Your Friendship Style Can Harm Your Business and Career.

For the second time in as many days, a friend mentioned “accountability partner.”

The second time I heard the term, I asked, “is this a new coaching phrase?”

Then I remembered days before, during a chat with a sorority sister, I confessed, “I may not be the friend you need.”  I felt that I had fallen short of being a good friend to her in the past.

The only way you know if you’re slacking at being a friend is to know what type of friend you are.

I hadn’t considered my style until I read this story of friendship. The story touched me deeply, and I apologize in advance if my retelling doesn’t do it justice.

A distraught woman had experienced a family tragedy and needed to talk to her best friend.  Her friend spoke briefly with her on the phone. She then abruptly told the woman she had to go. The woman hung up, puzzled by the fact her friend didn’t make time to speak with her in her time of need. Her grief increased as she had to shoulder her burden alone.  A few hours later, the woman’s friend was standing at her door. The woman’s friend told her, – you needed me, and I had to get to the airport to catch the last flight out to be here with you. ‬

The woman in that story is the superhero action-figure kind of friend. Many of us believe we’re that type of friend. It is essential, however, to be honest with yourself.   You might be selling yourself short and denying the world of the best friend you can be.

In the age of social network platforms, we’ve become accustomed to using the term “friend” and “follower” interchangeably – but no one should take those terms lightly.  “Follower” carries its weight because it implies you’re a leader who comes equipped with its burden. “Friend” means “labor of love” and “responsibility.”

Even in its cavalier usage, I focused on being the best friend I could be.  But until recently, I believed I was slacking in my duties.  Possibly because I never included “accountability” in the friendship equation. 

So, I admitted as much to my sorority sister ‬by saying to her,

‪”Here’s what comes naturally to me – I’m the friend that listens and commits your words to memory… and good or bad, I will remind you of those words.”‬

No sooner did I reflect on those words did it reveal how I get results in a professional setting. It appears I carry my friendship traits into my career. Unfortunately, I hadn’t noticed that one trait helped me professionally. But without strengthening that skill, it also hindered me at times.   

Since all relationships are transactional and all selling is social – whether you work a 9 to 5, are looking for a job, or are an entrepreneur, your friendship style can assist you in achieving your professional goal or push it further away.  

So, it’s essential to know the “friend” style.

My friendship style manifest in my professional career as an ability to “listen” first, “respond,” second, sometimes asking for clarification, and then using that information to help that customer (internal/external) achieve their goal.

Based on that skill alone, I’ve aced every in-person job interview I’ve attended.

I faltered when I stopped actively listening.  

That’s when a lover or friend blindsided me and left. Or an employer terminated my position, or I lost out on a lucrative contract.

How we friend might be a super-power to help us overcome an obstacle and achieve our goal.  First, we must understand the nature of that “friend” skill and how we use it to our benefit.

So, ask yourself,

“How do I “friend”? ‬

Yes, I turned a noun into a verb, but “friend” like “love” is best expressed by action.

And it’s your action that will help you get what you desire.

How to Avoid Failure in 5 Simple Steps

 

Imagine walking around all day with a song playing in your head – and no one is playing music nearby.

Well, for some reason, the Universe deemed it necessary to share, and on repeat, the hook from the dance/soul song “Take Your Time.”

The SOS Band’s Billboard Top 100 song peaked on the charts at Number 1 in 1980.  It was a definite hit almost 4 decades ago, and now it was an earworm squirming around my head like a clue from a puzzle waiting to be solved.

Growing up, my mother would always tell me to “take your time; slow down.” She said it so many times that I thought “take your time” meant “slow down.”

I didn’t think that was the message the universe was sending to me, though. If I went any slower, I’d be going backward.

So, I pulled the 12″ record out of the proverbial album crate, put it on for a spin, and listened to the words.  The lead singer crooned for her lover to

“Take your time, do it right”.

She wants him to slow down, stop working so hard, and spend time with her.  It was the “Do it right” part that caught my attention.

“Haste Makes Waste”

Were wise words back in 190 BC.

Let me back up; that’s the shortened version.  Here’s the actual verse from “The Book of Wisdom.”

“There is one that laboureth, and taketh pains and maketh haste, and is so much behind”

And there’s that word again, “Take” as in “Taketh pains.”

I put the song on repeat.  I was determined to solve this mystery of the earworm.

I looked up “take” in the dictionary, and I found it was listed as 2 different parts of speech with 28 different meanings!

But Merriam Webster came through and has a separate section for idioms beginning with “take.”

“Take one’s time” is on the list.taketime

 

In today’s microwave generation, where there’s an app for that, there’s nothing we can go leisurely about, and that includes our work.   We expect our corporations to solve our problems lickety-split. Our supervisors hoped to find a solution to a decades-old problem before the week’s end.

Put a rush on it is the rallying cry.

The irony is “fast and wrong is still wrong.”  In the end, the corporation spends a lot more money correcting an error than they would have spent if they took the time to get it right the first time.

The “Do it Right” lyrics in the song produced the Aha moment.  The singer pleads:

“We can do it right. Even if it takes all night. We can do it until the early morning light.”

Adolescent ears heard they were going to “do it” all night.

Today, mature ears hear: it takes time and focus on doing anything well.  No one can rush through a project and expect excellence.

One must take the Shamanic approach to the project and become one to achieve the desired results.

From ” A Course in Shamanism

  1. Lose the attachment to the result or outcome. It is not important.
  2. Focus all your attention on the process to become proficient.  The process is the most essential aspect of the project.  Developing your abilities is akin to wishing for and getting more wishes. Once you master the process, it is easy to duplicate.
  3. Honor the process over product.   It was the Lions vs. Da Bears in 2010 – Lions’ wide receiver Calvin Johnson catches a would-be touchdown pass thrown by QB Shaun Hill, but it was overruled by the officials who said Johnson didn’t “complete the process.”  Johnson’s main job, as a wide receiver, is to catch the football.  He did.  But then he dropped it. Officials said it was too soon. That ruling cost the Lions the game. The importance of completing the process remained with me.   The product – a Touch Down was lost due to an incomplete process of catching and then letting go of the football before refs rule a touchdown. Not completing the process in football is known as “The Calvin Johnson Rule.”
  4.  When you become one with the process, the only outcome is to produce excellence. You are what you seek.
  5. Share your knowledge.

And there you have it.  Mystery solved.  There was more to the phrase “Take your time.” It should have read:

“Take your time, slow down and focus on the process  to achieve excellence.”