How Success Depends Upon Personal Contact

How we feel about ourselves greatly depends on how we think other people feel about us. Confidence in self is one of the key necessities in forging a successful life both in and out of our chosen career paths.

Problems with co-workers, lovers, siblings, friends, or even strangers on the street can lead us to feel bad about ourselves and, when this happens, we tend to self-sabotage other parts of our lives.

Disconnect Will Derail You.

There was a recent social study on personal contact that narrowed social support into four categories: emotional, appraisal, instrumental, and informational. Each of the categories plays a huge part in our ability to succeed.

The emotional support category proved to be most important. The more people who openly care about a person, the more likely they are to care about themselves. When there is more than one close relationship in a person’s life, they can always find support- even when one relationship hits gravel and skids for a while.

People are Social Animals.

We are not meant to go through life on our own. Biologically, people are social creatures. We need to be around other people in order to thrive.

Knowing we can count on one another not only increases our personal confidence, but it also enables us to find ways to encourage one another. We learn about ourselves by the influence of others in our lives and we find happiness in their joy as well as our own.

We laugh more. We smile more. When we cry, we feel supported by the personal contact we receive. When we are angry, we have someone to talk us down. Humanity works in tandem, and our success depends upon our willingness to allow that to occur.

Map Your Relationships

If you are feeling like you are alone, there is a simple exercise we can do to remind us that we are not. This same exercise can help us repair broken relationships, if needed. It is called relationship mapping.

Draw a circle in the middle of a piece of paper and write your own name inside of it. Then, write the names of all the people in your life, personally and professionally, that play a role in your day-to-day routine. Use different colors to signify the current status of these relationships into four categories: Unbreakable, Strong, Broken, and Weak.

You can now take a moment to reflect on each of these relationships. Why are they unbreakable? How can they be stronger? What broke them?

Sometimes, relationships have to remain broken. There are certain reasons in the course of life when breaking a relationship is healthier than trying to maintain it. If a weak or broken relationship is salvageable, though, start considering what you can do to resurrect it.

You Can Build Successful Relationships.

If you find that you are willing and ready to repair some of the damaged relationships in your life, there’s good news. Studies show that there are a few simple steps we can all use to find success in personal relationships.

1- Make the First Move.
 All too often, we wait on the other person to be the first one to come forward and make peace after a bad encounter. This is especially true in relationships where one person seems to have the upper hand. An example of this is boss-employee relations.
 Some people feel that, if they are having an issue with their boss, apologizing first will make them seem weak or like a pushover. Bosses feel the same way. 
 Regardless of who you are in this situation, it’s okay to be the first to lay it out on the table and address it. It will not make you seem weak. In fact, it takes a truly strong person to clear the air when things seem sour and it will likely result in a higher level of mutual respect.

2- Stop Networking.
 Many of us struggle with this, especially in the digital age. Relationships now seem to lack personal contact with most of our interaction taking place through the glow of cell phone screens. 
 It’s important to not forget, though, that networking is, at its base, selfish. It is done to drive your individual needs and relationships are built on cooperation, mutual respect, and legitimate admiration. Your friends, family members, and even your clients will appreciate being treated as more than just someone you’ve exchanged business cards with.
 Remember names without looking them up. Ask about their family members by name. Show genuine respect and interest in their well-being. They’ll return the affection and you will be better working and life partners as a result.

3- Challenge Your Personal Biases.
 Groups of people make better decisions than any single person. There’s an interesting exercise that I once experienced at a workshop. The instructor placed ten objects on a table: A lighter, a bottle of whiskey, a mirror, a length of rope, a knife, a book of matches, a can of Spam, a cell phone, a bar of soap, and a bottle of water. He then asked us each which one we would take with us if we were being sent to a deserted island. 
 Many of us said we would take the cell phone. Others said they would take the book of matches or the can of spam. A few opted for the bottles of water. The more we discussed the items and their usefulness, however, the more we realized our own mistakes. 
 The cell phone would have no signal there. The matches can only be used for so long, assuming we are careful not to soak them, the Spam wouldn’t last, either, nor would the water. At the end, we all realized that the mirror was the best choice. It can reflect light to start fires to boil water. It can be broken into a sharp shard to cut materials for hunting or building shelter.

When we open our minds to the ideas and experiences of others, we grow as individuals.