How Strong is Your Foundation for Success?

| | Personal Leadership

What is the raw material from which we build our foundation for success?

I believe it is our relationships.  By relationships I am referring to more than just the ones we have with others.  All of our relationships begin with the one we have with ourselves.

In a sense, the people around us are a mirror that reflects back how we see ourselves.  The quality of our relationship with ourselves is revealed in how others treat us and in how we treat them.  It is revealed in the kinds of conversations we have with the people around us.  It is also revealed in our own thoughts about ourselves and others and in the conversations we have with ourselves.

What is the primary source of our current relationships with ourselves and others?

We are who we are based on our past experiences, including both the choices and interpretations we made along the way.  We also know who we know because of our particular circumstances, the ones we were born into as well as the ones born of the choices we have made thus far.  So you could say that both our relationship with ourselves and with others are, by default, largely based on our past.

But what about who we will be and who we will know tomorrow?

What determines that?  Is that too based on our past?  The answer would likely be yes, if we have not imagined a different future than the one that is predictable.

Yet even if we imagine an exciting and compelling future, unless we truly believe it is possible for us it will not propel us forward.  And in the absence of a belief in ourselves, along with a clarity of and belief in the future we want to manifest, the driver of who we become, what we achieve, who is in our life and even the quality of those relationships will, by default, be our past.

So our relationship with our future, what is possible for us, as well as the freedom we do or do not have in imagining what we really want, reveals yet another dimension of relationship essential to our success:  the one we have with our future.

Do we really believe we are capable of living the life of our dreams.  Do we believe we are worthy of manifesting that life?

Few would argue with the wisdom and power of envisioning your future and setting goals to make it a reality.  There are countless books on the subject of visioning and goal setting.  In The Magic Thinking Big, David-Schwartz makes the case for the idea that “If we can conceive it, we can achieve it.” Yet we must also choose to make real that which we conceive.  And to make that choice we must BOTH believe it is possible and believe in ourselves.

The challenge then becomes making the choice to take action each and every day to manifest the future. To meet that challenge I believe we need a strong foundation of relationship with others.

We need the people who have the most influence in our lives to rally around us.  We need them to remind us of who we are and what we said we wanted when we forget or lose our way.  We also need people in our lives who have done what we want to do to guide us and to teach us.  There is no doubt our relationships are essential to our success.

Yet do you consciously design your relationships to support you in manifesting the future you want?

It may even sound a bit strange to apply the word “design” to your relationships.  However, if we believe we can design the future we want, why wouldn’t we want to design the foundation that supports us in manifesting that future?

We can work on our relationships in an attempt to improve them from how they were in the past, or to restore them to where they were before ___________ happened.  Or we can mindfully consider our relationships in the context of our future.  We really do get to choose.

Unless we create the future we want we are likely to create different versions of the future we already have.  I believe the same is true of relationships.  Like anything in life, we can let our relationships just happen or we can consciously shape them to support us in living the life we want from this moment forward.

Is your foundation strong enough for you to manifest the future you imagine?

To learn more about what it takes to Cultivate Your Inner Circle for Success  e-mail susan  at randomactsofleadership dot com.


Enter A Comment

Bret Simmons   |   27 January 2010   |   Reply

Great stuff, Susan! Love it and concur 100%. The only thing I would add is that instead of first thinking in terms of what we want others to do for us in relationship (e.g. rally around us, teach us, hold us accountable) we should FIRST think about what others need from us. The foundation of right relationship begins inside us, and it’s more a function of what we expect to give others than what we expect from others.

Keep up the great work! Bret

Susan Mazza   |   28 January 2010   |   Reply

Great point Bret. I was more intending to point to the value of having a strong, supportive inner circle in our lives and how essential it is to our success. And I am totally with you that the way to build those relationships is by having our attention on being of service, giving the best of who we are and what we have to offer to support others rather than focusing on what we need or want from them. Service and generosity are the source of thriving relationships.

Robyn Stratton-Berkessel   |   27 January 2010   |   Reply

So very nicely said, Susan. What comes to mind as I read your insights are two powerful maxims. “What you focus on grows” and “People support what they create”. (See http://bit.ly/dcRlVb). It is about conscious choice. Do I choose to put my attention on things that continually stress me and spend time with people who upset me, or do I put my attention on what I can do and foster relationships that support me. To live a conscious life is rewarding and liberating.

Susan Mazza   |   28 January 2010   |   Reply

Well said Robyn! Our Cultivating Your Inner Circle for Success Workshop is designed to support people in bringing a new level of consciousness and choice to the relationships in their Inner Circle.

The article you link to here is great: A Task of Leadership: Aligning Strengths. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Dorothy Dalton   |   29 January 2010   |   Reply

Susan – Excellent thoughts, succinctly presented. The relationships we will have with our future will of course depend on the ones we have with our past, ourselves, our present , the people around us. All of this certainly involves choice . It’s making those choices and creating that design that can be challlenging! @AmySBryant sent out a great tweet this week “Sureness is an illusion!” I guess it just means that we just all have to keep reflecting, all the time!

Great piece!

Monica Diaz   |   30 January 2010   |   Reply

…also, I have this reaction about your point that relationships can be there for you in thinking big. I surround myself by people that inspire me. Some of them believe in me even more than I do. When thinking big and having it come true scare me, I bask in their light! It is like I am driving in a fast car. As I race on, I begin to feel that fear of speed in my stomach (Should I slow down? Will this work out?), then the person beside me goes “Whoooa! This is fun!” I smile and drive on into the future 🙂

Jane Perdue   |   29 January 2010   |   Reply

Susan — A great message for everyone! The first required element of emotional intelligence is knowing one’s self…the foundation, as you call it, to building relationships with others. There’s a lot to be said for that old maxim “that you have to love yourself before you can love others.”

Susan Mazza   |   29 January 2010   |   Reply

So true Jane. Thanks for stopping by and adding your words of wisdom!

Monica Diaz   |   30 January 2010   |   Reply

As always, food for thought in your post, Susan. The foundation of relationships is central to success! “Designing” what we want in our relationships allows us to nurture the ones we find close to our hearts and release worry on the ones that fall into the background. More than focusing on what I bring to the relationship or what you will do for me, it is about what I want us to be together. And don’t get me started on how to build otheresteem..LOL 😉

Susan Mazza   |   31 January 2010   |  

Thanks for your comments Monica. The the practices of Otheresteem are so essential to building strong relationships. I love the point you make on focusing on what we can be together. And I think the best of relationships manifest a contribution that goes exponentially beyond what we could ever manifest alone.

Susan Mazza   |   29 January 2010   |   Reply

Thank Dorothy. Choice is so key here and without awareness there is no choice.

Thanks for sharing @AmySBryant’s tweet of wisdom with us. Love it!

Susan Mazza   |   31 January 2010   |   Reply

I totally understand your reaction. I appreciate you sharing it here. Your comment as well as Bret’s comment have me thinking about what I can add or say differently to clarify the message I am intending to send.

The purpose for building a strong foundation of relationships ultimately is about what difference we can make in the world. Your metaphor of driving in a fast car actually says much better what I am attempting to communicate in terms of what it is like to have that strong foundation. Thank you!

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