Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Friendship: A Crux of Happiness

In my coaching experience, HAPPINESS is one of the main objectives people seek from life. A question that comes up is "what will make me happy" and then the follow-on might be "with my job" or "in this relationship" or "with my life?"

Or, someone will state a concern, but the underlying objective is really happiness. Stating "I'm not really content with my job right now," is a way of saying "my job isn't making me happy." Or saying, "He isn't really doing it for me anymore," is a way of saying you're not happy in your relationship.

No matter what the topic, whether it be our work, our relationship, our health, I find that building solid, strong friendships is actually at the crux or a cornerstone of building happiness in our lives. And the way we build strong relationships is to invite, share, and give part of our life with another person.

When I coach people on how to improve their dating relationships, the first thing I suggest they do is just build more strong friendships. Because the stronger your friendships, the stronger your dating relationships can be, too. The network supports the core growth of two people and helps keep them in the relationship if they ought to stay in, and likewise encourages they get out if they are in an unhealthy situation.

Friendships are also highly useful in business. I find that many of my job opportunities, many recommendations that helped me land a job, and many coaches to challenges I've had in my career actually came from my friendships. So, if you're at work and struggling in your career. The first thing I would suggest to you is to GROW more business friendships. That means, helping people without worrying about what they're going to GIVE back to you. It's hard to do at first, but a key especially when you're volunteering. It is actually one of the best ways to grow your network. Volunteer for an organization or event, such as the American Cancer Society, and then just try to be helpful in any way that you can within the time you can spare. Watch how many friends you grow from this. When I volunteered for the American Cancer Society, I made several great friends from the events and people I've met there. In fact, one year, I met my friend Jonathan, who later invited me to RYZE (http://www.RYZE.com), the first social networking site I joined that produced countless other business and personal relationships and friendships.

So, you just never know where one association might lead. I've been volunteering for the local Symphony Pops concert every year. Each year I've made new friends who were also part of the volunteer team. Try the volunteer route and see if your friendships don't improve.

The best thing about friendship is that when you least expect it, a friend might pop out of the woodwork and brighten your day. This happened for me recently with Belinda Farrell (http://www.HunaHealing.com), a master hypnotherapist and Huna Healing practitioner who also was my first Aspiration Advocate at AspireNow. I remember meeting Belinda through a Bonnie Coleen event I attended, where Belinda had a booth offering her services. I was drawn to her and became her friend. Then later that year, I offered her an opportunity to be an Aspiration Advocate. Belinda agreed. Today, years later, we are still friends. I refer people to her business, and I'm pretty sure she's referred a few to me, too. But, more than that, we care about each other.

Who do you know in your life who you would love to know better?

I totally recommend you reach out, do something, give something, show in some way that you care in a way that THEY will appreciate. For example, I'm just listening to Belinda's introduction and the word that sticks with me is "dolphins" for Belinda. Sometimes, sending a dolphin greeting, or a gift, might be a way to show you care for someone like Belinda. Or, invite them to an event you're participating in. Are you going to a seminar on sustaining the planet? Well, maybe your friend might want to go with you. And, it will be more fun for you to share in the experience. So, you can grow a friendship a variety of ways.

My friend, who I referred to Belinda, contacted Belinda regarding her "Chant and Forgiveness" CD program. Belinda, in reference to me, said something flattering like "Scott is a Masterpiece." I glowed when I read this. What a beautiful thing to say about me. When I reconnected with Belinda, there was such a warmth, such a depth of love in the connection, I realized: "Wow! I have a lifetime friendship happening here." How cool is that?

Our friends are so wonderful!

"Friendship is a term used to denote co-operative and supportive behavior between two or more humans," according to Wikipedia. I really love what Wikipedia later lists as criteria for friendship:

  • the tendency to desire what is best for the other,
  • sympathy and empathy,
  • honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one's counterpart
  • mutual understanding.

A few years ago, I actually took this to another level and added: my friends are people who are in support of my highest good. It was the expansion of the first of these bullets. My question was: If someone is NOT in support of your highest good, are they really your friend? I pondered that question and decided, nope, only people in support of my highest good are truly real friends. If you make sure that a person you surround yourself with is in support of your highest good, has easy camaraderie, tends to have mutual understanding with you, and demonstrates both cooperate and supportive behavior; congratulations: you've gained a deeply rich new friendship!

It has been said that a man can die rich and still be poor. But the counter is you can die poor and be rich -- very rich -- with friendship.

Make your life an effort to grow rich friendships, and see how your happiness grows. Friendship is like putting miracle grow and water on your life. Plant seed, add friendship, watch happiness grow is the way I see this path towards happiness. So many people struggle with what they are getting from life. Well, the best way to make a new friend it not to GET, but to GIVE. How is your serve? If you reach out, offer to do something for each person you meet. It doesn't have to be incredibly time-consuming, nor does it have to cost a lot. Just do SOMETHING. GIVE SOMETHING or INVITE this person to some event you're participating in, and watch a new friendship grow.

I invite people I meet to my band gigs. It is one way people love connecting with me. People have invited me to their workshops, all kinds of things. OH - and if someone invites you to something, GO! Try to RIDE TOGETHER. Time together is the best recipe for growing friendships. The more time you spend together, the more you know each other and have a chance for really deep friendship.

Sometimes we make a trade-off in life of money for friendship. I told someone recently that I made less money living on the Central Coast than I made in the Bay Area. However, I have 10x the number of friends since moving here. So, was it worth it? If you're measuring wealth of friendships and wealth of happiness, the answer is a resounding YES. And, you know what? I wouldn't be surprised if the abundance in wealth soon follows, too.

As the title of one of the songs I wrote goes, you've got to "Give Some to Get Some."


The author of this post is a business and life coach. Learn more at http:www.AspireNow.com or http://www.ARRiiVE.com.

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