Most people get excited about the New Year because it’s a chance to start fresh and do better. It’s the time to think about the changes you need to make in your relationships for you to accomplish your goals in the coming year. Personally, I know there are certain mistakes I have made in my past that have slowed me down in reaching my goals. Here are three to avoid if you’re determined to have a successful year:
1. Staying in the wrong relationships. Whether business or personal, your relationships are key to your success. Ask yourself if there’s mutual respect and consideration in your relationship. Is it helping you to grow? Or is it a one-way street where you’re doing all the giving and not getting much in return.
I remember several years ago when I won a major contract and had to build a strong team to bring the project to completion in time and on budget. This required hiring a competent project manager. My greatest mistake on that project was not cutting my losses with the project manager as soon as I saw things falling through the cracks. Because she was a friend, I decided to give her chance and overlooked her incompetence.
Thankfully because I had a strong team, everyone else compensated for her shortcomings, but after the project was completed, I realized I had paid way too much for a service that was not up to standard. Lesson learned: In every relationship—personal and professional—it is important to assess and make adjustments as necessary as it develops to avoid ending up with the short end of the stick. And sometimes, those adjustments require letting it go.
2. Not maintaining and nurturing important relationships. We’ve all, at some point or another, taken the people we care about for-granted. With it being so difficult to find and establish real, authentic relationships with people who have your best interests at heart, it’s even more important to appreciate the ones you have. This includes those with your significant other, children, friends, family members, clients—and any that are contributing to your well-being.
There was a girlfriend I had in grade school, whom I used to do everything with. At some point, I decided she was no longer cool enough to remain friends with and started dodging requests to hang out. That friendship eventually died, but years later I had regrets about how I had treated someone who had been nothing but a good friend to me. There is nothing like having friends you’ve grown up with who have seen you through some crazy times in your life. Make sure the people you have valuable relationships with know that they’re important to you—they may not always be around.
3. Not developing new relationships. Let this be the year you leap out of your comfort zone. You can’t grow if you don’t stretch yourself and seek out people who are smarter, more successful, and more knowledgeable than you. Who do you know who can contribute to your success, and vice versa? What goals do you have which will require collaboration with others in order to realize them?
Every notable achievement I’ve ever had, I contribute to developing relationships with others who complemented my own knowledge and skills. On a personal level, I’ve learned so much about life by connecting with mentors and friends who have helped me work through different challenges I’ve had. New relationships allow you to develop new ways of thinking and viewing situations. One of the most important relationships I have is with a mentor and friend I met five years ago at a conference in Chicago. I had debated whether or not to attend that conference because it was seriously out of my comfort zone, but I’m so glad I did. I would have missed out on what has turned out to be a great friendship.
We’ve all made mistakes in past relationships. Let 2015 be the year that you invest in those that mean the most, let go of those which are holding you back, and seek out those that will take you to the next level.
BMWK, what are you willing to try new this upcoming year?