I've long believed that people leave jobs because they get bored. The grass looks greener on the other side, because you're bored and are looking for the next growth opportunity! Relationships likewise fade because people become complacent and assume what they once sparked, fanned and fueled will always be there. There is a reason that airline safety videos suggest that you put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others! If you want to build stronger, healthier, more productive relationships in 2013 and beyond, you have to continue to invest in your own personal and professional growth.
One of the ways I've learned how to do that is to do things that scare me once in a while. Not only they can be unfamiliar and exciting, but even an adrenaline rush! These experiences often provide a new perspective on both your perceived limitations as well as learning as a life-long process. For some it could be adventure treks to the corners of the world. For others it's joining a reading or a cooking club. For others, it's continuing education, a new hobby, or a skill they've long struggled to master.
For those of you who know me, this growth opportunity in the past year has been learning to ride and work on motorcycles. Thanks to a close friend, this past month we decided to try a Track Day at the Barber Motor speedway near Birmingham, Ala. Although I was apprehensive at the idea of getting behind a really powerful engine to go around sharp corners, I bought the required gear, prepped the bike, and gave it a try. The first 20-minute run I held on for dear life didn't go that fast, and just tried to get a feel for this out-of-body experience! With each subsequent run, I became more comfortable, confident, and tried to push my limits of knowledge, observations of others around me, and what the course riders were trying to teach. It was one of the scariest and yet most exhilarating things I've ever done. On the final run of the day, I was able to reach 123 mph on the back straightaway on my Ducati 999.
It has been mathematically proven that you dramatically improve your chances of solving a problem, by stepping away from it and revisiting it with a fresh lens. Relationships work the same way. If you feel like a relationship is stuck, you have to find a distraction to shift gears or change your lens and then return to it. If you unravel the relationship, it may help you understand what steps you have or haven't taken in appropriately identifying, building, nurturing, and sustaining a relationships to bridge the gap between it's initial creation to one of capitalization. Almost anything else you chose to focus on that helps you elevate your critical think and real-time performance in a different context, is often very helpful in coming back to that relationship discussion.
You don't have to get on a motorcycle on a race track (although I'd highly recommend it) but if you want to grow personally or professionally, you have to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. You have to try new experiences, ideally with new relationships. It's amazing how a fresh look at something provides a new lens into people, places, and perspectives to think differently about our challenges and opportunities.
I would love to hear about the interesting things you do to disengage from the daily grind. How are you learning, growing, or planning for a new you in 2013?