The Reinvention Studio Blog

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The Power of Relationships

Jun 01, 2022

Having built a successful photography/video production company in this post-pandemic world, there's one thing that I've learned for certain:  No creative studio can survive without building strong relationships.

In the book, Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton, author Amy Shively Hawk tells the moving account of her father, Captain James R. Shively and many other POWs who endured years of unending torture and severe deprivation at the hands of the Viet Cong. Amy interviewed many of the survivors of that awful ordeal including Senator John McCain.

The thing that stands out about how those POWs survived such inhumane treatment was their reliance on each other for moral support. For those POWs, a fate worse than torture or starvation was solitary confinement. They confess that they gladly would have endured the pain of torture rather than be separated from their “brothers,” as they called each other.

You and I rarely, if ever, experience anything so terrible as what those POWs endured. In truth, we are probably spoiled when it comes to relationships. And as a result, we often take our relationships for granted.

It’s interesting that, on their death-bed, no one wishes they had had more stuff. People and relationships are what’s important to them and on their minds and hearts. Stuff is temporary. People are forever.

We Are Made for Relationships

In the epic film, Cast Away, Tom Hanks graphically portrays our innate need for companionship. Stranded as the sole survivor of a plane crash on a deserted island, he is so desperate for relationship that he creates an imaginary companion with a volleyball he names “Wilson.”

We must ask ourselves why we need such extreme examples as Cast Away and Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton to remember how vital relationships are to our very existence. We need others. We need relationships.Obviously, we need relationships to engage in the creative services businesses we run. But more than that, we need relationships like we need air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. Relationships meet a basic human need. And it’s good to remember that we meet that need for others as well. It’s true, others desperately need you!

Things that Kill Relationships

But if relationships are so important to us, why do we find them so difficult at times? The answer: Anything of value takes time and energy to cultivate and maintain. This is especially true of relationships, but we forget that. So, here is a short list of behaviors and attitudes that put a strain on any relationship:

  • Being self-absorbed. If everything is all about you, your life will be very shallow and probably void of deep relationships.
  • Viewing others as mere means to an end. No one likes feeling used or taken advantage of. This is a form of abuse.
  • Failing to invest time and energy into a relationship. Relationships are like gardens. We must cultivate the ground, plant good seeds, water it, and pull out those bothersome weeds.
  • Complaining, blaming, accusing, fuming, and not forgiving. Those are all caustic behaviors that are sure to undermine a relationship.
  • Being non-communicative.

Regular, heartfelt communication is essential to creating and sustaining relationships. Without communication there is no relationship.Relationships aren’t like math or science where two plus two always equals four and gravity always works. Relationships are messy. But so are a lot of things in life. Animal husbandry, keeping a pet, farming, gardening, arts and crafts, adventures, and even running a business are all messy at times. Not everything is predictable, plannable, and prescriptive.However, there are plenty of positive actions and attitudes we can cultivate that nurture relationships. Here are just seven of them.


 7 Nurturing Actions
  1. Get to know someone new.
  2. Tell someone you love them.
  3. Serve someone selflessly and generously.
  4. Be kind to strangers.
  5. Listen intently and be all-there when others talk to you.
  6. Show someone you care.
  7. Forgive someone.

As messy as they can be, everybody needs relationships. Look around you. Who needs one of those seven nurturing actions from you today? Go ahead, make somebody’s day!



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