I have had the opportunity in recent weeks to notice the busy-ness of the world in which we live. Part of this is a simple reflection of where I am at myself right now. My business is growing and building (which is a great thing). My children are growing and expanding their social worlds (which naturally contributes to the busy-ness of my life as a parent). And I’m slowly expanding the range of activities that I’m involved in, beyond simple income-generation, exploring and dipping my toes in various pools of volunteer work as a means of “giving back.”

As I’ve enjoyed this experience of growth, one of the things I’ve been very conscious and deliberate about, particularly over the last six months, is how I establish, build and maintain relationships. Everyone has relationships in their life. You may have a lot, you may have a few and either way, it’s not the number of relationships that you have which is important, it’s how you nurture them that matters.

One thing I know for sure is that my ability to build my business is directly dependent on my ability to build and maintain strong relationships, relationships in which people know, like and trust me. In order for this to happen, I have got to make time for ALL of these relationships in some way, shape or form. I’ve had opportunity to watch some of my colleagues recently. I see how they continually cancel some of their appointments -- those with other colleagues, friends, family or even themselves -- in order to serve their clients. And on the one hand, I totally understand. After all, these client relationships are what bring in the income, allowing you to stay in business. I get it. And yet, at some point, you will need something from those other relationships in your life. Now, you could rely on the goodwill of these folks to meet your needs. My guess, however, is that goodwill only goes so far.

If you continually put the needs of one relationship demographic ahead of others, things will go awry. You have got to find a way to nurture all of your relationships, in a balanced way. I know, your family and friends are forgiving, they understand that you’re busy. So do your colleagues; after all, they're likely in the same boat! And at the same time, these folks need you to make an appearance at some point. Not just a cursory facebook update, or a token “here I am for dinner today but I'm going to jump whenever my blackberry dings”, but a real, genuine, “I am fully present and engaged in our relationship” appearance. It doesn’t have to happen often; and it does have to happen.

Now, you’ve got to play with this a bit. Some relationships really do only need a good “catch-up” once a year or so. I know; I’ve got these relationships in my life. These are the relationships that have something really powerful at their core, the relationships that can withstand the distance of time and space and, are not contingent on daily interaction. Other relationships need more frequent, REAL interactions – by phone, by mail, in-person – in order to maintain their power. How much interaction is needed is not a reflection of how good or bad the relationship is; it’s simply a reflection of the difference in how the relationship is built. Your job is to know the difference and nurture accordingly.

Bottom-line: relationships matter. No matter how busy you are, or how successful you are, your willingness to nurture the relationships in your life and not take them for granted says a lot about who you are and what you value. If you value your success, you will take care of your relationships – all of your relationships. You’ll make time for your colleagues, your clients, your family, your friends and yourself. And if you don’t take care of your relationships, you can say goodbye to your success. So, how will you nurture your relationships this week?

Author's Bio: 

Gail Barker is a Certified Professional Life Coach and Co-Author of The Control Freak's Guide to Living Lightly. Since 2002, Gail has supported hundreds of professional women, through coaching, workshops, and her monthly ezine, in shifting their lives from chaos to calm; her coaching practice revolves around the concept of ease. For Gail, life is all about having every person experience success on their terms. To this end, she invites you to ask yourself, "whose life are you living?", and if your answer is anything other than "my own", visit Stellar Coaching and Consulting at www.stellarcc.com to get on your own path to success.