Early in my career I heard a management expert say,
"Until you’ve reached age 40, been in a successful long-term relationship, and raised your own children, it is difficult to be a successful business manager."
Although I bristled at that statement during my early 30s, today I can understand the wisdom in that statement. And recently, a new insight became clear.
I was contacted by an international conference catering to couples looking to enter matrimony with the hope of achieving marital bliss. They asked me for a Valentine’s Day presentation with the title, “I Do!”
Reflecting on my experience of growing 4 businesses with many business partners, being in a successful marriage for over 44 years, raising 3 children and participating in the lives of 3 grandchildren, an acronym for “I DO” emerged.
The message of “I DO” applies equally to being successful in any long-term relationship, whether it is in business or in your personal life.
I = Be Intentional, both in words and deeds. Consider how you show your friendship and care for another person. My wife often says to her friends, “If you want to know how you will be treated by your spouse, observe how he treats his mother.”
D = Be Disciplined to master the basics of money, communication and conflict resolution, health, and organizational skills.
O = Be Open in mind to become a lifelong learner, in heart to be compassionate toward yourself and others, in will to courageously commit and do what is right, and in spirit to stay in communication with divine wisdom and guidance.
In summary, the issue of achieving success in relationships isn’t because of age or marriage or child-rearing. It is growing your wisdom from being in relationship and discovering that it’s not all about you, but in your ability to:
- Give selfless service when necessary
- Be emotionally supportive when it’s called for
- Able to set boundaries and be tough-minded
- Keep a commitment for the long haul