4 Ways that Build Deeper, Authentic Relationships

Adversity is something we all encounter, and according to CEO David Hoffman, we choose whether it creates a distance between us and others or develops our perseverance and gratitude. David grew up being bullied with very few friends and enduring a traumatic childhood with a controlling step-mother. He credits his own painful hardships for allowing him to appreciate the simple things in life and the reminder to put others first.

This world places so many rules on us every day. The list of “you cant’s” and “you shouldn’ts” have added a crushing weight to our lives. But relationships will always have more power than all of the rules.  Never forget that God places people in your life for a reason.

When that reality becomes your focus, then anything can be possible. You can leave behind a painful past and make your focus an exciting future.

David highlights a few of the seven principles that he shares with others to inspire, encourage, and help them to be a better person, friend, spouse, parent, worker, and grow in faith.

Focus on the People God Places in Your Life: For us all, we have a regret because of something we should have done, but didn’t. We have a regret from something we did that we shouldn’t have done. In my life, my biggest regret was not going to see my mom when I said that I would; and then, she died. I never got another chance. A major way we can battle that dilemma is by focusing on the people God places in our lives. Focus on people even when there’s nothing for you to gain. Whether someone is in our lives for a season, years, or a lifetime is God’s call. When you meet someone for the first time, don’t assume that you know what the introduction is about or not about. Don’t dismiss him or her based on any personal biases or judgments. Don’t overlook the opportunity because you are busy, distracted, or self-focused. Don’t assume how someone communicates or thinks or what the other person wants or needs.

Spend Time without Having an Agenda: As Christ followers, we have to remind ourselves daily that if we follow His lead, we must also adopt and engage His mindset and lifestyle. Think like Jesus and act like Jesus. Serving people is what we were all put on this earth to do. Remember to lead by example without words, as in, “Watch me, then follow my lead.”  Always give more than you take, even when someone else is giving.  Teach yourself to pay attention to people. Keep the focus on the other person or people.  In your relationships, learn as much as you can about where other people are in their lives. Learn their successes. Learn their challenges.

Adversity Can Create Gratitude: While painful memories can certainly torture us, they can also create a constant stream of gratitude for what so many people have come to expect, feel entitled to, or take for granted. All while most of the world is just trying to survive each day. If you have never had any real adversity in your life yet, that is certainly not your fault. And no one wants to sign up for trouble. But understandably, you likely won’t have the perspective of how bad things could actually be. That, in turn, also means you might not be grateful for how good things can be either. If that is true, then take it from me, be very grateful for your lack of adversity!  Check in monthly with your friends, loved ones and co-workers. Follow up and follow through when someone needs help. Offer advice when appropriate (and asked). Express your gratitude with a card, phone call or a small token (gift card, flowers or something you know they like).

Be a Friend Before Being the Expert: When any of us look at what it means to have a real friend, one who we know genuinely cares about us and carries no agenda, that narrows the number significantly. As we honestly consider these standards, the numbers dwindle quickly. In your own circles, how many people would you consider to be actual friends? Don’t assess your friends by the crowd gathered around you but who is standing with you. The ones you can count on to show up, stand up, and step up. Be yourself – don’t sell yourself. If God places someone in your life who has a need, reach out to everyone else whom He has placed in your life to help with that need.  Don’t let thirty days go by without reaching out to those whom God has placed in your life.  When a conflict arises with someone, learn how to overcome the circumstances rather than place blame.

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