Don’t tell the cat, but we are secretly dog people. I long for the day that my three boys can have a dog as their faithful companion. Not a little, yappy thing, but a hugable, loveable, ‘don’t let him stand on your toes’ kinda four legged friend. A border collie or a retriever or a lab. There’s something good and right about a boy and his dog. The problem is we’re renters and it’s really hard to have a dog and be in a rental property. So for now, we’re cat people. We pretend that she’s enough. But. Really.
Sometimes when I’m with a certain friend we brainstorm together about business ideas…things that haven’t been done before, things that we could do while maintaining order at home and other commitments and jobs, but a thing that would earn us both a million smackeroonies. Preferably a residual income. That’s the dream, aye? Money that makes itself for us. That way my husband and I could actually get a foot in the property ladder.
It’s just as well dreams are free. We can limit the smashed avo on toast and the lattes drunk out and about – but the dreams – there’s no limit to them.
One of my latest ideas was a right proper nightmare actually. You see I’ve got this secret to better living, everyone. I’ve got this simple idea that absolutely anyone could begin to action, and I absolutely guarantee it will change the atmosphere of your workplace, your social club, your small group or your larger group. It will grow relationships overnight and it will make you a better wife/husband/ Mum/ Dad/ sister/ brother/ employee/employer immediately. Guaranteed. In fact I believe in this so much I could sell tickets to seminars, or produce workshops that could be shared on memory sticks and sent all over the world (for a small fee of course – hence the million dollar idea), but I’m not that kinda person. Not now and not never. For one – my knees have fellowship any and every time I have a microphone in my hand and well, at the end of the day……MONEY SCHMONEY. Whatevs. I’ve actually got this open hand open heart thing going on and could never be the next Anthony Robbins. No-one will ever make money off any of my ideas – myself included. But, because I believe in this hair-brained idea enough to really think it could make a difference in my world and in yours, I’m a gonna share it here anyways.
The secret to better working relationships, personal relationships and any kind of interactions in any kind of way?
You ready for it?
It’s what I call, ‘the follow up’.
The Follow Up.
This is when you check in with someone and follow up on what you’ve previously talked about. It may be the same day, the same week, the same month…..all dependent on the situation, but it is you following up on whatever has been good/ hard/ joyful/ anxiety bringing/ fraught with frustration/ filled with blessing – whatever – you’ve last discussed with someone.
The Follow Up. Why do I think it is so important and changes the way relationships grow? Because it shows you care. It shows you were listening. It shows that even though time may have passed in between seeing this person, you’ve still thought about them and their world. It shows that you have capacity to think beyond your own world. It shows that they matter to you. They matter, fullstop.
And who doesn’t need to be reminded of this, just every so often?
It’s really not rocket science, nor is it manipulative in any way, it is showing sincerity and genuine care. It’s saying to someone, that you appreciate the fact that they opened up to you and showed a slice of their heart to you, and that it wasn’t too much for you. They aren’t too messy or broken or full on for you. And from there – even more trust and openness can be built. And good relationships can improve any workplace, any friendship, and setting that I can think of.
What does this look like in an everyday setting? It can be light and simple, or bigger and deeper, depending on the feelings involved. One of my bosses is a bestman at a wedding today. He’s been talking about his duties for this for a while now. You can bet your bottom dollar one of the first things I ask him when I show up for my next shift on Monday will be – how did the wedding go? How was your speech? And we’ll spend the whole evening dissecting all that went into the event. Why on earth is this important? I believe it is important because it’s showing him that I genuinely care about what was a big event in his life. Its about being interested in more than my world. People don’t care what you know, until they know how much you care. In any setting. But surely everyone would take the time to ask about this? Surely anyone with any little amount of people skills? You may be thinking that because you’re a friend of mine and you already have a great amount of people skills and perhaps you already action this little skill naturally, intuitively. Actually. Not everyone does this. You’d be surprised. Life is so busy. Life can be so consuming. Some people prefer to talk about their favourite topic – themselves – all the time. But that doesn’t grow trust. That doesn’t put relationships on an equal footing. That doesn’t make people feel safe with you.
Now it may be coming across that I’m trying to appear as an expert in this people business. Let me assure you. I am not. I stuff up with people all the time. I often don’t know what to say or I say the wrong thing, or I clam up when I could talk. But this one thing I do know: if I open up to share a piece of my heart with someone, however deep or shallow that piece may be, if that person asks me at a later stage about that piece of my heart, then that builds my level of trust with them. That helps me feel not so alone. That reassures me that I’m not too crazy/ messy/ screwed up for them. I think most people are aware that sharing with people, especially things that are painful. helps to divide the pain. There’s some kind of magical maths that goes on when this happens. And that, my friends is worth pursuing. That’s the real gold. That’s worth more than a million bucks.
The Follow Up. It’s priceless. It will make you a better person, whatever you do, whoever you are.
Now, onto other ideas………buying the next kids’ trend in games before someone else brings it into the country? Personal shopping? Hmmmmmmm.