Thank You, Friends

Several of my friends – and likely yours, too – have taken their gratitude to Facebook over the course of November, each day listing another blessing in their lives for which they are thankful.

I haven’t done this, primarily because it never occurs to me to start in on November 1st and then I’m behind.  It’s a fun and uplifting exercise.  And yet, I noticed a post where someone was thankful that Facebook had the feature to hide posts from others who were doing this so that he wouldn’t have to endure seeing them.

What?!

How jaded have we become if somebody’s public note of thanks is an event that rubs us the wrong way?  Personally, each note of gratitude I see reminds me of a similar blessing I have and I find myself noting that I’m thankful for that as well.

And so I want to thank my friends who are sharing their gratitude this month.  I’m delighted to see my social networking feeds filled with appreciation, blessing, and joy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

For you…

Savoring the Moment

This weekend we had one of those too rare family meals where everyone stayed at the table for hours after the food was gone.  I recently learned that my son’s girlfriend hadn’t seen any pictures of him when he was little, so out came the photo albums… along with many stories to tell.

I hope we didn’t bore her.  For the rest of us, it was clear that we were relishing our precious memories.  Having the chance to share those with her anew made us cherish them even more.

Savoring, as we did over our extended meal, is an activity that brings us happiness in the present.  According to Marin E. P. Seligman in his book Authentic Happiness, happiness in the present is part of the three-legged stool of happiness.  (The other two are “satisfaction about the past” and “optimism about the future.”)  We can actively pursue savoring through these five techniques:

  • Sharing With Others: This is what my family did as we shared photographs and memories.
  • Memory Building: Whatever is happening, take a moment to preserve it in your memory.  This could be done by taking a mental snapshot or by obtaining something physical, like a souvenir.
  • Self-congratulation: To quote Dr. Seligman, “Don’t be afraid of pride.  Tell yourself how impressed others are, and remember how long you’ve waited for this to happen.”
  • Sharpening Perceptions: This is all about paying attention to the details.  What spices can you taste in your meal?  How does the house smell when you arrive as a guest?  How does one side of your body feel versus the other while you sit by a fire?  Can you pick out the harmony in a song?
  • Absorption: Just as it sounds, allow yourself to be absorbed in the moment.  Don’t think.  Simply feel it.

Any of these activities is something each of us can do on the spot, right now.  More importantly, we can choose to savor moments when we’re not feeling happy in the present.  Try it out and you’ll likely find that this list will turn a sullen mood around.

Grateful Remembrance

Today is a powerful anniversary for our country.  As I, like many of you, look back at that terrible day; what I remember most is being grateful.  Terrified.  Horrified.  Sick.  And grateful.

If your workplace was like mine, everything stopped and we all gathered around a TV in a common area of our building.  My husband and I worked at the same place, so we soon found each other and watched the day unfold together, surrounded by several coworkers who were – and still are – close friends.

The conversation echoed with many “We were just there,” statements, said with disbelief and shock.  This is why I was grateful.  It was awful to see and impossible to understand, but we were together.  My husband and friends who had been in NYC just a few days before were safely in Fargo.  We were spared frantic calls trying to place whereabouts.  Or worse.  Spared the worry that could have been added to the day.

Knowing that it could have easily gone the other way created sincere, deep empathy for our kindred Americans going through the experience.  So many of us have been to NYC and so many of us love it there that it felt close to home, even when it wasn’t.

Eleven years later I am still grateful.  I’m grateful to the men and women who have risked their lives both in the Middle East and here on our American soil in attempts to make our lives safer.  I’m grateful that the people of New York and the country chose to make a beautiful monument to honor those whose lives were sadly taken that day.  And I am, of course, profoundly grateful to have my husband with me in Fargo where he belongs.

You can be sure that the American spirit will prevail over this tragedy. ~Colin Powell

And it has.  For that, we can all be grateful.

Your Expectations

Yesterday’s post was about not taking on the expectations of others when those expectations aren’t clearly set or stated.  We shouldn’t accept the guilt or burden of meeting what we didn’t know someone else wanted from us.

Perhaps more importantly, we need to be sure that this isn’t something that we’re doing to someone else.  I think those of us who are parents are exceptionally good at this.  After all, what sort of parents would we be if we didn’t have expectations of our children?  We also do this to our spouse, our parents, family, coworkers and friends.  And we shouldn’t.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have expectations.  I’m saying that those expectations need to be clear and stated.  If you expect your kids do something, tell them.  If it sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud, it’s probably not a fair expectation.  This also goes for anyone else that you feel may have let you down.  Did they know you expected something from them?  Do they even know that you feel like they let you down?

So go ahead and set expectations if it’s your place to do so.  If it’s not, then don’t and just let it go.

Coaching Challenge: Supporting Others

This week’s coaching challenge is less about you and more about those in your life who have and need your support.  Too often the support we give is haphazard and random.  Today, let’s give some thought to how we can be purposeful and deliberate in how we support others.

Here we go….

As you read through the posts this week, who came to mind?  Is there someone that you’ve been supporting in word only?  Following are a few ideas of what you can do to take your support to the next level.

  • Send a hand-written note wishing him or her success, outlining how proud you are of the efforts you see, or simply praising what you have seen him or her do.  Positive support and accolades go further than what we speak.  A note can also be returned to later if the receiver needs an extra boost of support.
  • Make an appointment with this person to learn more about how you can tangibly support their business.  If you don’t need the services offered, you likely know someone else who will.
  • Next time you are invited to join an event from someone in your network, go.
  • Extra credit: Set aside time in your calendar next week to go through your contact list.  Identify who you want to support, deliberately, and then make a plan outlining how you will do so.

We can support people in spirit and in our word.  But when we support others with our actions, it goes much further.

Being There

Our physical presence often shows support in ways that words simply cannot.  If you think back to times of stress or times when you were under pressure, you know that the person who was there meant the world to you.

I can think of times when I had big presentations to do and my manager would show up in the back of the room.  As a manager, I did the same for my team as well.  Having that presence there was more important than a simple “break a leg” would have been before I began.  Actually, any coworker or friend being there had a similar impact as well.

Parties.  Funerals.  Work occasions.  Charity events.  We’ve all had those moments when one of our supporters walked in and a sense of relief, confidence and even peace swept over us and we knew in an instant that we were no longer alone in the circumstance.

Never doubt that showing up is important.  It may seem like a small thing to you; however, it rarely is.  Schedules are crazy and time is precious so when we show up in person it speaks to how much we value and support someone.

Without ever saying a word.

Referrals And Recommendations

As a small business owner, there are few things that feel more supportive than getting a referral from someone in my network.  When a referral is given, not only is that person putting a significant level of faith and trust into my work, they are also putting their relationship with that other person on the line.  Placing it in my hands.

Referring people is part of how we support one another in business.   It’s how we develop and maintain our network.  It’s part of what keeps our economy going.  It’s so important that today I found this in my inbox from Bing:

There are many business models where referrals and recommendations are key pieces to what is offered.  There are recommendations on LinkedIn.  The ads served up on Facebook come from what your friends like, too.  Tripadvisor counts on recommendations to bring value to what you find on their site.

Who have you referred lately?  Here are a few of my own.

  • If you want an amazing cup of coffee, head over to Dunn Brothers, owned by my friend Meghann and where my kid roasts the beans.
  • For a special evening, nobody serves up ambiance and fine dining better than Sara and Eric over at Mezzaluna.
  • If you’re looking for a unique gift or piece of furniture stop by Eco Chic Boutique where Maria will take care of you and you can buy a cool piece made by Paula or Laura or one of many other local craftspeople.
  • My friend Sherry at Hair Success South is the only stylist on the planet who has been able to cover my gray.  (Shhhh…. It’s natural.  Reallly.)

I can’t create a complete list because I’ll leave someone out.  But if you need a dentist, chiropractor, massage therapist, doctor, realtor, life coach, printer, charity to support, insurance agent, organizer, speaker for your next event, interior designer, custom designed furniture, or a myriad of other services… I can help you find a connection.

And you can do the same for those close to you.

Support your friends, family and network by giving them your business and, as often as you can, get others to do the same.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

What have you done for someone else lately?  In what way have you supported someone’s business or career?  While our individual effort propels our success, we have all had times when the added support of our friends, family and network have moved us along a little faster than had we gone it alone.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure that many of us truly understand the impact that our individual support can have.

An owner of a small business in a small town once told me how people in her town would come into her store, tell her how much they loved it and how happy they were to have her there, and then walk out empty handed.  Her store is no longer in business.

It’s this story that drives me to shop locally as much as I can.  Sure, I might pay a dollar more for something at the grocery store in the small town near my lake cabin, but I would rather spend that extra dollar than have the store disappear altogether.

I bring this up as a tangible example of what we can do to support each other.  Most of us know someone who has a small business or sells something that we need.  Coffee shop owners need you to buy from them instead of a big chain.  Artists need you to buy their art, not simply admire it.  Your friend who sells cars can get you any previously owned car you seek and probably will give you a good deal, too.  That young adult who just started a new sales career needs you to listen to what they can offer and to recommend their services to your network.  And you can just as easily find a gift in a small local boutique as you can at one of the big box stores.

True, we can support one another with our words and that can be very pleasing to hear.  However, when it comes to true support we all need to remember to put our money where our mouth is by supporting friends, family and our network with our hard-earned cash.  This is tangible, measurable support that makes a real difference to those who receive it.

Support The 3/50 Project.  Pick three local businesses and spend $50 at those locations each month.  Can’t afford that?  Pick one.  Or spend $20.  Support your network and your community.

Balance Work And Play

Hey! Forget about what you think I’m going to say here. You’re thinking that I’m going to tell you to schedule more play time, do less work time. Well, that might be a good idea, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about. Turns out that the type of play you choose can help you out at work. Intrigued?

If you’ve gone to college, been away at a retreat, or spent much of any time in the business world, you’ve likely taken some sort of self-assessment that has labeled you as “ENFP” or “Yellow” or told you that you have a “Driver” personality. And while that is interesting, particularly in relation to how those around you differ from you, what else did you learn to do with the information? Unfortunately, in the context of these learning events there is rarely time to delve much deeper. Here’s one way to take it a step further to apply it in your life.

In the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment I am the above mentioned ENFP. The E = Extroversion which means that my energy increases from being around people. My job, however, rarely requires me to be physically around people. This is actually OK because it gives me opportunity to exercise part of my self/personality/brain/spirit in a way that I wouldn’t naturally be drawn to – and it causes me to grow. It also means that my job can drain my energy more quickly than if I was around people in a more consistent way.

Enter PLAY! What I choose for my leisure activities can impact the energy that work takes from me. In assessing this pattern, I know that I should schedule “play time” that includes people. And so I do! When I get my energy adequately from my time outside of work, I’m loaded up and ready to do my job even when there aren’t that many people around me. Now, if the reverse was true, adding leisure activities like reading, taking nature walks or playing solitaire would challenge me to grow outside of my comfort zone.

Are you someone who loves detail and spends all day looking at the big picture? Add needlework to your relaxation time or volunteer to do the books for your favorite charity. Do you enjoy spontaneity yet spend your days doing the same tasks over and over? Don’t schedule your free time – just pick a location and go there when you have time to explore.

And so yes, I think you should include plenty of play time in your life. Adding play that gives you something different from what you do at work might bring more satisfaction to both work and play.

To dive deeper into this topic, check out Work, Play and Type by Judith A. Provost, Ed.D.

Playful Summer

Preparation for winter begins this week as I select the first of summer’s harvest to stash away for winter.  Summer just began a few days ago and as I blanch spinach to freeze, I am reminded again how fleeting these few precious months of warmth and sunshine are.  Almost in a panic, I realize that I need to get out and play.

Yes, play.

As adults we enjoy recreation.  We socialize.  We relax.  We exercise.  But how often do you get out and really play?  Do you remember the last time you let your playful nature take over?  Maybe you were tubing on the lake with your kids.  Or you created some silly game, spontaneously.  Or perhaps it was when you got the giggles with your close friends.

You know the difference when you begin to play.  Lightheartedness takes over.  Appearing a little ridiculous matters less.  Cares drop away.

It’s been a while since I was playful.  This week, I’m looking for the opportunity.

Coaching: Tough Conversations

Fear sometimes holds us back from telling people around us the truth.  When we do this, we rob our family, friends and coworkers of the opportunity to grow and change.  If we can see what they cannot, it’s a gift to give them the information we have.

Thinking about that conversation you’ve been putting off, let’s dig deeper and figure out what it will take to make it happen.

Here we go….

As you read through this week’s posts, who came to mind?  Who were you thinking might be too fragile to hear what you have to say about them?  Who would improve and make their lives better if they only knew what you knew?  What specifically would you like to tell them?

How could you deliver this information in a loving and supportive way?

Perhaps you’re thinking too much time has passed?  How sure are you on this?  Maybe it’s a better-late-than-never scenario.  If so, how could you make the message seem timely?  Has the offence been repeated?  Did someone else recently bring it to your attention again?

Honestly, most critical feedback I’ve received has resulted in change that mattered.  I appreciate each person who had the courage to have those hard conversations with me. My thanks goes out to them.

Now, go do the same for that person who needs your feedback.

Bring Your Best Self

We need to bring our best selves to any conversation that includes giving someone a dose of reality.  Similar to the ideas presented in A Meeting Full Of Love around meetings in general, a one-on-one discussion where you present less-than-favorable feedback requires a loving, giving attitude.

You must know, down to your toes, that the person will be better off having the information versus not.  If it will not make them better, ask yourself whether you should be sharing it at all.  Go in with the best of intentions.

Once you’ve established that base, keep these additional tips in mind:

  • Be warm and engaging.  Smile.  Be authentic when you do this.
  • Start positively, perhaps by laying out your intentions.
  • Say your piece and then stop to listen.
  • Let them share their side of the story and don’t argue.
  • Offer to help with any change needed without telling them how to react to your news.

Oh, so much easier to write about than to do in actual conversation!  That said, I can tell you from experience that keeping these things in mind will result in a better outcome – and missing a few of them has the possibility of driving a wedge between you and the receiver.

When preparing, remember that you are actually helping a friend, coworker or peer by sharing this news.  If keeping quiet would hinder their career or relationships, you owe it to them to speak up in a loving, supportive and respectful way.

Letting Go Of Ego

Yesterday’s post was really about ego getting in the way of looking hard at an opportunity to see if it’s real or not.  That got me thinking… in what other ways does my ego get in the way?

Ha!  The better question might be this: in what areas of life does ego NOT get in the way?

While our egos can impact many decisions we make, it often does the most damage to our relationships.  As mentioned in the post Being A Good Friend, to be a true friend we need to check our egos at the door far more than we do.  We have to believe that her time is as valuable ours, her words more important than the next thing we have to say, her success worth celebrating, and the friendship worth nurturing.

We also have to let go of our ego to apologize.  There’s a story reflecting this in How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age about Beth – someone who worked well with everyone… except Harvey.  Realizing her part in the dispute, she said the following:

“You know, Harvey, I’ve got a lot of feedback here, and the first thing I want to say is that I’m positive about a lot of it.  The next thing I want to say is that there are some things at which I want to be better.  I’ve been disrespectful to you, the company, and the traditions of the company.  Please accept my apologies.  There is no excuse for this behavior.”

Wow.  And how else could Harvey respond except to own up to his part in the deal (which he did)?

So, how is your ego getting in the way of having better relationships?  Perhaps it’s time to let go of your ego and let humility shine through.

Time Constraints

Where does the time go?  We make time, give time and waste time.  We manage time, have time taken from us, and run out of time.  Most of us feel like there isn’t enough time and that it goes too fast.

How can we cope with this rigid constraint of only 24 hours each day?  Some days it seems impossible, doesn’t it?  Even if we were magically granted six more hours in each day, deep down we know that wouldn’t be enough.  Family, work and all that is both good and bad in our lives would simply expand to fill it and after a few weeks we’d feel the same as we do now.  I’m guessing…

There’s this quote by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. that is meant to be inspiring:

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

It just makes me feel guilty.

Of course, if you look at that list, most didn’t have children (a coincidence?), had people around them to assist with their cause, and each of them was able to completely devote their lives to their passion.  While they all are famous in their fields, there are other measures of success where they may have not done as well – finances or personal relationships, perhaps.

Given how far I am into this life, the chance of having the success of these storied individuals is small.   Really, I’m looking to reach a lower bar: I simply want to raise a couple of remarkable men, create a successful business, and have strong and wonderful relationships along the way.  If I can do those three things, I’ll feel as successful as anyone.

I just need to find the time to pull it off.

Connecting With Your Network

In the words of author John C. Maxwell, connecting always requires energy.  It takes some work and commands something of us.  We need to consciously connect or we likely won’t.  We’ll be in the room, in the conversation, but not really there.  We must be present to connect.

How to do that?  Active listening plays a big part.  Pulling from Maxwell’s book Everyone Communicates Few Connect, here are a few more reminders:

  • Connecting begins when the other person feels valued.
  • Connect visually by giving the other person your complete attention.
  • Have interest in the other person.
  • Express gratitude to and for that person.
  • Put his or her interests ahead of your own.
  • Show your values by words and action – this helps people to want to connect with you.  So does a caring spirit.

Maxwell also notes that more than 90 percent of all connecting occurs one-on-one.  He continues:

That’s usually how you communicate with the people who know you best: family, friends, and work associates.  You are also least likely to be on your guard with these people and most likely to make commitments to them.  As a result, they are the people who know your character best.

These are the people with whom you are most comfortably and easily connected to.  Let your guard down with more people and that circle will grow.

You can find all books mentioned in this blog online at the Coach Carolyn Store.

Who Do You Know?

We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.”  Interesting how some people see it as a relatively positive expression while others find it to be negative.  What’s the difference?  It’s probably who they know.

Know is a word that should imply more connection than how we typically use it.  After all, who of us hasn’t met someone at a party and, when asked about our new acquaintance later replied, “Yes, I know him!” when in fact, we can barely remember the person’s name.  Knowing someone at this level will likely not be of much assistance when who we know becomes important.

It’s got to be a little deeper than that.

Yes, a network is something that must be nurtured.  Wait.  Let me rephrase that.  Our relationships with the people in our network must be nurtured.  We must think about our network not as some abstract, nebulous thing but as a true system of our connections that we must pay attention to if it is to live and grow.

And why would you do that?  Well, because you may need these people.  More importantly, they may need you.  If the connection between you hasn’t been maintained, you or they might hesitate to call at the very time when you could help each other most.

After all, it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.

How’s Your Mood?

This originally posted in August as How’s Your Attitude; I revised it slightly after comments from a reader.  I like it better now….

How’s your mood today? Mine’s better than it was last week… now that I’m paying attention to it! Funny, I also feel better too. Better physically. Better emotionally. Better about my business. Better about my relationships. All because I’m choosing to have a better attitude.

Kind of crazy, isn’t it?

We can spend a lot of time thinking that our moods are due to what’s happening to us.  However, more science supports that our moods about how we are responding to what’s happening to us. Our choice. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find that a little irritating. I don’t always want to have control of my mood – I want to blame someone or something else. Of course, that’s usually when I’ve already taken on a bad attitude.

Our attitude not only affects the relationships around us (anyone called you “grumpy pants,” “sour puss,” or something less flattering lately?), it can impact physical ailments like back pain, heart health or depression. Just do a quick search on WebMD and you’ll find all sorts of support for why we should choose to be cheery.

So what to do when we’d rather wallow in our bad attitude instead of giving it up? I’m sure you won’t be surprised… Turns out many of the things that affect our attitude are the very same happiness boosters already discussed here over the last few months.

Take a walk. Laugh. Call a friend. Pet your cat. Call an end to your pity party.

You know you’ll feel better. And your heart, back and mind will thank you for it. Not to mention the people around you as well.

Coaching Challenge: Friendship

This week is going to be a short one.   Today will be “Friday” for this week’s blog and we’ll meet up again next Tuesday to spend some time thinking about New Year’s resolutions (of course!).

I’ve never met anyone who would confess to be a perfect friend.  Nor have I ever heard anyone say, “I spend way too much time with my friends – I really need to cut back.”  No, friendships seem to be hard to prioritize for many people.  With this in mind, here are a few challenges for you to consider:

  • Make a date.  Call up or email a friend you haven’t seen in a few months and schedule time to meet.  The slow week between Christmas and New Year’s is a perfect time to catch up!
  • Send a note to a friend far away.  Use pen and paper!  How lovely it is to receive a card telling us that we’ve been thought of.  Don’t just sign your name.  Write a few lines as well.
  • Phone a friend.  Next time you’re in the car waiting for a kid to get done with a lesson or practice, call a friend.  If you get their voicemail, be sure to leave a message.
  • Be a better friend. Pick one thing from yesterday’s list to try out on your friends.
  • Think about making a Friendship Resolution.  Ready to be a better friend in 2012?  Next week we’ll talk about how to set a resolution that works.  Seems like a more fun resolution than losing weight or working out, doesn’t it?!

Wishing you a very merry Christmas!  Enjoy every minute of your time with family and friends!

Being A Good Friend

Like most people, you likely have friends who you would readily call good friends and others – though friends – are simply not as good at being a friend.  Being a friend requires something of us.  Here’s what I think it takes to fall into the “good friends” category.  No searches online; no talking to others first; just my thoughts on what it takes.

  • Make your friendships a priority on your calendar.  It’s very difficult to be friends with someone whom you never see.
  • Drop the tit-for-tat.  I’m usually the one that arranges get-togethers.  If I left it to most of my friends we wouldn’t get together as often because it’s not in their make-up to be arrangers.  If I waited for them to invite me to coffee because I did it last time, it wouldn’t happen as often.   Friendship isn’t about keeping score.
  • Give without expecting anything in return.  This goes hand-in-hand with dropping the tit-for-tat.
  • Don’t expect your friends to be just like you.  It’s OK to hold different political beliefs.  It’s cool to have friends both older and younger than you.  You don’t need to have the same interests.  Having a diverse set of friends enhances your life as you expand and grow through the experience.
  • Make it about them. I hear this happen in conversation quite often: someone tells of something going on in her life and the “listener” immediately turns the conversation to himself or herself.  Example: “My son had to stay home from school yesterday with a fever.” Wrong reply: “Oh, we had the same thing last week.  Stuff is going around!”  Right reply: “Poor kid.  How is he doing today?”  Don’t turn the focus on yourself – or at least don’t do it immediately.
  • Be bold.  Some people have a hard time when friends face adversity because we think we’ll say the wrong thing and make it worse.  Friends honestly loving us will never make it worse.  Call even though you know he won’t pick up the phone.  Reply to the Facebook status that says she needs your prayers.  Ask what you can do.  Hug her when she cries.   Be sure to couple this one with the bullet above – this isn’t the time to tell someone how you went through something similar.  It’s about them, not you.
  • Listen.  This involves you being quiet.  No interrupting.  Actually hearing what the person is saying instead of thinking about the next thing you are going to say.  Be OK with silence between responses.  Listen.
  • Be authentic.  Bring who you really are to the relationship.  If you can’t then this likely isn’t going to be one of your true friends.
  • Let friends know when you’re thinking about them.  The interesting thing is this – often there seems to be a reason a friend has come to mind.  Drop a card in the mail, post on her Facebook wall, give him a call or send a text.  When a friend is on your mind, that’s the perfect time to engage.
  • Celebrate with them.  This requires you to leave your ego at the door.  A true friend isn’t bitter when a friend has reason to celebrate.  A true friend celebrates with that person and is authentically happy that the good thing happened.  And, again, this isn’t a time to turn it into something about you – because it’s not about you.  It’s about the good thing that has happened to your friend.

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.  If we could manage to do all these with each of our friends, just think how changed those relationships would be.

Find me on Facebook: Coach Carolyn

Make Time For Friends

There’s a lot of talk about spending time with family during the holidays – and our focus is often there.  That said, it’s also the time of year when we gather with friends because we have the excuse of holiday parties to meet up after weeks and sometimes months of not seeing one another.

We had the opportunity to join our friends at one of these events last night.  As our friends arrived all at once, the feeling that breezed into the house with them was so loving and warm.  It made everyone feel cherished and blessed all at once.

This sort of closeness doesn’t happen by chance.  We’ve been hanging out for quite a long while and we’ve all made a commitment to these friendships.  We’ve supported each other through cancer, divorce and loss.  We’ve made meals.  We’ve held each other and cried.  We’ve traveled together.  We’ve celebrated weddings, birthdays and graduations.  And we’ve laughed.  A lot.

I’ve never understood when people say that they would like to spend time with friends but they just can’t find the time.

Make time.

Not just because you will need these people sometime in your life – because you will – but because it’s to your benefit to have them in your life every day.  According to the Mayo Clinic, friendship

  • Increases your sense of belonging and purpose,
  • Boosts your happiness,
  • Reduces stress,
  • Improves your self-worth,
  • Helps you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one, and
  • Encourages you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise.

So why is it that you don’t connect with your friends more often?  What will it take to make them a priority?

Make time to be a friend.