Put People First

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Sometimes human beings take the people in their lives for granted. Inherently, we always think there is another day or one more opportunity to talk, connect or be together. I would say that we’re all guilty of losing sight of what is important from time to time. Relationships mean everything, but sometimes it’s hard to maintain them. Frankly, people are difficult. And quirky. And downright selfish.

All of those traits are true for most of us at times, but when you look deeper – beyond the surface – there are those attributes that make the person lovable, unique and interesting. In today’s society, we’ve lost the true art of the front-porch sitting, time together barbequing and just calling for the sake of hearing someone’s voice era. It’s no one’s fault really. We are just busier than ever.

I’ve used the excuse that I’m busy over and over again to make myself feel better that I haven’t talked to my oldest friend in nine months or didn’t get a chance to visit with my Goddaughter at Christmas or that I’ve never been to my brother’s new home in Oscoda (new = five years). The value I place on these relationships is monumental, yet the pace of my life and how I spend any down time that I have doesn’t reflect it.

As this year began, I resolved that I would make more of an effort. And, as if the cosmos was listening, I became much more aware that people are not here forever and sometimes you lose an opportunity to fix a relationship or gain understanding about what went wrong. Relationships are a two-way communication situation. But, I would like to quote a note from someone who is going through a terrible loss of her husband right now: She said, “Honestly, there is no way for you to intrude right now.” This spoke volumes for me. I always hesitate to reach out because I don’t want to intrude on a friend or loved one’s discretionary time.

I am offering a few tips to make sure 2016 is your year of connection.

Find time in your schedule. There is more time there than you realize. If you’re a calendar person, plot it out for the next few months. You don’t have to say who or how or why, but set the time aside and make a few calls, have lunch or coffee or write a note.


Be creative. You are sending a few texts or keeping abreast of activities on social media and that’s great, but feeling close to someone may take a bit more effort. Set up a time every three weeks to see an early movie then go have dinner and talk about it and everything else.


Expect it to change over time. Don’t be discouraged if circumstances change and you have to change with it. For a couple of years, a group of ladies and I would get together once a week for fun. As the children grew, it became difficult for us to manage that schedule. We never give up trying to stay connected.


I challenge you to think about how you’re keeping in touch and step it up this month. February is about love and relationships and let’s face it, we are lucky to have these people, so treat them like they’re important to you.

If you’re looking to make some new relationships or to support the Lansing region’s business community, there are a couple of great events coming up. The Lansing Regional Chamber will have its Annual Dinner on Feb. 25 at the Kellogg Center and the Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Awards are on March 3 at Eagle Eye. You never know who might be your next great relationship.

Happy Valentine’s Day,


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Tiffany Dowling

Tiffany Dowling

Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.

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