Investing in relationships. How’s your portfolio?

Not everyone feels the need to be continuously growing their network of relationships. For those who do, they understand that growing their relationships takes both effort and time. They are also willing to do what it takes to add value to their relationships.

What propels some people to feel compelled to continue developing the relationships they initiated? Perhaps it is a genuine desire to get to know others better. Or, possibly they gain satisfaction in learning more about the people in their lives. Possibly they have the motivation to do so for professional or personal gain? Regardless of whether it is one or more of these reasons, any investment someone makes in another individual is worth it.

Think about a time when someone you know personally or professionally took the time to help you. Even in the smallest way. Perhaps they were motivated to do this for reasons you didn’t understand or could explain, but they still proceeded. How did it feel when they helped you? Maybe you noticed right away, or possibly you haven’t considered the impact they had? It doesn’t matter, as anytime someone takes the time to do something productive and kind for another individual is meaningful, and it doesn’t have to be measured for it to count.

Here’s a question for you to think about. How much time each day, week or month do you invest in all of the relationships you have in your life? Do you consciously invest more time and effort in some of them more consistently? Or, do you haphazardly without a plan cultivate your relationships? Could you conceive of the benefits you would gain if you invested more time in even half of your relationships?

If you were willing to invest more time and attention in your relationships, what would it take for you to change your approach to how you engage with other people? Carving out more time would obviously be one of the factors, and many people would argue they don’t have enough time. I would challenge this thinking by saying we can always make more time to do anything we put our mind to. Or if we are motivated to do so.

Consider how you spend the majority of your time each day. Are there portions of your day where you could substitute investing in cultivating your relationships versus doing something else? Of course. However, we also know there are always trade-offs anytime we shift and do something different with our time. If you are negatively thinking about this, instead think about the benefits you will be further developing, and where you can take them.

So, if you want to grow your portfolio of relationships, here are some suggestions about how to begin doing so.

  • Social media is one of the easiest ways to engage with lots of people. From a professional approach, LinkedIn offers an extraordinary way to easily engage with the people in your network by way of their “message” feature. Take on the challenge of engaging with 5-10 people in your LinkedIn network on a daily basis for a week. Make it a meaningful message to increase your level or engagement, and be sure to follow through when someone responds back to you in a timely manner.
  • Let’s go old school for a moment. When was the last time you sent someone a card? One that perhaps already has a message written in it that says something like “Thinking of you.” Consider sending out some of these cards to people who you have not been in touch with for a while. I guarantee you will make their day. You can do the same thing for your business relationships, but swop out the messaging and relate it to a positive last experience you engaged with them.
  • Remember that device called your phone? Challenge yourself by starting at the beginning of your digital address book and start making calls to catch up with people. Even for just a few minutes. Chances are you will end up leaving voice mail messages, so consider what you want to say ahead of time to re-engage with this person. Perhaps that’s your message focus!
  • Sending texts are easy and most people respond to them in a timely manner. Apply the same concept as the one above, and see what happens to your relationship engagement level.
  • When was the last time you had a party? One for no reason at all? I’m guessing it’s been awhile. So, when we get past our pandemic restrictions, put yourself in high gear and start sending out your invitations.
  • I’ve written about the importance of scheduling regular coffee and lunch times into your schedule. Right now, we are limited to doing this virtually, but the good news is that more people are around to be able to do this now more than any other time!
  • Plan to do an activity that can include other people. Again, when we are able to do this. This can be fun to think about, and when it happens, creating memories of doing something with others is one of the most powerful relationship building investments you can make in each other.

Time is an investment we make in ourselves and others. Consider well how you use your time to develop your relationship portfolio, and start to see it grow with some of the tips you can easily apply above.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

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