How many professional or personal landmines have you stepped on? Be honest? I stepped on far too many trying to separate my professional life from my personal life.
No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to completely separate our professional & personal lives. Believe me, I tried and failed miserably. When one side of your life is struggling it will impact the other. Can you find a balance? It is harder than you think. There are landmines lurking everywhere. My goal is to help you identify and avoid these landmines that can adversely impact your life.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all in the RELATIONSHIP BUSINESS. Most of our success or failure is based on the quality of our relationships. We all want the fairy tale ending right? A successful career and the happily-ever-after personal life. Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t want these two things? I haven’t! Now, if this is everyone’s goal why is it so difficult to achieve. Life is full of landmines. What are they? Where are they? And how can you identify them before they blow up?
Positive Relationships are about the connection and awareness of self. So, what are these Relationship Landmines? I addressed 24 landmines in my book. I am going to share five of the most common landmines:
- Repeating the same poor choices – why do we keep making the same mistakes and following a toxic pattern of behavior. This goes to our mindset and very often unconscious biases have developed from our experiences and environment throughout our life. Until we recognize this landmine and choose, the operative word is choose, to discover and address these triggers the same toxic patterns will continue.
For example, while in counseling post-divorce I was told I had the “White Knight Syndrome.” What’s that? As the oldest of five children, my role was to be the protector for my brothers and sisters. This mindset carried over into my adult life. I was always attracted to people I felt were broken or needed to be protected. This landmine exploded every time as one of both outgrew the other. Don’t be a White Knight.
- Make time – let me ask you a question, how often do you say or hear “When I have more time.” Well, here is a news flash!! There will never be more time. We get 24 hours each day – that’s it! There is no more time! You are never going to have time until you make time. When something really matters you will make time.
Here is an example, I was a hi-tech executive for many years. I travelled extensively, often for a month or more at a time. When I became a single father with custody of two young daughters, I had to change my career and my life. I took over a business which was a major hit to my income. The message I received from counselors was I traded money for time to make memories with my daughters.
They are both adults with their own families, and when we get together, they talk about the fun things we did together. The week we spent in Rome, the shows, games and concerts we attended, the time at the ocean, etc. Their best memories were things we made time to do together. What they don’t say is “remember that time you, Dad, when you were gone for a month in Brazil putting together that big deal.”
Never forget this – your children won’t remember every event you attended – but they will remember everyone you missed. The Time is going to pass, but the memories, memories last forever.
- Listen to connect – Listening, I mean really listening sends this message “I see you; I hear you; you matter.” Listening creates connection because when we listen to understand rather than waiting to respond, we are able to relate to another person’s thoughts and feelings. Now we have a better chance to strengthen and sustain our relationships.
Here is an example: I was in the military and we always spoke about the mission. What matters is the mission. But that is not true. What matters is the relationship and the trust we build with the people involved in the mission – and that comes from listening, relating, and understanding others.
- Emotions vs Intelligence – How many times have you heard or said “It’s business, not personal.” This is nonsense. Everything is personal. Dale Carnegie said “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic but creatures of emotion.” You cannot leave your emotions at the door. They are always with us. Emotions are the body’s way to tell us something is wrong. When an emotional trigger occurs, take a deep breath, sometimes you need two or three; lean into the emotion – feel it. Then determine why is it happening, and then and only then move forward in an acceptable manner.
Remember this – Reason rarely defeats emotion – One way to avoid this landmine is stop trying to prove you are right. It is to show that you care. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
- Addressing conflict – As long as there is more than one person involved in anything there will be conflict. Conflict in and of itself is neither good or bad. How we react determines whether it is good or bad.
For me, there are two key elements – Respect and Trust. I recently read; Respect is like air. As long as it is present, no one thinks about it. But if you take it away, it’s all people think about. The instant someone perceives disrespect, the interaction is no longer about the original purpose. It is now about defending dignity and things will often spiral out of control.
The secret to walking on water and avoiding relationship landmines is to know where the rocks are. Let’s find those rocks together.
These landmines are taken from Frank Zaccari’s best-selling book Business and Personal Secrets for Avoiding Relationship Landmines.