What is the value of a relationship? In fact, what is a relationship?
It is defined for us as:
“The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.”
When we talk about ourselves and the other people we encounter in our lives, such as family, friends, clients, acquaintances, partners, etc., each and every one is defined by our connection to that person.
I bring this up because sometimes I worry that in business, this idea of connection and relationship is less of, or even no longer, a priority. It troubles me to hear peers and other business owners discuss difficult relationships with clients or business neighbors, but the more I talk with them, it becomes evident that very little attention has been given to that other person and the connection they have.
When I started my business, I always reflected on my teaching days and how it was always my natural tendency to treat my classroom as a family. Further, I was always taken aback because without fail, when I expressed that, I would run into someone who thought that was “weird”, almost indicating that there was no place for “family” in the classroom and that went against professionalism.
When I started my business, I felt the same pressure to steer away from that way of thinking and to “keep it professional”.
For some time, I heeded that advice, and honestly, I was less satisfied, had more shallow relationships, and felt more tension in my client connections during that time. Since, I have made the decision to embrace the sentiment of treating ALL relationships with care and intent, just as I do the connections I have with my family.
At the end of the day, we are all people with common needs. Everyone has their talents, their strengths, their challenges. With no place to judge, my philosophy when building relationships is honesty and respect. Whether the connections I’m nurturing are with my children, my parents, my brother, my friends, my clients…why should my approach be different. We all deserve simple respect and honesty, don’t we?
Imagine if we allowed ourselves to live by these simple truths and be aware of all of our connections and treat them with the dignity they deserve.
I realize this approach may not be for everyone, but if you work with me, this is how I Iive my life. As a friend, a father, business partner, peer and a passionate artist who works hard to nurture relationships.
In my portraiture, I seek to deliver the person I am photographing. How can I do that if they don’t feel connected to me? We use the motto Meaningful, Masterful, Memorable in all of what we do and much of this is built on this very topic. We are allowed to enjoy our work and remember that everyone we are working with at any given moment is a person who will be heading home to eat, rest, and be with their family.
Connection. Respect. Honesty.
Is it possible that our relationships could be that simple?