Today I'm going to give you an action step that will help you make an impact in your own life and the life of someone you care about.
If you've been following along over the past few weeks, you already know that we've been taking an in-depth look at the Dr. Stephen Covey's book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and we've been breaking down each of the 7 habits and discussing quotes and action steps that pertain to each one. In our last 2 posts, we've introduced the concept of an Emotional Bank Account and how making deposits and withdrawals can impact a relationship just like it can affect your financial bank account.
If you haven't been following along, feel free to go back and check out those posts by clicking on the 7 Habits Category on the right, or visiting our YouTube channel. We've numbered each of the videos in this series and put them into their own Playlist to make it easy for you to watch them in sequence. You don't have to watch them all, or in order, but it might make more sense if you do. Today we're going to give you an action idea that builds on this concept and will hopefully guide you in making an impact in your own life as well as someone else's.
This week I want you to pick someone who you wish you had a better relationship with and start making deposits into their Emotional Bank Account. That's it, see you next time. Just kidding, I'll give you a few pointers.
Think of someone in your life that you wish things were better between the two of you. Your spouse, your child, a friend or a co-worker. It doesn't matter who it is, only that you know your relationship with them needs work and you would like to see the situation improve. There may be someone you don't exactly get along with but you don't have any desire to build a relationship with them. If that's the case, don't pick that person. Pick someone you truly want to have a better relationship with.
Ok, do you have someone in mind? Good. Now let me ask you: when was the last time you made a deposit into their Emotional Bank Account? When was the last time you complimented them or said something positive? When was the last time you made a commitment to them and followed through on it? When was the last time you sincerely apologized to them for something you said or did? When was the last time you made an effort to get to know them better? If you're having a hard time remembering the last time you did any of those things, I think we just figured out why your relationship is not as strong as you would like it to be.
Let's say you wish your child would spend more time with you, or talk to you about what's going on in their life. How would you describe the interactions you currently have with them? Is it generally positive for both of you or are you constantly nagging them? Is it the same thing every day? "How was your day?" "Fine" "Did you learn anything new at school today?" "Nope." "Ok, then." You don't know what else to say so after a moment of awkward silence they're off to their room to play video games.
Here's an idea: How about mixing up the questions a bit? Catch them off guard.
"Hey, you're home. Tell me the best thing that happened to you today."
"Nothing good happened to you all day? That's terrible. What was the worst thing that happened?"
“I got in a fight.”
"Oh no! That's awful. What happened?"
Just throw out a couple of questions that aren't the normal small talk and try to get them talking. Don't push it, and before they go thank them for sharing with you.
I know it doesn't sound like much, but we're focusing on small deposits here. In his book, Dr. Covey lists 6 major deposits you can make, and he says that understanding the individual is probably the key to other 5 types of deposits. What is important to another person must become as important to you as the other person is to you. Place value on what they have to say and show a sincere interest in them as a person.
If the majority of the interactions you have with your child is negative, is it really a surprise that they don't want to spend more time with you? Start having positive interactions by making deposits. Every negative comment about what they're eating, what they're wearing, who they're hanging out with, those are withdrawals whether you see them that way or not. The same thing applies to interactions with friends, other family members, and co-workers. You cannot continue to take without giving. If you do, you end up with an Emotional Bank Account that's overdrawn.
Do you have any friends that only call you when they need something or just want to unload all of their problems on you? How does that make you feel? Now flip the script. Are you that person to someone else in your life? Do you consistently run to your boss to complain or throw your co-workers under the bus? Do you call your mom every time something bad happens? Do you spread gossip or talk about people behind their backs? Well if so, you need to either stop or at least cut back on those withdrawals and balance things out with a few deposits here and there.
So this week I want you to focus on the deposits. Compliments, small acts of kindness, keeping commitments, showing respect. All of these little things start to add up over time. It won't be a quick fix so don't expect things to turn around instantly. Did you grow apart from this person overnight? Probably not. Just like putting money in a savings account a little bit at a time, it takes a while to build it up.
One last thing, I don't want you to change who you are. We're not talking about abandoning your personality in favor of making someone else happy. We're talking about becoming more effective with other people. You can still be true to yourself even if you have to alter the way you're interracting with someone.
I don't want you be fake or insincere in your efforts. If you truly want a better relationship with someone, then the deposits must be sincere. Once you realize the power of an Emotional Bank Account, and accept your role as a contributor, you'll be ready to move onto Habit 4 of the 7 habits. And that's what we'll be discussing in our next post.
Focus on making on deposits and you'll have more success in working with other people. Come back and let us know how it worked out. We'd love to read your comments.
I'll see you next time, thanks again for reading, now go make an impact!
Need more IMPACTful Action ideas? Click on the Category to the right, or visit our IMPACTfull Actions Playlist on YouTube.
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