Why should we take inventory? Shouldn’t relationships just be altruistic and taking inventory would just ruin the intent?

Well, we’ve only got so many hours in a day and in our lives, and we’ve only got so much space for thinking about things. When we just add to our lives and try to do everything, or be everything to everyone, we eventually reach the point where we’re spread so thin that we’re not seeing quality results from any of it.

So, yes, I think you should take inventory – to be at your best for yourself, your loved ones, and your business.

See, relationships are funny things. Some have hugely positive influences on our lives, some negative, and some just come in fairly neutral.

While we can’t control all the relationships we have in our lives, we do have some control over the time spent together and the influence we allow those relationships to have on our lives. It is the level of control we do have (however great or small) that we want to focus on here.

Are you better for it?

There are many nuanced details we could evaluate about each relationship, but I prefer a very simple method. Ask yourself one critical question to get at the heart of the relationship, and from there you can decide if you should devote more time or less time to each one.

You can look at this from a personal perspective or a business perspective – this evaluation works for both, and both are really necessary for being at our best and building our best businesses.

Ask yourself:

“Does my relationship with this person make me want to be and/or help me become a better person?”

Or from the business perspective:

“Does our relationship with this partner/supplier/vendor enable and/or challenge us to become a better company for our clients to do business with?”

Your time and resources are valuable

I believe that all relationships you choose to have in your personal or business life should be helping make you a better person or a better business. If that’s not actively happening, I think you should seriously evaluate what benefit that relationship is to either of you.

You’ll probably find that it’s completely justifiable to restructure the way you spend your precious time and resources. And in some cases, it may mean you need to fix things or just cut ties. It’s not always easy to do, but when you spend your time in the way that makes you the best You, everyone around you benefits exponentially.

I speak from both personal and business experience that the time spent thinking about this and taking the difficult action on it really becomes a huge positive for everyone. It can clear your lines of thinking, it can free up time for those things and people most important to you, and it allows you to only add new things to your plate when you know it’s a positive for everyone involved.


Photo by Andrew Fogg.