Friday, May 07, 2010

Looking After Your Pearls

Recently I got an email entitled “How to Look After Your Pearls”. Being in the personal performance business I opened it expecting some wisdom on life. I was somewhat amused and a little disappointed that it was actually about caring for pearl jewellery. But it got me thinking about what it might have said…..

What are the “pearls” in your life? You might think about pearls of wisdom which have helped you with difficult choices or situations. They might be principles which guide you, enlighten you or simply clarify things for you.

For many of us, the relationships in our lives are like a string of pearls: sometimes prominent around us and sometimes overlooked. Relationships bring some of the most precious experiences in our lives: love, fun, friendship, support, respect, encouragement and validation. They play a pivotal role in our working lives bringing access to monetary reward, intellectual stimulation, information, knowledge and opportunity. How those relationships are working makes the major difference between a good day and a bad day or even a good job versus a bad job.

Like pearls, relationships need some care and attention to be their best. They need regular contact to keep their lustre.

Pearls are susceptible to contaminants like water and perfume. What contaminants creep into relationships? Poor communication? Perceived lack of respect?  Loss of openness and honesty? Forgetfulness? Contaminants are best acknowledged and dealt with quickly and appropriately.

Damaged pearls need attention and replacement or they affect the look and value of the whole. Relationships change over time. We have to face the need to polish them up again or let them go and replace them with more fitting ones.

New pearls – well they may well be valuable assets too. In business, taking the opportunity to make that network call or ring that sales prospect might well lead to new and rewarding things you can’t yet see. A lot of people shy away from networking for all sorts of reasons. But an effective network, well maintained, quickly brings you knowledge, insights, opportunities, connections to others and recommendations. So the investment can pay back many times – you just may not know when.

The email may not have been on the subject I was expecting, but looking after your pearls is definitely good advice.

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