Our relationships with one another, although rich with potential, can often be the most misunderstood areas of life. Effective relationships happen when we communicate with others according to their priorities and values. This skill can be applied to every aspect of your life including your business, family and personal life.
If you’ve ever been in business or in love with someone beyond the initial period of infatuation, you already know that relationships don’t make you happy. Instead, sometimes you perceive yourself to be feeling better, and sometimes you don’t – the same as when you’re on your own. Instead of imagining your life with the so-called perfect kids, lover, spouse, boss, employees, parents, friends and so on, learn to appreciate each of the people in your life for what they bring to you, and get to know their values. Effective relationships happen when each person seeks to understand and honour the other just as he or she is – 360 degrees. In this situation, people’s principles are honoured, affirmed and fulfilled.
You, like every other human, focus on what’s important to you. Whatever’s the highest in your values hierarchy will also have the most order (that is, steady, concentrated focus and “attention surplus order”.) Chaos increases as you go down the list (that is, unsteady, scattered focus, approaching “attention deficit disorder”). The master is the person who knows and applies the art of linking someone else’s values to his or her own and can communicate in anyone’s ideals.
Discerning what other people’s values (and yours) are, is easy. Simply ask yourself, what do they fill their space and time with, and what do they spend their energy and money on? Where are they most organised and disciplined? What do they think, talk and visualise the most? What do they speak about most to others? What do they react to and what are their goals? You can learn how to do this with anyone.
Connecting your values with others is not limited to business partnerships but can also be applied to families, friends and relationships. Once mastered, you’ll find it is one of the most important skills you’ll ever apply in building, maintaining and enriching personal ties. The more you do this, the easier it is to talk with others, to work out perceived differences and problems, and to enrich your relationships with an even deeper sense of intimacy and connectedness. One way to know when your values are not linked to each others are when you encounter one-sided conversations, or alternating monologues, when a person speaking about what’s meaningful to him or her, while the others’ mind is wandering away to his or her own concerns. Either link your values, shift the conversation, or move on, because monologues are almost a sure stop for disappointing or dissatisfying relationships. Interestingly sales and relationship building are incredibly similar.
Consider the commonsense sequence of selling, which follows the same pattern as being caring (honouring someone’s values), in an intimate relationship. To develop quality connections with others, you’ll be required to master the art of conveying your values in terms of someone else’s. Indeed, connections with your customers, employees, co-workers, or vendors may become vulnerable if you don’t attend to their values. If people don’t perceive their values as being honoured, then they’ll naturally gravitate to new situations. You’re kidding yourself if you think that their loyalty will win out; the minute the relationship stops satisfying their needs, they’ll hit the road. The same applies to personal relationships.
Exercise to Communicate Effectively to Build Relationships
List your top five values on one side of a piece of paper, and write someone else’s top five on the other side; ideally someone who is significant to you, such as your mate or partner – someone you’d love to communicate with more effectively and appreciate more. Now think of at least five ways in which the other person’s top five values helps you fulfill your first priority. Next, list at least five ways in which your top value helps the other person fulfill theirs.
Then go down the list; write down five ways in which each of the other person’s values supports your highest value and each item on your list contributes to their number one value. Continue this process for the four remaining items for each person, giving ways in which each one of your values is beneficial for every one of the other person’s, and vice versa. When this is done, a new door for communication and (if desired) intimacy is opened.
If you can’t see how someone else getting what they’d love gives you what you desire, then you’ll naturally try to change them to your way, or you’ll be compelled to find someone new. You can try to convince yourself to live and let live, but until you can see how to love and link love, you’ll be drawn to something different.
Be mindful, however, that peoples’ values may change. Certainly, milestones can cause priorities to shift. A life threatening illness, a midlife crisis, or the birth of a child – anything that triggers people to reassess and rethink what’s important to them – so it’s crucial that you continue to talk about your values with those whom you care about.
To the truth of duality.
Dr John Demartini