The post is provided by Froswa’ Booker-Drew, author of the book Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last. Froswa’ has built a diverse network of individuals and organizations around the world. She has more than 20 years of experience in leadership development, training, nonprofit management, education, and social services. She currently is employed by World Vision. Her book is essentially a workbook to assist you in building the kind of network you will need to accomplish your life goals. You can order it HERE.
Strengthening Relationship – Strengthening Faith
In strengthening my faith walk, I realized the importance of relationships. God designed us to be in community with one another. When I wrote the book, Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last, I wanted to write a book that helped women build stronger relationships by looking at their own stories in order to better connect with others. Several of my male friends read the book and felt that the book spoke to them as well. Regardless of our backgrounds, our experiences often impact on our ability to develop high quality relationships. For many, it is a result of what we have seen or have been taught. Our early role models–our parents–(or lack of) are so important in forming our beliefs about trust, empathy, and building connections. If we’ve had negative experiences, this becomes a lens for how we process relationships until we recognize how our past has become a barrier.
Understand your narrative
There are so many influences that impact our perspective about relationships. Media can also play a significant role in the way we form relationships. Social media can be a wonderful place for connecting but often, it has become a place that displays aggression and hostility. We don’t spend enough time connecting authentically. There is power in the story and when we connect to others, the conversations will help us see the resilience, optimism, and hope that are a part of all our journeys. Listening to the narrative we tell about ourselves and our relationships could be responsible for the way we are connecting or not connecting to others in a way that is mutually beneficial.
Building relationships are critical to not only our emotional well-being but can serve as an opportunity to meet others that can help both personally and professionally. Social mobility is not just about what you know but who you know can be helpful to your career and business. Having high quality connections can help a person achieve their goals on a number of levels and these are the types of relationships that last.
Many people view networking solely for transactional purposes and getting something right now. Sharing business cards is not about relationships. It is hoping that a person is in a position to make something happen. Although these relationships are a part of our lives and important, the goal is not to solely focus on transactional relationships. It is also important to create transformational relationships that make a difference in our lives. This type of relationship is mutually beneficial. The goal is to make sure that we both walk away with something—even if it means just connecting one another to someone else. Relationships take time—personal or professional—and we typically believe that networking results in immediate action. Real networking is so much more. It is connecting.
The way we often see ourselves is tied often to relationships. Many of us introduce ourselves by our titles or relationships to others. Yet, to have a better understanding of who we are, we must dig deeper to understand ourselves and attract the relationships we desire. When we remove the layers of work, family, and friends, we are challenged to really think about our stories and the journey. So often we are so busy doing, that we don’t spend time reflecting and using our experiences as a guide. In my coaching practice, I use activities to help clients become reflective learners about their lives and see how their experiences informed the way they connect to others. It is critical to take time to reflect in order to learn from our past as well as examine our present to inform our future.
Some simple tips:
- Listen to the story you tell about yourself in relation to others. Does your story demonstrate a journey of a victor or a victim? An ending of resolution or rejection? A person of substance or of sorrow?
- Know your triggers.What are the things that inspire you? Cause anger? Create fear or need? Identifying these can help you understand what pushes your buttons and how they impact your relationships.
- Identify your energy vampires. Who are the individuals who take away your energy and keep you from connecting to high quality connections? Paying attention to this could help you save time and energy that could be placed into relationships that are rewarding and fulfilling.
The book has 29 Rules of Engagement and provides an exploration into your social, identity, and psychological capital. My desire is to help others connect and realize we have more in common than we are different. In a world with so much conflict rooted in misunderstandings and a lack of awareness, building high quality connections are essential for change. It starts by knowing your story and being open to the stories of others.