On Wisdom Wednesday last week, I wrote about the Six Lies Between You and Success, from the book The One Thing. In the book, it spoke about The Focusing Question. This is the question you can ask yourself that will help you focus on improving different areas of your life. That Focusing Question is:
What’s the ONE thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
I want to challenge you to take this one question and ask it when it comes to your relationships. Perhaps you and your spouse/significant other could use some work? Perhaps it’s a relationship with your son or daughter? How about with a parent or sibling? We can’t forget our friends either. Do you take enough time for them? Let’s talk about how we can use this question to help.
It’s rare to find that perfect relationship. I am willing to gamble that it doesn’t exist. Sure, there are relationships that appear to be perfect, but more than likely, they are the result of the couple working at it. We have spoke before about life being a balancing act. When you see a couple that seem perfect, it is usually because they have successfully identified how they need to balance the relationship with everything else in their life. It takes work and it all starts with at least ONE thing. Ask yourself,
What is the ONE thing I can do to improve my relationship with my spouse/significant other?
Then sit down and think about the answer. Write down something that you know is a problem between the two of you and identify what you can do to resolve that problem. Once you identify it, work at it each day and watch that relationship improve.
One of the biggest complaints parents have is that their child just won’t listen. The child’s complaint, well, as the Fresh Prince put it, “Parents just don’t understand.” This is a song as old as time and understandable. There has to be a middle ground and identifying that middle ground can be the difference between a healthy relationship with your kid or one where you barely talk.
It’s tough when they won’t listen, and I get it. I have a few of my own whose ears seem to be broken, but I challenge you. Instead of having them listen to you, try to listen to them. Try to understand them. Besides, you are the one with the most experience. Should we expect them to blindly follow us, or should we try to understand them to a point where we can wisely guide them in the right direction? In order to improve your relationship, ask yourself,
What is the ONE thing I can do to improve my relationship with my son/daughter?
It could be that you will simply try to listen more. Maybe you will remind yourself to take a deep breath before you respond. Maybe it’s a reminder that you need to measure them against a level of where their age is and not your level. Whatever it is, find that ONE most important thing and try that out for a month. If you stick to it, I suspect you will see a significant improvement in your relationship with them.
Relationships with parents can definitely be a challenged. Remember when you wanted to tell your kids the right and wrong way of doing things. Well, you are your parents’ kids. They want to tell you. The want the same respect from you that you want from your kids. Do you find yourself saying, “They just don’t understand.” Throw the word “parents” in front of that and there you have it.
Have a strained relationship with a brother or sister? Ever gone days, months, or years without even talking to them. I have and I understand, but if you are a big part of the problem, you need to act. You need to step up and identify that ONE thing you can do to make things better. If you have a strained relationship, ask yourself,
What is the ONE thing I can do to improve my relationship with my parent/sibling?
“Friends…how many of us have them? Friends…”. Sorry, but I can’t help but think of that song Friends by Whodini? If you have friends, and I am sure you do, you have had arguments. Maybe short ones, but maybe even long lasting ones. It’s inevitable I suspect. Whenever two or more people get together, some sort of drama is bound to happen. It might not be the first thing they did to rub you wrong, but the same stuff over and over again. You will eventually speak up, hurt their feelings and an argument will ensue. If you want to improve your relationships with friends, ask yourself,
What is the ONE thing I can do to improve my relationship with my friends?
If you have one strained relationship, ask that same question but replace “my friends” in the above question with that person’s name. Then get to it. I don’t really have any strained relationships right now with friends, but I am at risk of losing touch with friends. So I asked this question of myself, and my answer was to have lunch with a friend at least twice a month on Fridays. So far, this has gone well for me, and it can for you too!!!
The ONE Thing is a great book and The Focusing Question is a great question to ask yourself in all areas of your life. Use the question to identify what you could do to improve your relationships. To keep yourself reminded of this, it is recommended that you write your questions and answers down for each type of relationship you want to improve. Read the questions and answers everyday, or at least the 5and2Guy way. Answering these questions and keeping them fresh in your mind will help you take action to improving your relationships and lead to a happier life. This is a simple exercise with a big payoff. Revisit the questions every three months, check your progress, and create new questions.
So what are you waiting for??? Get started!!!