July 2018: Exploring Relationships


Many years ago, I bought an artist’s sketch pad in a moment of hope that its blank pages would somehow beckon forth my until-then-dormant artist skills… or at least, kill a few hours through attempted creativity.

Ever the list-maker, I ended up using the pages to write a sort of autobiography through drawn diagrams: a U.S. map with stars denoting each city in which I’d lived, a list of significant numbers, and a tag cloud of titles I’ve held, all stemming from roles I’ve filled in relation to others.

There are the permanent ones: daughter, sister, friend. The favorite ones: emcee, creator, runner. The I-hope-never-again ones: bartender, teenager, right field.

Most interesting to me, however, are the ones that require constant attention and improvement: boss, athlete, writer. And most compelling, the ones that are never finished: auntie, sister, friend.

The “how” is simple, just not always easy. Fortunately, cultivating relationship intelligence is cross-applicable. It turns out that time, attention, curiosity, humility, and dependability are the traits not only of a great leader, but also a great family member or spouse or friend.

What relationship are you improving this month? And which traits can you nurture that will serve all your relationships? Reflect on how you can connect more deeply with others — and with yourself.

Strategy & Style,

Artwork by Carlos Picadas

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