Excellence Is A Collaborative Endeavor: Actionable Tips To Optimize Your Relationships

You can achieve excellence. The secret: other people are essential to your success. It will be with the assistance of others that you will attain your greatest goals and summit your most meaningful mountains in life. So optimizing how you navigate your interpersonal relationships is crucial. It’s important—but not always easy.

You need to balance:

Acceptance—Recognizing that all people have strengths and weaknesses.

Assertiveness—Practicing healthy communication and boundary setting to show respect for yourself and others, address injustice, and prevent unnecessary stress, resentment, or burnout.

Awareness—Remembering not to take things personally that may not be about you at all, not making assumptions about others, working to identify and conquer any habits of “should-ing” or trying to control other people, noticing how your current stress level and self-care (Are you tired, overwhelmed, in a rush, or hungry? Or, gone too long without fresh air, fun, or exercise?) may be impacting your interactions with others, and skillfully surrounding yourself with positive, energizing people.

Appreciation and Encouragement (my personal favs)—Looking for the good in others, focusing on their strengths, being grateful for anything positive they share with you or the world, and finding ways to help, inspire, cheer other people on, and celebrate their victories with them.

I’ll cover each of the powerful bolded topics above in subsequent blogs. For now, here are a few ways to improve your relationships—by appreciating and encouraging others. Bonus: they’ll boost your energy as well. I call these simple strategies: Everyday Energizers.

  • Ask people how they are doing and attentively listen to their answers.
  • Offer encouraging words to a friend working towards a big goal—earning a degree, training for a race, finishing a project—whatever it is, give a hearty: “You got this!”
  • Mail “Thinking of You” or holiday cards to deliver a happy surprise. It can help keep you connected with childhood friends or other people from the past, who you may not see frequently now but were important regulars at various times throughout your life.
  • Say a sincere “thank you” to someone who helps you today.
  • Text “Happy Birthday” to people you care about. It’s easy to add friends’ and family members’ birthday info on your phone and set alerts to send them messages on their special days. Think about how nice it feels when someone acknowledges you on your birthday. Be the person who creates that good feeling for other people.



AWARENESS: How have other people contributed to your past achievements? Have you made time to thank those people in your life who have helped you overcome challenging moments or accomplish your goals? Do your relationships at home/work/school feel like the best they could be? What aspects of your relationships might you benefit from working on?

ACTION: Do one thing today to honor and optimize your relationships with other people. Try out one of the Everyday Energizers above or practice being more accepting, assertive, or aware when you are interacting with your family members, friends, classmates, colleagues, or anyone else who is in the boat rowing with you on your epic life journey.



“We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone…and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.”—Sandra Day O’Connor

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”—Steve Jobs