To Crush 2019, Build a Relationship with Yourself
How Prioritizing Yourself Can Lead to Lasting Change
Over the winter holiday, in a snow-covered house in the mountain town of Deer Valley, Utah, my family gathered for a week of skiing, eating delicious food, and spending time with great company. But it wouldn’t be a Negroni holiday if there wasn’t at least one spirited discussion about how to succeed at work and in life.
One evening, I had the pleasure of defending my position that building relationships is the most important life/work skill any employee or person could have. My host had a different viewpoint, firming believing that technical skills were more important for success.
“Technical/schmecnical” I said, “Anyone who gets hired should have those basic skills, otherwise the company or hiring manager would be a moron.” To further back my stance, I pulled out my phone, and pulled up this Ted Talk on what makes a good life, by Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger.
In my book, Chasing Relevance, I quoted key insights from the longest-running study on adult development. Directed by Waldinger, the study tracked the lives 700+ men over a period of seventy-five years. Every year, researchers checked in to ask about their work, home lives, health, and happiness.
What they discovered supported the idea that relationships are the most important thing in life: when you have better relationships with yourself and also with others, you’re happier, you live longer, and you even become more successful monetarily.
After we viewed the video clip, I continued to argue my point like only an ex-New York lawyer can and eventually my host capitulated. He did have one additional question for me though: what relationship would I prioritize over all others on in 2019?
My real-deal, no-BS answer on how to achieve business success is simple. If you want to crush it (yes, that is a technical term) in 2019 then you need to learn how to build a relationship with yourself.
Yes, you. Really!
Knowing yourself completely is the key to being able to teach and help others around you grow
Reason #1: You are the only person you can control
The only person you can fundamentally control, motivate, and inspire is you. Your view of yourself, the way you carry yourself, how you approach and connect with others, and how you attempt to serve those around you personally and professionally, is 100% dependent upon your own self -development.
Dr. Carol Dweck, Stanford Professor, PhD, and author of Mindset, points out that your perspective on growth, flexibility, and learning determines whether you succeed or not, and there is no shortage of books and articles to back her up. If you truly understand yourself, your strengths, the way you communicate, and your purpose in life, you will be able to leverage that learning into a cascade of opportunities and new relationships that will change your life.
But it all starts with you.
This year, try reading a book a month on topics of personal development, success, or business; or taking the Strength Finders test to learn more about yourself; or joining your local Toastmasters chapter to learn how to express yourself better. All you have to do is start.
"If you don't understand yourself, it's difficult to articulate your value to anyone else in order to help them."
Reason #2: Understanding Yourself Helps You Help Others
If you’re balking at the notion of focusing on yourself, worrying it will make you selfish, know this: it’s hard to help others if you don’t truly understand yourself. Whether it’s your boss, an employee, your business or personal partner, your child, or even a client, in order to connect with others, you need to understand yourself first. If you don’t understand yourself, it’s difficult to articulate your value to another person in order to help them.
If we adopt the strategy of working on ourselves in order to better serve others, we will deliver at work, at home, and everywhere around us. Other-focused people are the best leaders, performers, employees, friends, clients, and representatives. People like working with, being around, and learning from people who are other-focused.
There are plenty of strategies for other-focused leadership. But one of the best tactics is simply to start asking great questions to challenge the status quo. And before you start or leave any meeting, ask the participants how you can serve them and help them within the space of the meeting or after. These are simple principles anyone can use to get the job, sale, promotion, or whatever it is that you want.
Reason #3: It is Only Once You Know Yourself That You Can Start to Crush It
Once you understand yourself and your “why” (what makes you tick, what talents you offer, what contributions you can make) only then can you start to crush it. The reason is simple: authenticity only comes from a deep understanding of the self. Whether at work or home, being authentic and genuine is the truest way to sharing your gifts.
We all know people who don’t mean what they say or don’t seem to behave genuinely with us. And what happens? You don’t want to work with them and you don’t want to spend time with them because you don’t trust them. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if they are in possession of the one secret you need to get ahead at your company – you will not be able to learn from them or have any kind of real relationship with them because there’s no trust.
Which brings me to one of the best strategies you can use to connect authentically with others: teach what you know. Share your experiences and what you’ve learned with someone else. In the process, you’ll likely discover more about yourself and what you really care about, too.
The truth is, we are all here to contribute. Millennials and Gen Z just understand this better than the generations before them. They also seem to instinctively know when people are or aren’t being genuine with them. These two traits have certainly pushed older generations to do better and be better. But millennials still need help from older generations to understand the importance of focusing on themselves in order to make greater, more effective contributions.
No matter who you are, knowing yourself completely is the key to being able to teach and help others around you grow. If you adopt and model this behavior, you will crush it and help everyone in your path do the same or get out of the friggin’ way.
So now go out and crush 2019!