Friendships! Positive relationships! How much do these elements matter in business? In health? In happiness? I suppose many people might agree that they’re important for health, especially mental and emotional health. Probably most people would agree that they’re important factors in happiness. But in business?
According to Shasta Nelson, they’re just as vital for business as for other areas of life. Give a listen while she explains all this in an interview with Alex Sanfilippo. Scroll down on that page for related links and textual explanation of some of Shasta’s ideas.
Many entrepreneurs describe themselves as lonely. Shasta starts her discussion by defining loneliness. It’s recognition that more is possible in personal relationships than we’re currently experiencing. It’s often not a lack of social skills – just a matter of seeing other things as more important. We may be communicating with many people in business. However, we don’t have enough or strong enough ties with people we want to be more intimate with. Shasta says studies show 70% of our happiness comes from relationships.
She also reports that many medical people find loneliness to be the prime factor in many serious ailments. Proper sleep is the only factor which may be more important to overall health than how supported and how loved we feel.
Entrepreneurs may experience this more than some others. According to Shasta though, 61% of all Americans describe themselves as lonely, so entrepreneurs are not alone in their loneliness,
Alex relates a story about an acquaintance who died in his early 70s. Outwardly this guy appeared to be very successful – in business, in finances, etc. He told Alex during his later years that he realized his life lacked in friendships and close relationships. He was sure he’d have been happier and healthier with more close relationships. He regretted his inattention to those things.
A little aside: This all supports my belief that my tranquil life among friends in Argentina might well add 10+ years to my life-span.
Shasta defines “frientimicy” – the close relationships in our lives that are unrelated to romance. She says the lack of frientimicy is much more prevalent for men than for women. I agree. And…they need it just as much as women. Men are culturally discouraged from pursuing these relationships. Perhaps they’re also less inclined. If so, social cultures support that disinclination.
Shasta has polled 15,000+ people on how they rate the friendships in their lives. Average self-scores are about 6.
That’s too low! The three things she says are most important to meaningful relationships are:
Look in these areas to see how you might improve your frientimicy. And remember to include your business life as well. Contrary to some people’s belief, you can be friends with those you work and do business with. Some of those friendships can have great depth. Well-run businesses recognize this and promote supportive relationships.
We need to have a mix of relationships where these factors are present in varying degrees. We need some frientimate relationships and some more distant ones. As in most things in life, variety is important.
Shasta explains these concepts in more depth and thoroughness than I can in this short message. I recommend you listen to her interview with Alex to get her full import. It’s about a half hour long and well worth your time.
This relates loosely to the article I wrote a couple of weeks ago on the subject of “play” in addition to, and part of, work. I’ve posted other articles on related subjects on my blog page. Search for relationships – you’ll find several.