Effective relationships are key to personal productivity. Last week I have started a course with Arbinger Institute entitled Anatomy of Peace. I have read and studied Arbinger materials for a couple of years now and really enjoy using the concepts in leadership programmes and 1:1 coaching work so it was with huge excitement that I signed up for official coach studies with them.

The philosophy is simple. If you want someone else to change, you must start with yourself and how you are with the other person. You have to get to a point where your heart is at peace with them. Otherwise you carry baggade, hurt, blame, resentment or a feeling of unfairness. Only with a pure clean heart can you relate to someone else well. Whether I am coaching someone in a management role, a leader or a person who is having problems in their own life – at the bottom of it is always a restless heart that is not at peace with itself or someone else.

These concepts are not unique to Arbinger. I have learend about them in many different forms before. Miguel Ruiz writings for example or the art of difficult conversations or indeed the Bible. They are however powerful. Making time count is about making the most of what life has to offer you including the people you have in your life and those that come into it. It’s about stepping up and being the best version of you you can be right now.

Why not start the year mapping out your key relationships and looking honestly at the role you played or play in how each of these relationships is at the moment? What do you focus on in each relationship and what did you ignore? Is the outcome what you want or wanted? If not, did your actions help or made the situation worse?

It is never too late to make your heart be at peace and allow it to enjoy the wonderful life you can have. When people come into your life and bring you love and kindness take their gift for what it is. Do not ask yourself Who am I to be special enough to be so loved? Instead, step up to the love you are given with open arms and spend your time proving you are worth it. If you are in a job where you fear you might not be good enough, put your heart at peace. Assume you are. Then focus on spending each day and moment on things that will make you be the success everyone thinks you are when they hired you. Do you see my point? Do not dwell in the land of negativity, doubt, and fear. Don’t assume things will be bad. Do what you can to make them fantastic and they will be.

This may seem easy in principle though it is very hard in practice. Many people fear truly productive relationships in life and at work. We are so jaded by the disappointments along the way, that we forget that there is nothing as rewarding as being in the presence of someone that respects us for who we are, appreciates our talents and loves us. If you find yourself working with people who do that you are indeed lucky. If you find that your friends are like this, you have indeed been blessed. When your partner tells you they truly love you with heartfelt honesty and take actions that invite your love back, you have won a lottery.

The journey however starts with you. Are you that way with them? If not, you have some work to do. You can not show up loving when your heart is at war with your boss, your employees, your partner, friend, parent or a neighbour. Hearts at war take conflict in one area of life and spread it to others. Before you know it, innocent people are affected. Stay vigilant. Stay curious. Stay honest. Really examine how you are showing up and what is in your heart. If you can not do it alone, get help. Words are cheap currency. Follow up with actions that makes your words be gold. Aim to make your heart at peace this February. Any step however small you take in this area will help you create a truly productive and fulfilling life.

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