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Staying Connected When Life Forces You to Grow & Improve

Photo Credit: Omran Jamal

Life has become quite interesting for you over the last few years.  You got the promotion or ventured out on your own, things began catching traction and starting to ramp up (more consistently).

Things have become so consistent (whether in productivity or “things-to-do”) that you’ve established:

  • a morning routine with your workout, meditation time and preparing for the day’s activities
  • the exact time you need to leave to beat traffic (or deal with an acceptable amount of it) to get to the office or your favorite “I-work-remote” location, and
  • an acceptable weekend schedule to fit in a bit of work, handle personal errands and a little time to clean/straighten up.

By the time you’re able to sit down and relax, the last thing you want to look at is ANYTHING with a screen!

But then, family and friends have been off and that’s when the phone starts, the messages start dinging and running across your screen, and you start feeling the guilt set in because, even though you know you want or should answer/respond — you just can’t do it.

You’re exhausted.  You just want to stop to catch your breath.  But Life doesn’t care and your ambitious side begins to whisper, “This is what you wanted, now we have it.  You’re not going to break Focus and possibly lose this momentum for us, are you?”  No, you’re not.

You’re not miserable.  And though you haven’t been on vacation in years (you can’t even recall how many), you don’t necessarily want to because (a) you’ve come this far, (b) you’re excited about what you’ve accomplished and (c) you’re too anxious to see to where it’ll go next, right?

This isn’t a post to tell you to slow down, “you only have one Life” (and you’re maximizing the hell out of it right now!), or anything similar.  This post is to say, “You don’t have to stop, but don’t forget your (meaningful) relationships along the way.”

Here are some suggestions (I’ve done and continue to hone) to do when your momentum is forcing you to level up:

LET (YOUR CLOSE, SHORT LIST OF) PEOPLE KNOW YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT THEM:

Loved Ones:  Your loved ones like to know you’re thinking of them, despite the craziness your pushing through.  Oblige them — let them know.

Friends:  Your friends don’t care that you’re constantly postponing “catching up” (your TRUE friends, not your Happy Hour Crew). But they wouldn’t mind getting that text message/voicemail from you every now and again. It may spawn a “let’s get together soon..” but is prefaced with “no worries – keep pushing”. I’ve learned that the term “Friend” is used so loosely these days, but here are the combination of ways that define the term I’m referring to here:

  • You’re terrible at visiting, but they still send you a text message to check on you every 4-6 months (and you’ve known them for 5-7 years or more).
  • During a group conversation, something is said and you share “a look” that tells an entire story about “that one time”, without saying a word (enter in “Vegas” stories, “Bandcamp” experiences, or out-of-town stories here).
  • Every time you see each other, everyone knows there will be at least 3 “You remember that time…” stories.

(All of these combined must be present to associate with the word “Friend” for this post.)

Professional Relationships:  This list would include Mentors, Advisors and/or anyone you want to continue learning from.  They’re typically busy with their own lives, but the act of reaching out via text message or via email (these methods are less intrusive than a phone call at 11pm, or any communication after 7pm — depending on your relationship with them) strengthens your professional bond.  You may only  buy them coffee or lunch when you’re looking for advice or insight but it’s okay to shoot a quick “I’m still here, how’s everything on your end?” message once in awhile — be Human.

If you’ve read this and thought to yourself, “This is terrible advice. I can’t see how he has ANY relationships left after following this!”, well now you see why we don’t know each other well or personally.

Please focus on the ideology shared here, not the details.  Use it how it fits your Life’s blueprint.  Return on investment is important in your job, your team and/or your business.  But don’t forget to be Human.  Because if we don’t — who else could we depend on for true guidance, perspectives and alternate insights?  In my experience, advice without context can be useless.

All in all, this is how I’ve been able to “have the cake and eat it” too (how I keep moving forward without turning relationships mentioned above into strangers).  You (like myself) may not be able to make ALL of the events, invites, birthdays and/or happy-hours, but at least, when you do make it, you don’t have to keep hearing the line, “So much has happened since the last time we spoke…” or “I’ve become a different person since the last time we spoke X number of months/years ago…”

Isn’t that alone worth trying this?  Just in case you need help getting started, text this:  “Hey there (name of person)!  Didn’t want anything, just checking on you.  How’s Life on your end?”

BOOM.  Typed, edited and sent.

Next challenge:  Making time for that vacation…(maybe)….

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