Women in business…we’ve got a lot going on, am I right? We wear many different hats every day. We’re sisters & daughters & wives & mothers & friends & bosses & co-workers. We’re going to talk about how to maintain a healthy relationship today. One of the things I’ve learned in my 10 years of being an entrepreneur is that all my hats don’t match all the different people in my life. What does this mean exactly?
My boss hat doesn’t always match my kids. I don’t typically put it on when I’m with, or talking to, my kids. They aren’t going to care about my P & L statements. My mom hat doesn’t always match all my friends. If I have a friend that doesn’t have kids, she most likely won’t give two shits about my daughter’s eating habits…she can’t relate & it’s boring.
Our long-term relationships tend to shift, change, & sometimes even end. It’s natural. People change, and so, too, will our relationships with others. Sometimes keeping a friendship becomes harder. Sometimes we find ourselves getting frustrated or our feelings get hurt. Nobody likes when that happens.
I’m going to share with you something that works for me; what helps keep my inner circle relationships healthy & happy (for the most part!). It’s actually pretty simple. I wear different hats with different people.
Let me explain. I do a lot of self-reflection & self-checks. I, like most people, want to be happy & drama-free & have a good life. In order to have all this, I know I have to look at myself all the time because I’m half of whatever is going on. Any interaction I have with other people is half me. I ask myself, “am I being kind, understanding, judgement free,” or “am I being a dick?” We all know we can’t control what other people do & say, but we can absolutely control what we say & how we act.
Part of self-reflection for me is my expectations for people in my life. In order to have realistic ones, I have to not expect everyone to care or support every single thing.
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So the hats. Over the years I unconsciously put everyone I know in a category. I didn’t even know I was doing this until having a conversation with a friend & learning that this is what she does; she puts everyone in boxes. I like hats; I look great in hats! Once I realized I did this too, I had even more control over the state of my relationships.
For example, I put my mom hat on when I’m hanging out with a friend that I met because of our kids. I know the bulk of the conversation is going to be about our kids. Yes, I might mention what I’m doing in my businesses if asked, but I leave a lot out. I put my boss hat on when running meetings in Boss Evolution or hosting business events. I might mention something about my kids or husband, but the main topic will absolutely be business.
Doing this helps me set realistic expectations I have for the people in my life. We may think that if someone is truly our closest friend then they should embrace & care about all aspects of our lives. While I love the idea of this, it’s simply unrealistic. Not everyone needs to hear about everything all the time. It’s too much and frankly, it’s exhausting. I’ve worked out what sort of topics I can share with certain people to have a meaningful conversation & interaction.
I have a lot of different cups in my life that need filling, as we all do, but my biggest cup is business/goals/motivation. When I sit back & look at my circle of girlfriends, many of them are businesswomen. I also have people I can stack hats with & still match beautifully. My husband for example, I can wear like 4 hats at once with him: wife, kid, friend, boss. One of my closest girlfriends is a mom & an entrepreneur…we flip those hats on & off like nobody’s business the whole time we’re together.
Whatever it is, hats or boxes or cups, give it a think. Do you unconsciously or consciously do this? I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment below!
Here’s a great book my friend shared with me about relationships. Check it out HERE!
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Until next time!