Excerpt from Roadmap to Success:
Why is it important to have a roadmap in order to have successful relationships?
Our relationships with others are the cornerstones of our lives. They are the foundation that supports us as we grow. When we have a solid foundation, we can more easily thrive and prosper in every aspect of our lives. When our relationships are successful, they are our greatest source of pleasure and inspiration, and when they are unsuccessful, they can be our greatest source of pain and sorrow.
Given the supreme importance of our relationships, it has always puzzled me that this part of our lives is generally left to chance. If we want to succeed in our careers, we expect to study and train for many years. If we want to learn how to play a musical instrument, or how to speak another language, we know we’ll have to put in countless hours of study and practice. Yet, when it comes to relationships, especially romantic ones, most of us believe the fairytale that our true love will appear magically by chance, and then we’ll live happily ever after.
Since most of us believe the myth that our relationships should just happen automatically, we also believe that there is no need for us to prepare, to learn skills or become educated about ourselves or relationships. Therefore, most people haven’t learned how to develop a supportive relationship with themselves, or how to create successful relationships with others.
Unfortunately, the consequences of wandering around without a roadmap, training or education can be disastrous. Without a roadmap, we may become our own worst enemies, criticizing and sabotaging ourselves rather than supporting ourselves to be our best. Without a roadmap, we may be blinded by lust, and get involved with people who are not good matches for us. Without a roadmap, we may blame, judge and make assumptions about others, often becoming manipulative bullies or disempowered victims.
In the past decade, I’ve seen many singles who were frustrated and discouraged about dating, couples who bickered constantly, clients with long-term grudges and resentments towards family members, and those who felt mistreated at work and unable to communicate with bosses and co-workers. All of these relationships, whether at work or in our private lives, share common basics. They all thrive on respect, honest communication, trust and support, and they all suffer when these qualities are not present.
We start to learn about relationships before we can talk and patterns begin when we’re young. When the people that we care about are supportive of our success, and trust and believe in us, we have the foundation we need to live successful lives. As children, we flourish when our relationships with our family are stable, supportive, and inspire our growth. As adults, we flourish when our romantic partnerships are stable, supportive and inspire our growth. When we have loving, supportive partners at home, we are better able to succeed in our careers and in every other area of our lives.
Most people claim that their romantic relationships are of utmost importance, yet they tend to pair up with romantic partners without gathering enough information to know if they are making good choices. Believing that relationships should just “happen,” couples continue to just “happen” to get together and more often than not, they “happen” to not get along well enough to sustain a long-term commitment. Some stay unhappily together, but most separate and move on to the next partner without learning how to make a wiser, more conscious choice next time.
Can you imagine buying a car or house that you happened to stumble across and then expecting it to work well for you for many years? Of course not! We give a great deal of thought to the types of houses we want to live in and the type of cars we want to drive. In fact, most people spend much more time researching which car they should buy than consciously choosing which mate they should marry! Does that mean we care more about cars than relationships? No. It means that we’ve overlooked an essential component to loving successfully. We haven’t realized that with the right roadmap, support and information, all our relationships could run as smoothly as any well-tuned luxury sports car.