Recently, I sat with a very successful woman who has climbed the corporate ladder of success only to find that her ladder was resting up against the wrong building. She had found success, but not fulfillment. Finally at the peak of her career, she sat back in a state of discontentment, only to say, "There's got to be more to life than this!"
After further review and discovery, we discovered that her tireless efforts to be #1 was a conditioned response to her childhood pressures of competition within her family. In the process of working so hard to be at the top of the charts in her profession, she realized that she had lost the greatest gift of all.....quality relationships.
As we chatted, she explained that she just found other women to be nagging, whining, complaining energy demanders and that is why she never spent much time at "their" parties. I asked her if she had ever been rejected by a friend or group of girls in school and she admitted that she could never really fit in with the "A" crowd so she opted to become what they could not....powerful business women.
I asked her about other relationships in her life that had failed and discovered that she had a common trend that occured her whole life. She was great at professional success, but failed miserably at relational success. She stated that she always wanted a friend that could understand her schedule, be there when she needed to "hang out", but not be clingy and needy of her time.
Finally, I got it! This woman was suffering from the disease of "ME"! Everything in her life revolved around her needs, her wants, and her schedule. Her lack of being able to see life from the other side of the fence created a huge wall for relationships to succeed in her life.
The statement that changed her actually shocked me. It was when I encouraged her to "Be the friend you wish you could have."
I told her that she was wanting someone to "understand" her, yet she was unwilling to understand others. She was looking for a friend to accept her where she was, but was unwilling to accept others where they were. This bled over into her personal relationships, work relationships and more.
The result: A very lonely woman seeking a personal life make-over.
A great lesson to learn from her experience is that relationships start with the word "relate". That means that you have to seek common ground. Seek to understand, not be understood. Be the friend or spouse you wish to have. Relate by loving and accepting people where they are and avoid trying to change them all the time to fit your wants, needs, and objectives.
Whether you are looking to improve your marriage or become a more contagious leader at the office, your ability to understand others and relate to their needs will determine your success.
Tell us your thoughts on what that statement means to you: "Be the friend/spouse you wish to have" .
Great topic. Sometimes we are not always aware of other people's needs and if we do take a few minutes to think about what someone else needs instead of dismissing what might seem "uncomfortable" or "irritating" we end up making great friends. Not only to that person but with ourselves. The words you shared are inspiring because we can all relate to that old saying.... "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". "Be the Friend you wish you had". On a personal note at social events, I have found that a smile and a sincere "huh uh" has open the door to many friendships for me....