Relationships – the quality of our life is tied to this one word! The quality of our relationships matters, and as a whole, humans invest a great deal of time, money & energy into making them work. While professional skills may enhance a coworker or client relationship, what about the relationships we go home to? What about taking even our “work” relationships to a deeper level? There are universal values foundational to any relationship that enable taking them to the next level – a heart level! “Taking Relationships to a Deeper Level – 7 T’s” are some thoughts I’ve been blessed to train teams on.  Note: I wrote these thoughts prior to COVID-19 … during this stay-at-home “new norm”, I’d love your feedback on how these points could be enhanced while “Social Distancing”:

Time Invested

At the end of our lives, we won’t wish we made more money or put more hours in at work. What we’ll wish is that we’d have spent more time with the people that mattered most in our lives. Dr. James Schaller wrote the book, The Search for Lost Fathering and recounts the story of a man who spent an entire night on a fishing trip with his son. That night, the father – who was a nationally known figure and commanded a lot of influence – wrote in his diary, “I went fishing with my son today; it was a day wasted.” The son also kept a diary and also wrote about the trip, except, what he wrote was completely different, “Went fishing with Dad today – best day in my life!” For many of us who are fathers, mothers, business owners, leaders and friends, we underestimate the amount of relational power we hold in our hands. Time invested into an eternal being is an eternal investment; are we investing our time into distractions, material things or people?

Dads, when we get home from work, our real work is just beginning. If it means freshening up, hitting some push ups to get the heart pumping, or simply sitting in our car in the garage for ten minutes to defrag our brain so we can fully engage our families, it’s well worth our effort to show up fully. Dr. Meg Meeker, in her book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters states, “You will influence your daughter’s entire life because she gives you an authority she gives no other man.” In fact, she goes on to say it would terrify most men if they really realized just how significant their influence on their daughter’s life is. It would catapult us off the couch into more intentionally investing our time into our kids. We’d switch off the TV and snatch them up, take a walk, color a picture, plan their college hunt … or do something that meets a need in their life-phase. Whatever our role in life, we hold authority – someone’s watching us. Someone needs our time investment. Like John Maxwell says, “The key to healthy relationships is a four-letter word – T.I.M.E.”

Build common interests and you’ll naturally begin investing more time together. Accept that there’ll always be differences between any two people, but invest some time getting to know what the other person likes, wants and needs and the relationship will blossom. There’s overwhelming evidence the more shared interests between two people increases the likelihood of the relationship lasting. If you think you share few interests with someone, and it’s a relationship you’re vested in, try writing your interests down, encourage the other person to write theirs down, then compare notes. For example, in my wife’s and my relationship, we have some very different interests, but we’ve explored and invested time heavily into common interests. Some compromises, but mostly creativity. Take Chinese food or fish, Jen doesn’t care for either. She’s graciously offered to cook them at home, but I asked her not to. I can get these for lunch with clients or friends. We eat at home what everyone can enjoy together. For health reasons, I began running back in 2014. Most times, unless it’s a marathon, I can get out early (as early as I like) and run, getting back before the kids are waking, so Jen and I can have coffee together. Recently, Jen’s begun Yoga which I’ve always thought would be a great combo with running – stretching, staying loose, etc. So, we’re Yogis together. Jen and I love building business together, coaching couples, podcasting, taking walks, travelling, watching Hallmark movies, and raising our kids. We have dream boards full of stuff as life phases move from toddlers to teens and so on. Before kids and after, intentionally cultivate common interests. Seek out common interests, not for the sake of interests alone, but for the sake of investing the time together.

As business leaders, we have the opportunity to transcend a mere “work” relationship by intentionally investing time into common interests. Yes, day-to-day business endeavors are common interests – at least we hope our employees feel they are – and, to value, appreciate and have rhythms of recognition for our employees is important! However, at the end of the day, the team members working so hard behind the scenes, have interests outside of work, too. After 10 years of working for one company, you know what spoke to me the most and forged my relationship with my employer, Jeff, deeper than anything? The time he sponsored “Walk for Wishes” because several of us on the team were taking part. It was when he asked me, as a struggling 19-year-old, to “run an errand to Sam’s club”, when in fact he was already there and had the tire techs waiting with new tires to replace the balding ones he noticed on my Cutlass Cierra. It was his open-door policy at 4:30 where employees could pop in to chat. It was his hosting the summer picnic at his property and watching him interact with my kids teaching them something about softball, fishing, or nature.

In business and in life, realize how easy (and often natural) it is to casually spend time together when, with a little bit of intention, we can invest it into common interests that take relationships to a much deeper level.

Tim Hooper

Serving as WFG National Title’s VP for Mid-Atlantic Business Development, Tim Hooper trains teams throughout the real estate industry on topics like Energizing Your Sales Process, Rehumanizing Client Connection & Building Raving Shareholders. He holds a BS in Mass Comm/Public Relations from Mid Tennessee State University, is a John Maxwell-certified coach and four-time author of the Got Energy series. When Tim’s not traveling to speak, he is spending time with his four kiddos and lovely wife, Jennifer, while pursuing his quest to run a marathon for charity in every state. He resides in Central Virginia. Connect with him anywhere on social @timehooper.


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