There is a phrase I like to use a lot when it comes to business: quality versus quantity.
In my industry, public relations, that means that we don't strive for media impressions just for the numbers behind them... we strive for impressions that actually count. That move the needle. That make a difference. Sometimes that means 100 is better than 1000. Sometimes that means that numbers are lower than they may appear... though the impact is much greater.
If you are ever in a business meeting with me, I am very likely to bring up quality versus quantity.
Because I believe in it.
But recently, I have realized how much that boardroom analogy can translate to my personal life as well.
For most of my adult life, my sister has lived across the country from me. And for all those years, I felt the need to speak with her every day. Because I love my sister, because she is unbelievably far from me, because I worry about her... because I want her to know I care.
So for years and years, I would call my sister every day. It was often in the five-minute drive to pick up. Or the drive home from the gym. Or in between conference calls. I never had much time to talk, but I thought that since I was calling, it showed I cared.
It did the opposite.
It showed I couldn't make the time for a proper conversation. It showed I was very adept at cutting her off mid-sentence when the school bell rang and my daughter came running out. It showed that my life was so "busy" that it could only fit my love for her in in five-minute increments.
Quantity tried to win out, but it couldn't.
So just last week I sent her a text message that explained why I would be calling less moving forward. That I would only call when I had the time and the peace and quiet to sit and focus and to share what's happening in my life and to really listen to her do the same. That might mean calling once per week, it might mean calling once every two weeks. But it would actually matter.
Thus far, it has worked. We haven't spoken in days but thanks to the miracle of modern-day social media, I can keep tabs on her safety and comings and goings and know she is happy and healthy. I hope to find an hour one night this week to sit down with a glass of wine and FaceTime and properly connect. And if I can't, I know I will find it soon enough.
Because quality has to win out.
In all areas of your life.
With your sister, with your parents, with your kids, with your spouse, with your friends.
It has to mean more, even if sometimes it feels like less.
It has to move the emotional needle.
It has to have an impact far beyond what it may seem.
Because quality is more important than quantity.
And like me, you have to believe in that.