How Much Do You Give, Take & Spend
1. How much do you give to keep the people who mean the most to you in life happy?
2. How much do you take from the people who love you?
3. How much of your life is spent moving forward to what you really want out of life?
According to Tony Robbins, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of your relationships.”
Does this statement ring true for your life?
Are the people you appreciate the most the same people you have invested the most time, energy, and love into over the years?
Or do you find yourself focusing on how you can make time for another task or job that needs completed, but never get around to scheduling lunch with a friend or taking a night off for some R&R?
What if instead of focusing 80-90% of your energy and time on work, you devoted 80% of yourself to the things that make you feel alive and recharged – what would this mean to your life?
What would your friends and loved ones do if you rolled out the red carpet for them, every day?
Who’s A Keeper And Who’s Not
Each of us have several spheres of influence in our lives.
We have friends from social groups, people we see every week at kid school functions or extra-curricular activities, co-workers, and even the friendly gas station clerk you see every week. You affect each of these lives and they in turn impact yours.
You must determine who is most important in your life within these vertical groups and make a short list of who adds “juice” back to your day.
If you’re having a difficult time sorting through your list, try considering this scenario: if you were going to live on a desert island, fully reliant on your “tribe” to survive, who would you bring and why? Who enriches your life so much that you would feel a devastating blow if they were suddenly gone from your life, but you know if you brought them to the island, you’d probably die.
Would this relationship be worth your life? The only difference between a deserted island and your life is the illusion “you have it under control here”. Things happen, life gets hard and when it does who helps you get through it? Or better yet, who is making your road bumpier than it has to be.
(And stop avoiding the exercise by thinking of Joe at the gas station – bringing Joe from the Shell Station, is NOT the point. I want you to start focusing on identifying who the people are you do spend time and energy on vs. the people you should.
Rank Each Group’s Importance
Now that you’ve your short list of potential keepers created for each group, it’s time to note how much time you spend with each group. After you are finished with the list, rank each group, by which one makes you the happiest, respectively.
Do you notice any disproportionate values among your lists?
Do the soccer moms rank low on your happiness rating but high on your time investment gauge each week?
To the greatest extent possible, adjust the time you spend with each group of friends to match the level of priority of each group in your life. Investing too much time in someone who doesn’t enrich your life not only takes away from the time you could be spending with people you enjoy, it can be as draining as a business meeting or adding yet another task to your to-do list every week.
Stop wasting your time and invest it wisely in those who matter in your life!
Evaluate & Set Relational Expectations
Now it’s critical thinking time, examine each person on your list and think about what each person invests in your life and what you invest in theirs. How do they enrich your life and what do they expect in return?
You see, not all relationships are the perfect balance of give and take.
In fact, most are downright unbalanced and take a great amount of effort to correct. If you collect too many takers in your life, you’ll end up feeling drained and bitter. If you collect too many givers in your life, you’re likely to become an emotional tyrant and forget how to adequately give back to a relationship.
It’s important to ensure that what you put into each relationship equals what you put into it. (And if you find that you don’t, you need to evaluate why your relationships are unbalanced.) If a relationship isn’t enriching your life, wouldn’t it only be logical you would take the time to stop to ask yourself why you continue to invest in it.
Is the relationship feeding a dysfunctional need in your life… or in theirs?
Remember, not every relationship requires equal amount of effort on the part of both parties, and there will be times when you invest heavily, or receive more heavily than you invest. But overall, the balance should be equitable.
Your Network is Your Net Worth – Value It Carefully
Many relationship experts agree your friends are the most influential persons in your life. If this statement is even remotely true, shouldn’t you be very careful about whom you choose as a friend?
Your friends should help you raise your life standards and dream big, rather than drag you down. Surround yourself with people who have similar values as yourself and those who are currently where you want to be in 5, 10, or 15 years or are on their way.
However, it’s important to know you shouldn’t cut someone out of your life simply because they don’t measure up to a certain standard. Some relationships are worth keeping, as long as they don’t become toxic or dysfunctional. After all, some of these people are going in the same direction as you, just a little bit further behind. Which is great, because it is you chance to “pay it forward”. Give to them what you might be getting from someone else.
Find out who in your inner circle is pushing you to achieve your goals, who is cheering you on, and who is dragging you down.
Evaluate your peer relationships closely to determine who you need invest more in and who you need invest in less. It’s okay to keep a friend who doesn’t urge you on to bigger and better things, but you enjoy being with them, anyway. If they make you happy, they’re likely to be a keeper.
However, it’s not okay to keep around someone who sucks the life out of you and makes you feel bad about yourself. Think about how you can find new role models to connect with and how you can locate those people whom can help you change your life for the better.
Remember, not every relationship requires equal amount of effort on the part of both parties. There will be times when you invest heavily, or receive more heavily than you invest. But overall, the balance should be equitable.
Rolling Out The Red Carpet
Before you can treat your closest friends and peers like royalty, you have to know who matters the most in your life. You also need to know what each person’s needs are and how you can meet those needs. This requires fostering a caring, intimate, healthy relationship. By refusing to waste time on those empty relationships in your life, you free yourself to invest deeply and give everything you have to those who truly do matter in your life.
Prioritizing your relationships and intentionally investing in the lives of others who matter to you can significantly increase your personal power and influence in all areas of your life. Start making changes today and you’ll soon see the difference that investing in others can make.