Friday, September 17, 2010

The Second Secret to Happy Relationships

By Julie Rahm

The second secret to happy relationships is simple. Most people just get it backwards. The secret is that people will help you get everything you want if you first give them what they need. The tricky parts are discovering what other people need, and being willing to provide it before your own desires are met.

As I coach corporate leaders I hear things like “I will give my people more praise when they show me some extra effort”. What if instead the leaders praised their people for something specific they were already doing well? At that point, we would take out my clients’ metaphorical tool kits and check their levels. They are surprised to find that they stay in balance when they offer praise first, and out of balance when they think their people have not yet done anything worthy of praise. With their pliers, we pluck out the thoughts that nothing praiseworthy has been done and that people will get lazy if they receive too much praise. And then we hammer in the mindset framework for success. When leaders find something to sincerely praise, they build trust with their people, morale and efficiency improve, and absenteeism is reduced.

The same secret applies to couples. As I coach couples I often hear statements like “I would bring my wife flowers if she would show me some affection;” or “I would show my husband more affection if he helped me around the house.” If that sounds like you, take out your metaphorical level. Are you out of balance? If so, shine your flashlight into the dark recesses of your mind and reveal the reason. Pluck out the negative thoughts and emotions you find. Remember, when you identify the real causes for your imbalance something changes and you feel better. Use your utility knife to cut the cord to all of the times you have been disappointed in this relationship and past relationships. Hammer in the mindset framework for success. When you focus on the other person rather than on yourself, you discover what that person needs most from you. When you give someone what they need, they will help you get what you want. It really is as simple as that.

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