“It takes a village.” It’s a phrase we often hear associated with child-rearing, but is applicable to a successful life as well. Just think about the very definition of the word village: “an incorporated community smaller in population than a town,” according to FreeDictionary.com. Wouldn’t a community of loved ones surrounding us, supporting us in the fulfillment of our vision of life, be an appropriate way to view the family, friends and colleagues that make up our village?
After spending the last 20 years in end-of-life care, I have gained valuable insight from patients at the most reflective state of their lives. One common thread in all their stories — what has been most important to all of these hospice patients — is their connections; the personal and professional relationships that give texture to the fabric of their lives. I call this our soul village. But how do we develop this network of loved ones?
We’re born with family; some we connect with more than others. As long as we continue to nurture the relationships in our adult lives, they will continue to flourish and grow. Some of us are lucky enough to have childhood friends who, like family, stick with us throughout our lives. But what about the colleagues and peers we meet as adults? How do we turn them into more than just an acquaintance on the road of life? Transform them into what I call PIRs — Professional Intimate Relationships.
A PIR is one in which both parties feel understood and appreciated. This type of relationship is mutually beneficial, fortified with integrity, and made buoyant with agenda-less listening and a shared purpose. Your dedication to one another lends itself to a long-term relationship, both within and outside the workplace. The more PIRs you create and nurture, the larger your soul village becomes. So, how do we transform a workplace contact into a PIR?
- Choosing Your Tribe: Not all relationships should become PIRs. It’s important to determine which relationships in our lives boost us up and which bring us down. Toxic relationships, which encourage negative behaviors such as guilt or greed, should be weeded out to build the most loving tribe. The people with whom we choose to develop long-term relationships should spark a flame in us, a soul-to-soul connection, and make us strive to achieve the most in our lives.
- Communicate: Listen to your PIR without thinking about what you will get out of the conversation. Listen beyond the words being said; listen down to your very soul. Instead of thinking about how you can make a sale/close a deal, really listen, with your whole self, to what the other person is saying. What are their concerns in work, in life, and how can you help? And then, be sure to follow up. When you click with someone it’s important to stay in contact and think about all the ways you can work, and play, together if you want the relationship to last a lifetime.
- Tribe Mentality: Going hand-in-hand with soul-to-soul listening is thinking with tribe mentality. This is not to say you have a pack mentality in which you do not think for yourself; you always need to keep in mind your ultimate vision for life. A tribe mentality simply means you also think about what’s right for your PIR — your tribe mate. When an opportunity arises that fits with your PIR’s experience and vision, recommend him or her. When your PIR experiences success, celebrate it! Take on an abundance mentality: There’s enough success to go around!
- Exploration and Adventure: It’s in our very human nature to explore; discover what’s beyond the bounds of what is known. In order for workplace relationships to flourish, you need to leave the confines of the office. Just as a tribe needs to explore beyond its village, if you and your PIR explore the world outside work together in fun and exciting activities, without crossing any moral lines, your bond will deepen.
- Grow the Tribe: Once you solidify a bond on one project or in one job, think about the future. How else can you work together? Are there other areas of your life in which you can partner? Is he or she involved in charity work that could use your talents? Do you have a sports group that could use a new member? Part of developing a Professional Intimate Relationship is extending the boundaries of your partnership beyond a single job, or a single facet of life. Adding that PIR into other areas of your life, introducing them to other people in your life, will incorporate them into your tribe, your soul village.
For more information on Professional Intimate Relationships, visit: www.apexlifestyledesign.com/index.php/philosophy/professional-intimate-relationship
With decades of experience in executive level health care, Gary Polsky offers inspiration for designing your life and living your passion. His dedicated work in end-of-life care has enlightened him with thought-provoking inspirations from patients and committed professional relationships on what quality-of-life truly means. It was this experience that sparked the concept of Apex Lifestyle Design and his books, Everything but the Sex: Five Ways to Create Professional Intimate Relationships and SuperEagle: Soar with Your Muses to Create Infinite Possibilities. More information at http://www.apexlifestyledesign.com