When it’s going well: when deals are being signed; when you’ve just cleaned all the dishes in the apartment for your roommate; when you and your significant other get back from an amazing vacation, that’s the time to invest in the relationship. If you wait until things take a wrong turn, you’ve waited too long.
The business you sign today is the direct result of the work you put in yesterday; the messages you left, the bottle of scotch you sent. There is always a lag time between the effort and the payoff. Yesterday’s investments lead to tomorrow’s returns. This is true in our personal lives as well.
The time to work on the relationships that are most important to us is precisely when things seem to be going well. That is the time to have open dialogue, and ask our loved ones what we can be doing better, and tell them in a constructive way what they can be doing better.
That is the time, as Stephen Covey puts it so well, that we can invest dollars into the bank of goodwill that we will need to withdraw from when we make mistakes: because we all make mistakes.
Ask the salesman who didn’t meet his quota; the father whose son doesn’t call anymore; the divorcee who wished he’d put more time into his relationship when he had the chance: the time to put in the work is not when things have already gone south, because then it’s already too late.
Invest today, and reap the benefits tomorrow.