Last week, I had dinner with someone I have worked with for years. While we’ve developed a strong working relationship, we hadn’t had the opportunity to catch up socially. I really enjoyed learning more about their background and life outside of work. It also reminded me why one of our company’s core values is “Embrace Relationships.” Here’s how we define this core value:
Relationships advance our personal and professional lives, contributing greatly to our successes. We focus on long-term outcomes, meaningful relationships and genuine connections with our clients, teammates and partners. We believe that competence and character are fundamental to relationships built on trust and that quality relationships allow us to achieve more.
As it turns out, in addition to being a guiding business principal, this core value many have the side benefit of helping us to live longer.
In a recent Inc. article, the author reviewed two Harvard studies (Grant and Glueck) that tracked the physical and emotional well-being of two populations over a period of 75 years. The Glueck study looked at 456 men living in inner-city Boston neighborhoods between 1939 to 2014. The Grant study looked at 268 male Harvard graduates from the classes of 1939-1944. The lengthy time-frame of the study required multiple generations of researchers who analyzed blood samples, conducted brain scans, and examined self-reported surveys and interaction to compile the findings.
What the study concluded is that, when it comes to having a happy, healthy life, there is one thing that surpasses all the rest in terms of importance: good relationships. According to Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, “The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”
An important distinction the study made is that the quantity of friends had little to no impact on happiness; it was the quality of the relationship that mattered. And what drives the quality and depth of a relationship? The authenticity and vulnerability we bring to it. The studies’ authors also stressed that when we hit the inevitable rough patches in our lives, it’s critical to do everything we can to lean into these relationships and not push them away.
So, the next time you’re scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram posts, liking things along the way, you might instead think about using that time to pick up the phone and connect with someone you care about. Likewise, in business, rather than seeing someone as just an employee, client, prospect, or customer, engage with them as a person. Doing so could develop into an important relationship and may even help you live longer.
Have a great weekend!
Quote of the Week
“In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take”