Trees play such a large part in our lives. Collectively, they are the lungs of the earth, whilst individually they can each be self sustaining eco-systems in their own right. On a more subtle level, they can be symbolic of many aspects of human life, including our professional relationships. I’ve used this idea to map out some ideas on maintaining sound business connections that thrive.
Groundedness – Ensure that you feel centred before any business meeting. Take time out to breathe, stretch, be in your body, before conversations that require you to contribute or make decisions. Work on methods to keep your cool and build these into your daily routine.
Vehicles of communication – Review how you communicate with clients, colleagues, employees and associates. Decide what needs to change, what needs freshening up, what needs to be stopped.
Support – Keep a list of people in your mutual support network and maintain regular contact with them. Make it part of your routine to give to these people. You might give referrals, a listening ear, practical tips, pointers to useful resources, etc.
Strength – Make maintaining your health and wellbeing a professional priority as well as a personal one. You cannot function at your best with others when you are feeling under the weather.
Uprightness (integrity) – Know your personal and professional values (qualities such as honesty, fairness, compassion, simplicity etc). Have these written down where you can refer to them often and where you can use them to make decisions.
Flexibility – Make a point of asking for and listening to new ideas. Respond to complaints with curiosity and an open mind. Recognise the gift in the opinions of others. In particular, think of objections as opportunities to improve your service to others.
Growth – Look at your professional relationships as a reflection on where you need to develop. Particularly think of the relationships you’re finding challenging. Notice what these tell you about yourself.
Reaching out – Make a note of what you currently do to “meet people where they are”. Check up on your clients’, suppliers’ and colleagues’ understanding of your business purpose. Aim to improve your methods for educating them on your offering and the benefits it will give them.
Relationship with (sun)light – Ponder on how you relate to your spiritual nature. Notice how that shows up in your professional life, if it does at all. Make a point of using your intuition in your communication with others, as well as your knowledge.
Nourishment – Ensure that you nourish your professional relationships. You can do this by providing encouragement, practical support for others and inspiration. Remember also to provide yourself with regular doses of inspirational material.
Beauty – Take some time to notice what is beautiful about your work and the people who are involved with it. Work on those elements that attract most clients to your offerings. Notice what keeps them hovering around. Use those strengths to under-promise and over-deliver.
Gratitude – Make space each day for expressing your gratitude to those with whom you work. This focuses yours and their attention on their strengths and their successes and helps them to empower themselves to achieve even more.
Fruit and Seeds
New life – Get together with others to start a new project or joint venture or rejuvenate an old one. When dealing with others in your profession or trade, focus on cooperation rather than competition, co-creation rather than power struggles.
Congratulations! – Celebrate your successes with those who helped you.
When you contemplate your professional relationships thriving, what do trees symbolise for you?
(Image courtesy of Serge Skiba on Flikr Creative Commons.)