I heard this many times over the years from my husband as director of a non-profit:
It’s all about relationship!
And his aim was always to put listening, trust building, connecting — relationship — first. Relationship — before discussing treatment plans, performance issues, stuff that needed to be done.
Last week at the Fox Valley Literacy Council celebration of achievement gala, I heard it again. While students come to FVLC to learn life and language skills, they soon find themselves in a committed relationship with their volunteer tutor. Before long, both lives are forever changed by a deepening into true and lasting friendship. (*)
When I meet someone who desires life coaching with me, the first thing we talk about is the critical nature of the relationship: Are we a fit? Can we work together at the deep level of trust required for this relationship to serve you?
It’s all about relationship!
I think India Arie has a powerful message about relationships in Better People:
In our nation, we are hearing a lot of “us vs. them”, of talking about others, of shouting at, but not communicating with the people around us. Issues have defined relationships which seem to be missing some key elements of true connectivity:
- Open your heart
- Listen to understand
- Seek alignment on higher values before agreement on lesser details
This month, consider where your relationships are wavering, or where you have prioritized an “it” (activity, thing, task, ideology) above real connection with the other people involved.
What courageous step toward true relationship is yours to take?
(*) For more information about the Fox Valley Literacy Council and to learn about life changing volunteer opportunities, see http://www.fvlc.net/ To get a sense of the people who work there and what they are about, here is the invocation we heard (in 3 languages!) at the gala, written by the Adult Education Coordinator, Heather Chantelois:
Let us take a moment to pause, to feel our feet on this ground, to see our neighbor beside us.
May we give thanks for the good fortune of this gathering.
May we give thanks to the earth, to the plants and animals who give life to our meal.
May we give thanks to the workers who prepare our food, who tend the building, who protect our safe passage.
And may we give thanks to one-another for our presence here tonight and to the divine spirit sheltering us all.
As we go forth, may we welcome all to our door and serve all at our table.
May compassion and humility temper our urgency.
May integrity and courage steady our sails.
May we awaken to hear the quiet and neglected calls.
May our hearth be a haven from which community comes to fullness.
May we cherish the unique brilliance of each person
And seek to provide only nourishment we truly need.
May we honor the arduous journeys and rejoice in the quiet miracles.
May our work bring renewal, larger horizons of possibility, and the true embrace of belonging.