Sometimes relationships grow stronger through adversity.
Self-isolation has transformed the way we connect with each other. Face-to-face meetings have been replaced by virtual get-togethers as we adapt to today's challenges. But what kind of effect will adversity have on our relationships? Will it strengthen them? Or break them?
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay experienced the most extreme adverse conditions when they became the first climbers to reach Mount Everest’s summit on 29th May, 1953. They endured life-threatening conditions to make it to the top. It is famously documented that the first thing Hilary did was to take a photo of Tenzing – ensuring that their mutual respect was captured forever.
It goes to show that adversity can, indeed, strengthen relationships. The key, it seems, is to follow a few simple rules:
1. Develop mutual respect. As Edmund and Tensing demonstrated, this takes time as we prove ourselves to each other through challenges and experiences.
2. Share vulnerability. Voicing our concerns with those around us doesn’t come naturally to most but it can result in a far greater level of support and understanding.
3. Be authentic. Being ourselves and accepting others as they are is even more important now as we rely more on digital communication.
4. Identify shared goals and values. The common goal of ‘we are in this together’ should bring us all closer. Collaboration is vital in tough times.
5. Offer support. The greatest compliment in business is a referral. Connecting people is even more important when everyone is isolating. Who can you help connect today?
Above all, relationships can only grow stronger when we communicate. And that, of course, means we need to keep talking…