3 Steps for Building Better Relationships

“I know it feels like there are more wrong things going on in the world right now than right ones. But I can’t control all that. What I can control is how I act. How I feel inside. How I treat other people. How I raise my son, Max. How I fiercely protect my tribe. How I connect with everything around me.” -an excerpt from Sun Basket CEO, Adam Zbar’s new book, Shine An Entrepreneur’s Journey for Building a Highly Successful Business and a Healthy Life.

Zbar describes how he hit bottom at the age of 40 and put his life back together again by changing his relationship to food, exercise, work, and the people he loves. 

Relationships feed our basic need for connection, belonging, security, and sense of purpose. Healthy relationships reduce stress and improve overall happiness, which empowers healthy choices, positive habits, and life-enhancing behavior. Zbar’s three-step plan helped him find the people who help him thrive. 

1. It starts with you

The process began with Zbar looking at his relationship with himself. After years of ignoring his diet, he found himself facing a down a potentially fatal health crisis and a failing marriage. By taking the time to consider what his values were and where his passions lay, Zbar was able to strengthen his relationship with himself. And by addressing the health of his mind and soul, he built a foundation for healthy living.

2. Find your tribe 

Part of becoming your best self is building a support group around you. Zbar writes that for years he was oblivious to the world around him. “It never occurred to me that I wasn’t the center of the universe,” he writes. That sense of self-centeredness created a distance from his family and friends. Zbar’s path back to himself came with the realization that “investing in and nourishing your tribe is as important as nourishing yourself.” 

3. Connect to the people who support you

Zbar came to realize that the key to having great friends is not to have a ton of them but to have a few to really invest in. To truly thrive, he found that it’s important to cull the friends who drag you down and, in his words, “…make new friends who, like you, are positive, passionate fellow dreamers grounded by concrete goals and [have] the action plans to achieve them.”

Implementing these lessons in your own life can be daunting. After all, all relationships are complicated, and all are some mix of good and bad. But what you can start with is observation: How do I feel when I’m with this person? How do I talk to myself after I make a mistake or have a difficult day? 

Once you take inventory of the positive and negative aspects of the major relationships in your life, then you can begin to invest more time and energy into those positives ones and work on ways to remedy the negative forces in your life.