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How Business Taught Me Life Lessons

I was 24 when I realised I was a high maintenance friend.

It was one of those equally surprising and disheartening moments when you have a random epiphany - or as my business partner calls them "ah ha!" moments.

For many years I've been comfortable with admiting it's hard for me to find friends. It was evident as early kindergarten for me and my family that I wasn't going to get my stock-standard best friend (that didn't stop me spending two decades trying and failing to find them) it was a source of pain and frustration that I could never find myself in a comfortable group of girlfriends that I knew I could call on unconditionally. I have had experiences of these through the later years of high school, uni and my adult life but they never seemed to stick.

Parallel to these experiences I would find myself closest in friendship to peers 8-10 years older than myself. Comforting in some ways but similarly alienating in others.

I always put it down to being "mature" or "an old soul" and perhaps there is some truth to that. But I realised today, that a major part of that is that I am a "high maintenance friend". I expect time and love to be put in, I expect high levels of honestly and loyalty in the friendship, and to be functioning within that friendship at a high level of attachment at most times, and I realised that it is a highly impractical way to expect friendships to work. I truly believe that in my quest to earnestly surround myself with my own peers, I've pushed them away with my intensity, and by not recognising and appreciating where THEY are at.

Now, if you flip things and look at business - the irony is that when it comes my career this "high maintenance" has been a big contributor to my success in a short space of time. From the very start with a client I'm dedicated, personally involved, a perfectionist for giving them exactly what they are looking for whether it be a nanny for their family, a logo for their business, my time when they need business advice or encouragement. I have high expectations for my performance and expect that reflected in the outcomes. And it works really well.

I guess that's where this personal growth journey got confused because I found in business it was so well received and expected the same outcome in my personal situations. Now, after a solid year of managing the two different scenarios with the same approach and two completely different outcomes - the light bulb has suddenly turned on.

So where to from here? It's a chance to reflect and remind myself to take a step back and appreciate people for who they are, where they are at, and appreciating the part they play in my life whether it's big or small. Most of all realising and embracing that what works in business will not always work in life.

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