstorming ways you can turn it off or step away for a bit. Include the other person of the relationship you are rethinking in your brainstorming so you can work together to suggest improvements that work for both of you.
  3. Choose and implement. From your ideas, choose one and decide how you will work together to make it happen. You may have decided that increasing the amount of conversation is something you both want to work on, so your plan may be to have one meal a day with each other where you set the time for 10 minutes to talk about the important things on your mind with each other. Or, it could be that your commitment is to stop multitasking and listen generously when the other person is speaking. Each relationship will need different things to rebuild it or sustain it because the people in each relationship are different. Be open to what will make the greatest difference and do your part to make it happen. Small changes over time generate large results.

There is a reason why we are social creatures; we need each other to make it through our days. And the more successful we are at building and sustaining relationships, the more successful we will be in handling all of the ups and downs in life.

Take Action
Identify 3 of the important relationships in your life. Define what a successful relationship would look like in each of the 3 you identified. Then assess where you are with each, specifically what works and what doesn’t work about that relationship. Choose something that is not working in each relationship and make a plan to improve it.

Make reviewing and improving relationships a weekly event. The results will amaze you.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Your Impact is Greater Than You Think

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Reassess What’s Really Important

For all the pain and difficulty of COVID-19, it has at least one benefit: it interrupted us mindlessly moving through our days and gave us the time and space to reassess what’s really important. There is nothing like a pandemic or catastrophe to remind us that life is finite, each moment matters, and we should fill our moments with things that are important to us.

Here are four things I’ve come to realize while coaching clients during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • People matter more than things. Sure, we need the essentials, but most things don’t bring us joy the way spending time with the people we care about does. The thought of losing those who matter most to us has put into perspective the caliber of the relationships we have with those people. During the last few months, we’ve had the opportunity to refocus, rethink and redefine our relationships. How are you refocusing on your relationships? How are you reconnecting in a safe way with people who matter to you? Do the people in your life know how much they mean to you?
  • We create – and own – our happiness. COVID-19 has reminded us that we can’t look to the outside world to be happy because in a moment, much of it can and was taken away from us. We still need to be happy in our lives, so that makes it abundantly clear that we must build the happiness from within. Sure, things will happen, but if this moment is truly the only moment that matters, then what are you doing to make it the happiest it can be – with whatever is available to you?
  • Health is something we should never take for granted. So many of us have habits that don’t encourage a wise and healthy lifestyle. And, the moment things got tough because of COVID-19, many reverted to unhealthy habits to deal with the frustration, challenge and disappointment of the moment. Since COVID-19 is a heath-focused emergency, let it raise your focus on health to a higher priority. Assess your choices and if they are improving your current and longer-term health – physical, emotional and spiritual. Make time to sort through your challenging emotions to develop a practice of mindfulness or gratitude. Make time to be intentional about what and how often you eat to stay healthy enough to handle the mental challenges. Develop a stronger connection to your purpose to help you get up excited each morning, regardless of the challenges.
  • Life doesn’t always go as planned, but it is still the best show in town. Most of us come to life with specific expectations and when they don’t happen, we are disappointed or aggravated. As we have come to realize with COVID-19, our days require us to focus on balance; some things work, some things don’t work. When we focus only on the things that don’t work, we miss the things that are currently working. We get out of balance. The more this happens, the more difficult is to actually see the good things. So, start each day with a blank page and line drawn down the middle. The left column is titled, What’s Working; the right column is titled, What’s Not Working. However many entries you have on the What’s Not Working side of the page, create as many for the What’s Working side. This will require you to focus more on the positive. As you start, you will see the plusses work to counterbalance the minuses.

Some people continually stop and observe what is going on to intentionally stay focused on what’s important. For others, it takes a COVID-19 moment. This is just your world giving you information – from which you have the opportunity to make wiser choices in the next moment.

Take Action
In this moment of pause and reset, reflect on what is truly important to you. Define it. Be very familiar with is so you can now better assess how you use your time and resources to ensure they help you achieve or live what is important to you. Get in the habit of checking in daily and making small continual modifications. Staying tuned in will help you use the lesson of the pandemic to ensure your days are filled with moments of things that matters most to you. 

By Jay Forte

Continue reading Your Personal Board of Directors

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