Eve Annunziato

WHO ARE YOUR VIPs? January 19, 2009

I don’t make resolutions, rather I make annual goals. Nothing wrong with New Year’s promises – no judgment here. But, reportedly they have a less than 2% success rate. However, you exponentially increase your chance of success and personal growth by setting  goals. Personally, when I write down my aspirations and visualize my expectations, I’m more likely to achieve them. For 2009, one of my top goals is to live in the present, shelf my ego while maintaining work-life balance by focusing on my VIPs. I want to ensure my relationships with my Very Important People are a priority.  In times of busyness, I have tendencies  to shelf my relationships and focus on VDPs (Very Draining People) and VNPs (Very Negative People).  NOT ANYMORE.  Why put an effort toward folks that suck the life out of you and form only conditional, one-way relationships?

As all of you know, the effect of relationships in our lives simply cannot be overemphasized. When they are in a positive healthy state, tranquility is easy to find. When they go sour, stress, depression and even physical fatigue can result. Because it’s so important to foster our relationships with those with whom we care most about, our VIPs, we should purposely place a higher priority on them.

In The Five Love Languages author Gary Chapman makes a very pivotal point for relationships when he writes, “When your spouse’s emotional needs are met and he or she feels secure in your love, the whole world looks bright and your spouse will move out to reach his or her highest potential in life.” Right then, it hit me: It’s not just enough to think about how much I love my most valuable players in life, I have to make sure and tell them.  It’s a daily decision to put the needs of your spouse, children and best friends before your own. There’s a healthy way to love and be loved and to be intimate.  Quality relationships require patience, consistency and attention. Too many times, because the rest of life wears us out, we just don’t have the energy to put toward the commitment. In reality, you’re likely going to have to rearrange schedules, drop some activities and not commit to so many other things that keep you from putting your full energy into your family and other quality relationships. Studies have shown 85% of our joy is rooted through nourishing relationships.

Ask yourself this after a conversation with your loved one, “Did I make that person feel better or worse about themselves about their life?” After all, people are already besieged by doubt and surrounded by negativity that can incidentally be profoundly sobering. One of my top goals is to make certain that after every VIP conversation, the people I love, admire, and respect feel more confident about their situation – about their life. My husband’s program, the Life Barometer, is a great resource for growing healthy relationships.

Abraham Lincoln said it this way, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” So, let’s start putting some life back in YOUR years and love your VIPs with all of your heart and soul in 2009!

 

Can You Relate? January 4, 2009

On our way home from our annual Christmas trip to the Smoky Mountains (started this year!) while we were singing Christmas carols for three hours at the top of our lungs, I asked my typical question: “What was your favorite part of our trip?”   I expected my daughter to say visiting the aquarium, swimming in the heated pool, attending a show, shopping at one of three outlet malls (oh, wait, that was my fave!), eating the great food, or walking through the streets amongst the sea of beautiful Christmas lights. Instead, her response was, “Being with my family!”   She proceeded to elaborate – “When I was a little kid (as if she were no longer little), I had a dream of a mommy named Eve, a daddy named Charlie, and a brother named Gentry – and they all looked like you.  When I grew-up my prayers came true!”

It occurred to me that my 4-year old daughter gets it.  Even Oharah’s teacher told us she’s often the class leader befriending everyone along the way.  She understands the key to great leadership; management via relationship – what I consider MOST IMPORTANT!  If you don’t put the people you lead before your purpose, you’re not leading to your fullest potential.  It took me a while to learn this vital lesson, after I failed, failed, and then failed some more.

When asked by a very successful businesswoman and volunteer coordinator at my recent Team Building workshop, “Why should I get to know my team members?  Aren’t I supposed to send out schedules, make reminder calls, and organize my teams, only?” This is a common misconception and a popular reaction.  We spent 20 minutes on this discussion, but to sum up my response, leaders can’t afford to get caught up in administrative tasks.  You’re most effective when you have time to encourage, support, shepherd, connect, vision-cast, and interact.  This builds trust, loyalty and community among those whom you’re leading and you.

It’s seems insignificant, maybe even unimportant, but it’s the best part of the job.  Recently, I had lunch with four of my female team leaders.  We never talked “shop.”  Instead, we had in-depth conversations about marriage, kids, faith and life’s challenges.  I want my teammates to know that I first care about them and choose to do life with them.  Completing tasks are easier when they know their existence means something to the organization and me.  Here’s great news – it’s the best part of the job.  Forced leadership is overrated; building authentic relationships is much more inspirational, rewarding and fun!

If you feel relational leadership is over-hyped because it’s too “nurturing” and “feel good” and leading shouldn’t be about popularity, than frankly, you’re missing the point.  Unbeknownst to you, without it, you may unintentionally discourage, deflate, and dispirit workers. Take time to spend time with them and let them know they’re more than just a means to an end result.  No matter how much money you earn, how much power you possess, or what job title you obtain, if you’re missing this mark, you’re not where you COULD be.

By the way, the inquisitive volunteer and Company VP recently contacted me.  She started using this philosophy in her business, enjoying the relational part of her volunteer duties most of all and feeling more “helpful and fulfilled!”  In other words, she can relate, now can you?