The Most Important Relationship You’ll Have in Life

An afternoon with Diane von Furstenberg

Last week, I attended the Simmons Leadership Conference here in Boston and I had the chance to hear Diane von Furstenburg as the keynote speaker.

She said something that caused the audience to erupt with applause (and me to scramble for my pen and notebook so I could capture her wisdom!):

“The most important relationship you will have in your life is with yourself. After that, every other relationship becomes a plus and not a must.”

Since our theme this month is cultivate, I started thinking, how can one cultivate a relationship with oneself?

In my mind, this is an opportunity to truly take ownership over both our strengths and our opportunities for growth, to trust ourselves to take risks and successfully navigate the consequences, and to build confidence in our abilities to try new things or take on a leadership role.

Of course, easier said than done, right?

Here are a few easy tips for knowing yourself and your strengths just a little bit better:

  • Solicit feedback from friends and colleagues that you know, like, and trust and ask them what it’s like to work with you, what they see as your biggest strengths, and what you bring to the table.
  • Keep a journal where you can maintain observations about your work and life – what you like, what you hate and what you wish you had more of. It doesn’t need to be a memoir – a few weeks of daily notes can provide a lot of helpful insight into your evolving interests.
  • Practice taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’ve been hanging out in our Facebook group for a while, you know that I always suggest starting with something easy, like sending back a coffee with cream when you ordered a black coffee! Little steps can help you to build your confidence over time.
  • Keep learning! Whether you attend conferences or events, sign up for online courses, or just download a new book for personal/professional development each quarter, pay attention to the way your interests are evolving. They’re likely leading you in a new direction!

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