Your Relationship “Bank Account”

March 24, 2012

I have talked at length about the development of community and a sincere focus on the triple bottom line. Our world seems to be lacking a bit in both. So what can you do daily to focus on developing meaningful connections in your community that will respect the planet, people, and profit?

Think about your relationships, with family, friends, work colleagues, and strangers, as though they are a metaphorical bank account. Making a deposit into your relationship with that individual requires you to do something that adds intrinsic and/or extrinsic value to his life. Conversely, a withdrawal is doing something that causes hardship, undue effort, pain, and subtracts value.

In the real world, we all have a very clear understanding that bills can be paid only after money has been deposited into our checking accounts. The consequence of attempting to pay a bill when no money exists in your account is an overdraft fee…and a happy banker. If you attempt to make a withdrawal from a person who you have not made sufficient deposits with, you can expect an “under-funded” relationship where you may not be given sufficient opportunity to make future deposits.

To avoid this, do everything that you can to make deposits first. And do it frequently. Think of and try to live by the following quote from Dr. Thomas L. Garthwaite; “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” Your goal is to make deposits by taking meaningful action that creates intrinsic and/or extrinsic meaning for the relationship. Having the other party walk away from the action feeling as positive, upbeat, and hopeful as possible is wildly important.

Also, relationship bank accounts can’t be closed. Take a moment to think about how people are able to restart relationships after long periods of time apart or why people hold grudges if they are treated poorly. Withdrawals tend to be weighted more heavily than deposits as people consciously remember the bad more than the good. As the builder of relationship wealth, you have to make considerably more deposits than withdrawals. But, in the end, the development of a community of people that work together to make the planet a more meaningful place to live is worth it.

So, how do you start?

Make one deposit at a time.

Make more deposits than you do withdrawals.

Talk is cheap…meaningful action is priceless.

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