Thursday, June 24, 2010

Relationship Risks...

June 19th, I lost a friend. I didn’t really know this person all that well, but we had a immediate connection, and were just starting to get to know each other at a deeper level. There was a period of time when we just couldn’t manage to get our schedules lined up and we went for a long time without seeing each other, but stayed in touch by phone, text, and email. It was one of the most invigorating relationships in my life.

Something changed in her life, and her perspective was completely changed. Her attitude toward life shifted dramatically from bright, zesty, energetic, and positive, to lost and lonely, depressed, and unmotivated. I tried desperately to help her identify the areas of her life that were her strengths, but every attempt went unanswered. I went out of my way to give her the support she needed, and she declined. We made several appointments to meet, and she missed or cancelled each one. Now it is too late, and there is a major void in my life.

The risk in really getting to know who you are, and what you want, is that you will start to understand how you can help others achieve what they want. And when you do that, it is very easy to get emotionally invested in the process. Like a surgeon who is unable to save a patient, I feel like I lost a friend and I tried everything I could to save her, but was unable.

I know it is not my job to save people from themselves. I led her to the water, but she chose not to drink. I handed her an opportunity to get out from under her situation, and she dropped the ball. I offered her support, and she disregarded my attempts. The worst part is that the last thing I ever received from her was a personal hand-written note that says, “… I can’t wait to see how this whole thing pans out.” Now we know and my heart is broken.

So what does this have to do with finding a job, and discovering who you are and what you want? Well, for me, it is about the personal relationship. The strength of meaningful personal relationships is extreme. It has the ability to propel you to new heights, or drag you to new lows. It is up to you to make sure you do everything you can to have uplifting relationships, even if the person on the other side of the equation is not.

You see, personal relationships are your best opportunity to find a new job, when you find yourself looking. The important thing to note is that these relationships must start well in advance of you ever needing to leverage them. You must start immediately building a solid network of people that may be in a position to help you when you need it most. This means making relationships with people older than you, smarter than you, more experienced that you, and willing to make the time to help when you need it. Then you need to be able to recognize your state of mind, and accept the help when they offer it.

I wish you all the very best of luck when you engage with another person. I hope all your relationships grow into friendships, and those friendships blossom into something special. I was not able to achieve this high level meaningful relationship with this friend, and the void I feel inside is gaping. I wonder if there was anything I could have done differently to affect the outcome to have a positive result, but I may never know…

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