When we think about why we do the work we do, it comes down to relationships.
A member of a business group I’m a part of recently passed away from a serious illness. He was in his early 30s and his death forced me to reflect. I began thinking that the core of any business is the relationships you have with your coworkers and your customers.
The importance of relationships in your work
- Your family relationships – Work is stressful and we sometimes tend to put work ahead of our family. However, at the end of the day who are you doing this for? The people who matter the most to you not only deserve your hard work that produces the paycheck but also your attention and gratitude. Life goes by too quickly and before you know it the kids will be all grown up and your parents might not be around. Of course work so you get ahead in your career, but also allocate time to spend with the people who you care about the most.
- Your customer relationships – In this digital age it is very easy to be anonymous on the Internet. However, some of the best business insights will come from talking to people using your products or services. Spend extra time with your best customers and the ones who are the most painful to deal with. You will learn a lot from talking to both groups. After I instituted biweekly check-in calls with my clients not only did I get great feedback, but also the client retention went through the roof. We all spend time chasing new business, but focusing on providing value to customers you’re currently working with is the best way to increase the bottom line.
- Your business relationships – I found that my business jumps by leaps and bounds when I network with other entrepreneurs and business owners. Not only do I learn industry best practices, but also I get in front of people who might later refer new clients to me. I’ve found that the clients who come from referrals are sometimes the best to work with because there is a level of trust that already has been established.
- The relationship with yourself – Life is certainly too short so I implore you to take some time and figure out what makes you happy. Once you know that make sure to take some time daily and do something that gives you meaning. That could be volunteering for your local charity or going to the gym. If you don’t take care of yourself then you will not be of use to anyone else. We’re all too familiar with the airline safety procedures that advise us to first put the oxygen mask on yourself and then on the child next to you. There is sound reasoning to that, because if you pass out, or burn out in this case, then you will be of no help to anybody else.
This post was certainly more philosophical than I am used to writing; however, I think that it’s important for every one of us to take the time and figure out what makes us happy. Life is short, as I was reminded of by the passing of the person in my business group. I want to use this tragic event as a reminder for all of us to focus on what actually matters in life.