I hope you’ve enjoyed a bit of time out with your loved ones over the recent long weekend. I know I did. It was wonderful to have time to just be together and be REAL, while also getting to do some EXCITING and fun things and LAUGH together. Mila finds any excuse to laugh and loves being tickled 😊. I also celebrated my birthday last week and felt so loved and APPRECIATED. Words of affirmation are my favourite love language and I got so many beautiful cards. I also had lots of time to reflect on how grateful I am that Costa and I put a lot of effort into our relationship. We are both very family oriented, so it would be much easier to focus outward and neglect us – especially having a busy and demanding toddler in the house, so it takes some planning and effort to nurture our marriage. Let’s be honest, all relationship take effort and need our attention. Lately, I am hearing of so many people feeling isolated and disconnected because of social distancing and working from home. People (partners, colleagues, direct reports, your manager, your children…) could really do with some nurturing right now! Keep practising the first four Key Steps and I’ll add on four more this week so we can…

‘be the difference that makes the difference.’

 

  1. T – Trust. Keep working to earn people’s trust and keep that foundation strong. Be honest, transparent and faithful. Once trust is broken, it is often broken forever. Small ways you can build trust is to make sure that you keep your promises, not only to your partner but to yourself. When people see that our word means something and we keep the promises we make, it fosters and sense of trust. We need to practise our values and not just profess our values to show integrity. I really enjoy Brené Brown’s BRAVING acronym as it provides us with the anatomy of trust and ways we can talk about trust in our relationships. Increased trust can lead to…

 

  1. I – Intimacy. Sex is definitely part of this but it’s way more than that. Your entire relationship can be foreplay! And although the reality of life is that kids often come along, work can be very demanding and life has many challenges… no matter what, there is ALWAYS time for a kiss at the end of a long day, a goodbye touch in the morning, a special text during the day, etc. Life should NEVER be too busy for the little things that make the BIG difference. Always have contact… skin contact and eye contact. Hold hands, have technology free time together every day and look at each other – REALLY look. Focus on small micro moments of connection. This kind of intimacy is fuelled by…

 

  1. O – Open Communication. Life goes by so fast; it’s easy to see how easily couples can grow apart. This pandemic has heightened stress and many of us are working longer hours than ever before. Work and home have blurred. This is a recipe for disaster unless we actively nurture our relationships. So, talk to one another. Make a point of telling each other ‘stories’… Whenever something funny, scary, exciting or interesting happens to you or to someone you know, tell each other about it. Keep each other in the loop of life. Your partner should not have to pry things out of you. You should want to share your life with them. If your partner is not communicating with you, ask yourself ‘why’? Maybe all you need to do is make time for each other (away from the TV, technology, kids and hustle of life), ask them how they are doing and then be prepared to… Listen, listen, listen and listen some more. It is important to make communication a habit and really hear each other out (especially during disagreements) or communication – and your relationships – will break down. Through open communication, you can work to uncover…

 

  1. N – Needs. Be good and kind to yourself, and then be good and kind to your partner and those you care about. That’s what love is all about and it starts with loving yourself. Think about your partner. Will it make him/her happy? Will he/she enjoy it? Consider each other’s feelings. Be attentive and sensitive to each other’s needs, both physically and emotionally. What do they need? And, if you are not sure, ask? And also be prepared to ask for what you need. That way your partner learns to do the same. Never take each other for granted. No matter how long you’ve been together, do not automatically think you can read each other’s mind. Learning about each other is a life-long journey and our needs can and often do change over time. Our world has been turned upside down so it is likely that needs have changed. Remember that this applies to all important relationships so you can reread this point with them in mind.

 
What will you do to nurture your relationships this week? Together we can…

‘be the difference that makes the difference

 

Namaste,

 

NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free weekly  ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.

Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

About Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 25 years’ experience in leadership development and organisational transformation. Her PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that was published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of numerous business schools and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. In 2020, Sharon was inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame, which is a lifetime achievement award, recognising excellence and her contribution to the field.
 

Sharon is one of only three women in South Africa to have achieved the title of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – the Oscar of the speaking industry. She is also a COMENSA Master Practitioner (CMP), a qualified Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT™) and an accredited Global Virtual Speaker. Sharon is also a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner.

Most important to Sharon is that she has become known for her genuinely caring manner, practical and transformational approach, and for providing valuable tools and that allow people to take Key Steps to really… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’