There’s only so far we can go alone.
Magic happens when your dreams connect you with people who love you, support you, and bring out the best in you.
Remember, life grows richer when busyness is balanced out by quality time spent with people who matter to you. In other words, make time for the to-dos and the conversations that matter! Not only will you think bigger and achieve more, but you’ll feel happier too.
Keep reading to discover a collection of practical tips designed to help you build your personal and professional network with authenticity and ease.
- Practice active listening
One of our deepest human desires is to be seen and heard for who we really are. Therefore, one of the best ways to build meaningful relationships with others is to invest your attention.
Most people listen to speak instead of listening to understand. It’s a subtle difference that makes all the difference. When you listen to understand, you’re not [impatiently] waiting for a gap in the conversation so that you can jump in. Instead, you lean back and listen with all of your being - not just your ears. This shift in the listening approach allows you to read between the lines so you can get a glimpse at what isn’t being said. You get to spot the body language signals, and you hear the signs in someone’s tone of voice.
Through the practice of active listening, you get below the surface of who someone is and start to see them for who they really are.
And in these moments of deeper knowing, your relationship strengthens and thrives.
- Be authentic & vulnerable
A lot of people are dancing an awkwardness between belonging and authenticity. On the one hand, we want to fit in and feel accepted [this is old, old coding]. On the other, we’re yearning to take off the mask and show others who we really are.
The question is, which part of you will win?
The more you’re able to strengthen your self-love, the more confidence you’ll unleash to truly show yourself. Sure, this requires vulnerability and courage. You need to be willing to show a little more than what feels comfortable.
But the shift in possibilities if you’re willing to ‘go there’ is profound.
Your vulnerability creates space and permission for others to be vulnerable too. When vulnerability leads, the true self emerges, creating space for deeper connection and stronger relationships.
- Ask deeper questions
Conversations are lubricants that deepen relationships and bring people closer together.
The trick is to move beyond the superficial, surface-level stuff and really get to know who someone is. Are you brave enough to ask the questions that crack people open and give you a deeper insight into who they really are?
If you only stay with small talk, you’ll only ever talk about the safe, ‘easy’ stuff.
Sure, it can be fun to chat about the game or the latest binge-watch show.
But how much closer can you get if you talk about all the things that lie under the surface? What could be possible in your relationships [both personal and professional] if you talked about your hopes and fears, your values, your life lessons, and triumphs and successes [to name just a few]?
Deep conversation is a catalyst for the meaningful connections that allow us to thrive in all areas of our lives.
- Practice gratitude
What you appreciate, appreciates!
This is where gratitude can inspire your relationships and help you feel more deeply connected to the people in your life.
When you make it a practice to appreciate aspects of the people in your world, you stop taking them for granted. Instead of focusing on the niggles and irritations that people inevitably stir up, you shift our focus to the things that make you smile.
Such as how your partner brings you coffee in bed, or how your co-worker has your back, or how your kids make you feel better when they hug you tight!
Proactively appreciating people is a powerful habit to adopt.
It’s a small thing that makes a disproportionate difference to your relationships and ultimately your life.
- Make quality time
Your calendar or planner provides a powerful insight into what your life really looks like. It’s one thing to say you value your relationships, but does your time allocation back this up?
Meaningful connections require an investment of quality time. We know this in theory, but the practical application is often more difficult. After all, life is busy! It’s why relationships often get the leftovers, because other, more tangible to-dos get prioritized.
One way you can create a better balance is to schedule relationship time on your calendar. For example, diarize that coffee with a potential collaborator. Make a regular commitment to call a friend on a particular day of the week. Commit to a regular date night to keep your closest relationship flourishing.
What gets planned gets done, meaning you’ll soon notice the difference that scheduled relationship time makes.
Life is a series of connections
You’re right; it does take effort to surround yourself with the right people, but the difference this decision makes to your life is profound.
Decide to be proactive about how you create connections in your life.
It’s a commitment that will make a world of difference.