Valentine’s is just two days away (a commercialized holiday of love in the U.S.) and it is a great opportunity to not only show your significant other how much you appreciate them, but also to give your network some love.
Relationship capital: The esteem by which you are held by those whom you have engaged with.
Representive of the quality of your interactions, relationship capital is a direct reflection of your character as experienced by others. Read that a couple more times.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
– Jim Rohn
This concept brings on new life with the compelling behavioral research presented by Nicholas Christakis:
Networking is not something you do on Friday night at an industry event. Your connections are substantially impacting you and your potential results. We are more intimately connected with those in our inner circle than we ever could have imagined and we are even influenced by the connections that radiate out from this circle, including folks we have never met.
This idea begs the questions:
- Who makes up your inner circle?
- Do they add value to your life?
- What are their bad habits?
As you begin to spin wild judgments of your relationships, stop and turn the magnifying glass on yourself:
- Whose inner circles do you belong to?
- Do you add value to their lives?
- What are your bad habits?
Relationship capital is like any other form of capital. You must make regular deposits in order to benefit from withdrawals. How have you added value lately? Are some of your relationships overdrawn? How do your daily choices and behaviors impact those around you indirectly?
This week, purposefully invest in your most valuable relationships and get into the habit of regular, thoughtful deposits. Five steps to get you started:
- Make a list of your 10 most valuable or high potential relationships. Keep in mind that this might include fragile or broken relationships that you need to repair. It should be inclusive of every domain: vocation, spiritual, family, social, etc.
- Order the list by strongest relationship to weakest. Be honest with yourself.
- Identify what each individual is currently experiencing. Perhaps they are going through a career change or training for a marathon. If you don’t know, call them right now and check-in.
- Identify at least one unique way that you can positively impact each person. Share a great book that applies to their situation. Invite them over for a cup of tea and friendly conversation. Thank them for their unique impact on you.
- Use your new relationship capital to-do list and make your deposits right away. Don’t wait. Don’t ask for anything in return. Refrain from talking about yourself. Simply invest and experience the natural (and high) immediate returns you receive simply from the interaction.