What about work relationships? A friend from South Africa emailed me and asked me follow up on the recent post about “the warmth of our close relationships have more to do with our success than money or fame”
After high school or college and prior to retirement we spend the majority of our lives interacting with people at work. On average we spend one-third of our time asleep, one-third at work and the rest divvied up amongst our personal interactions outside of work. Once we have kids, if that’s our path, there’s little to no time to maintain and nurture the warm relationship that beget the kids. It’s no wonder divorce rates average 30% around the world with a peak of 71% in Belgium. Our close personal relationships and the warmth they generate can wax and wane as we focus on the responsibilities we pile on ourselves as we go through life. This leaves our work relationships and interactions as a major source of our social connections.
Our interactions at work and our connection with the work we do can create warmth and purpose or send us into the doldrums of meaninglessness. Warm close relationships take on a different connotation at our work. It is important to find connections with a coworker or two in order to share openly our trials and tribulations so we may find perspective and camaraderie. These connections help us maintain the means we use to support the lives we choose to create. Without these connections we tend towards isolation and our work output can easily suffer leading to loss of work. Our interactions at work can fuel our sense of connectedness when we keep in mind it’s our interactions enabling us to accomplish things. Our work connections can fuel our success and advancement at work or they can hold us back from fulfilling our potential. It’s all tied to what we bring to our interactions. Our intent is evident over time. When we are self-serving and focused on covering our ass it shows. When we don’t hold ourselves or our leaders accountable it shows. When we help others in order to bring success to the team it shows. Add on top of this fully engaging ourselves in the work we do can give us a sense of meaning helping us maintain the warm relationships in and outside work.
Fundamentally, our life is a system interacting with the system of our environment. We have our subsystem of work, our personal relationships and our individual life each with unique environments. How we manage our subsystems and what we do with our interactions directly relate to our sense of happiness, life satisfaction and success no matter how we may define it in our life. Managing the biz of you is more about your interactions and the relationships that emerge. It’s our interactions that bring warmth to the relationships and when reciprocated warm us in return. The only difference at work is we keep our interactions on the professional side of the spectrum rather than the personal side outside of work.
Thanks Steve for the idea for a follow up post.