Many years ago, I remember hearing this question posed to a group of people going through some training, “How often should you tell your spouse that you love them?” Take a moment to consider what your response might be, and I will share the answer a little later in this column.
In speaking with a friend of mine who is a salesperson, he shared with me that he recently lost one of his best accounts. When I asked him what happened, he didn’t blame his company, the competition, the economy or anything else. He took full responsibility for not paying enough attention to them once the agreement was signed, he took the relationship for granted, never showing the customer how grateful he was that they trusted him with their business.
There is another story that I will share that came from a woman I know that I think we can all relate to. As she reflected on her relationship with her daughter, she said that she thought she was doing everything right when it came to raising her daughter, but like most of us parents who are far less than perfect, we miss things along the way. Her daughter grew distant and started making bad choices relative to the friends she was hanging around with. The woman said the one thing she could have done better is letting her daughter know just how much she loved her and appreciated her. Even though she did say those things, she felt like maybe it wasn’t enough.
Do you have your answers ready to the question of how often we should tell our spouses that we love them? The answer is this, before someone else does.
How often should we tell or show our customers how much we love and appreciate them? How often should we tell our children how much we love them and cherish them? How often should we let our friends know how much they mean to us? How often should we tell the people who report to us how grateful we are for all that they do? The answer of course to each one of these questions is, before someone else does.
A spouse who feels unloved will eventually turn to someone else for love. A customer who isn’t feeling the love from a company will bring their business elsewhere. A child who isn’t receiving love, recognition or time from us will be left to their own to decide where they can feel like they are wanted or where they belong. Even our closest friends will start to drift away if they feel ignored or feel like it is a one-sided friendship. And we know how hard it is to find great people to join our team, and how hard it is to retain top talent, we know that people usually don’t leave the company, they leave their leader or manager. Money isn’t the reason they leave either, it’s usually because they feel under appreciated.
I have asked the same question to many groups over the years when I was conducting sales training or leadership training, so I have heard many of the responses that may have been running through your mind as you considered your response, every day, three times a day, all the time, every time you part company and every time you see each other again, morning noon and night, and many others. And these are all great answers, and when we can internalize the thought around, “Before someone else does,” we will more than likely increase our frequency for showing love and appreciation for those that matter most to us.
Are you making sure that the people around you are feeling loved and appreciated? Or was this a good reminder that even if we think we are saying it enough, we might be able to show it and say it a little bit more often? I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we can let others know how much we love them before anyone else does, it really will be a better than good life.
Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries.