A relationship is like a garden. A garden can be nice, neat and orderly or warm, wild and wonderful and so can a relationship. You have expectations of your garden to grow and flourish which are the same expectations that you have with a relationship. You get to know the changes, successes and challenges of your garden month after month season after season year after year. Is this not exactly what you want from a business or a personal relationship?
Your garden contains valued items that make it special: beautiful rose bushes, tall sunflowers, ripening tomato plants, expanding heads of lettuce, neat rows of carrots and peas and a healthy contingent of weeds. Your business relationships have valued qualities that make them special: honesty, reliability, responsibility, stability, continuity, adaptability and weeds that need constant tending: mistakes, misunderstandings, miscommunications. Your personal relationships also have valued qualities that make them special: love, respect, loyalty, generosity, connection, partnership and weeds that need constant tending: dishonesty, disappointment, disillusionment.
Are you treating your business and personal relationships with the care and attention that they deserve or are you so busy and overwhelmed that you have been neglecting the important business and personal relationships in your business and in your life?
If you treat your garden with care and attention, that is, you spend the time and energy required to feed, water and weed it regularly, it calms, nourishes and surprises you in the most amazing ways. What happens to a garden that is not fed, weeded and watered? The plants stop growing and flowering and they start acquiring disease and decay. The weeds soon dominate and the once growing and flourishing garden becomes shrunken, overgrown and undernourished. You then have to decide whether to abandon the garden or start over with a renewed commitment to build and nourish it to its former glory.
If you treat your business relationships with the care and attention that they deserve, you are giving them your energy, focus and commitment to quality and excellence, your presence and availability to contacts, colleagues, clients/customers and you are constantly looking for ways to grow and maintain these mutually beneficial relationships. What happens to a business relationship that is not treated with care and attention? The weeds of discontent soon dominate and the relationship becomes boring and burdensome. You then have to decide whether to end the relationship or do everything you can to repair and restore it to its former value and vitality.
If you treat your personal relationships with the care and attention that they deserve, you give the best of yourself, you anticipate what might be required and do it before being asked, you are always there to listen or lend hand and you are constantly thinking of the other person and what you can do for them. You place a high value on these relationships. What happens to a personal relationship that is not treated with care and attention? The weeds of disappointment soon dominate and the relationship becomes distant and difficult. You then have to decide whether to end the relationship or do everything you can to repair and restore it to its former level of energy and excitement.
Take a moment to think about your business and personal relationships. To be successful in business and in life, treat each relationship like a garden – with care and attention.