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8 Hacks for Satisfying Relationships

8 Hacks for Satisfying Relationships

People can make you feel great and soothe your soul or it can seem that they can drive you deep into despair.

Here are eight things you can give up to have satisfying relationships at work and at home.

1. Release your idea that others’ role is to make you happy

We often carry this assumption around. While we may have had a mother or a father there to make us happy as a child, as an adult it’s nobody’s role to make us happy. It’s our role to make ourselves happy.

And one way to do that is to surround yourself with people who bring you up, not bring you down.

2. Let go of your desire to make everybody happy

If you are a pleaser, you likely spend quite a bit of time focused on other people. You might even be saying things to yourself like “I hope he/she likes me.” or “I hope they like my gift.”

And, if they don’t like it, then you can justify feeling mad, hurt, and upset. A little example of how we can quickly turn a gift into some resentment goes like this. “He didn’t smile back at me…who does he think he is!”

But that’s a trap. The trap is that your happiness is dependent on whether somebody liked what you did for them…and ultimately liked you.

Now, of course, when we do things for people, we should hope that the other person benefits from our gift. And that gift could be as small as a smile, or it could be something bigger. But give up worrying about whether they are happy with our gift.

Give up trying to please and expecting something in return. Focus on your intention, your gift, and your thoughtfulness. Let that be satisfying enough.

3. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations

If we live our lives living up to others expectations, we are going to have a tough life. Our life, our happiness, and our success in the world will be determined by somebody else. And their expectations.

Far too many of us live a life like this. If you live your life according to what others think is best for you…your friends, your parents, your partner… it could even be even what your teacher or somebody spouting off on some social media platform… then you are not honoring yourself. You’ll create stress for yourself, if you spend so much of your energy pleasing others.

4. Abandon your effort to be available for everybody all the time

Now, of course, I’m not saying that you should turn into some self-centered jerk who never pays attention to others. In fact, I think that to have healthy relationships, we should care for others, a lot.

But we don’t need to be there for everybody all the time when its at the expense of our needs, values, and desires.

It’s a balance. You need to take care of yourself to be able to take care of others.

5. Surrender your willingness to put up with being hurt

Let’s face it. There are lots of people in the world who can be critical, nasty, and hurtful to you. And downright dangerous.

It’s too bad, but it’s true. People who do these things exist.

Now some of these people have little awareness of the impact their behavior has on you. But some are bullies or violent and intentionally hurt people. Both physically and mentally.

The question is…can you have a great life when living with and around people who are nasty? Can you be happy when these people are touching your soul on a regular basis?

Is it possible to conquer stress, depression and anxiety when there are people hurting you on a regular basis? Unlikely.

But let’s get this straight. You deserve healthy relationships. Now I didn’t say you deserve a fancy new car, a designer home in Hawaii. Or being independently wealthy. That would be nice. But for most of us, that isn’t realistic.

But what is realistic is not having to put up with poor treatment from others. I remember a person telling me that every time they spoke to their mother on the telephone, her mother would criticize her about every decision she made, tell her what she was doing wrong, and how she wouldn’t turn out to be much.

So she gave up letting that negative energy get in her ear. She needed to learn to keep herself safe from the negativity of others so she could nurture her own spirit.

6. Discard the assumption that people live their lives like you do

We see the world through our own eyes. Others see the world through their eyes. Some of us are blind so those people experience the world differently. But for the most part, we experience the world through our own experience. And we can make the mistake of thinking that everybody sees the world the same way we do.

If we carry this assumption, it will create a tough life for us as we will be filled with disappointment.

But you can be curious about what others want in life. What their values are. What drives them to do what they do.

It will help you have refreshing relationships.

7. Give up not asking for what you need

One person I know has made a massive difference in her life by stopping her use of alcohol.

And, while her family supports her, one person always mentions it with a half compliment or a hidden insult. It goes something like this. ”Susan, it’s been great for everybody that you quit drinking. And you look fantastic. It’s too bad you didn’t quit years ago.”

Hidden insults can drive you crazy. You might choose to give up putting up with them. Even for the family.

What about asking for what you want? Try this on.

“Hey thanks for the compliment, I really appreciate you helping me stay clean. And you’re right, I feel great. One thing you could do that would help, is when you give me a compliment, don’t tag on the little ending about its too bad you couldn’t have done it earlier. That little ending isn’t so helpful. But I do love you and your compliments!”

8. Shed the notion that you are fragile and can’t tolerate a snub or insult

Finally, the one thing that I see people assume that holds them back from having a happy life is to assume that they can’t take it when the going gets tough.

They fear standing up for themselves. In fact, we are all tougher than we think we are. Be resilient. Don’t let somebody’s ill behavior bring you down.

Start surrounding yourself with people who treat you well. Start practicing standing up for yourself even with the little things. Then standing up for yourself by giving up some things becomes easier, day by day.

You might worry about giving them up. But you can. You’ll be happier for it.

Featured photo credit: Henry Söderlund via flickr.com

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

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Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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