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The Currency of Love

The Currency of Love

| February 13, 2020

Currency of Love

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day we are going to discuss a different type of investing – investing in relationships, specifically our loved ones.  What is the balance of your bank account?  How about the rate of return on your investments?  These are common measures for financial success.  Surprisingly, there are correlations to success with your relationships.

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote a similar book about families titled, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families.  In both books, the first habit is Be Proactive.  This is the notion of taking action to make things better rather than reacting when things happen to you.  In business this means we should be looking for ways to make things better, i.e. your product, process, or customer relationships.  In the family dynamic it’s more about focusing on how we model the right behavior.  How do we model our best selves to others?  If done well, we can build better relationships. 

One way to demonstrate the effect of being proactive is using the tool established by Stephen Covey. He uses the illustration of the Emotional Bank Account (EBA).  Deposits into your EBA occur when you do things proactively. Taking action, doing things for others, or modeling positive behavior improves the level of trust in a relationship.  The greater the trust, the higher the balance in your EBA. 

Going Negative

Conversely, when the we react to our loved ones or model negative behavior, withdrawals from your EBA occur.  In the same way, with our bank accounts, if we don’t have a positive balance in our accounts, bad things happen. Examples of common EBA withdrawals are:

  • Nagging
  • Criticism
  • Not Listening to the other person
  • Being negative
  • Sarcasm

When we demonstrate the behaviors listed above, our EBA balance will go down.  Getting to zero or overdrawing your account may result in a loss of trust. 

Making Deposits

So, how do you increase the balance in your EBA?  It’s the same as saving and investing – take small, consistent steps. Pay yourself first and be intentional.  The following actions are like making deposits into your EBA:

  • Apologize when you make a mistake.
  • Really listen. Be careful not to interrupt or look at your phone.
  • Spend time with them. Play a game or cook.
  • Notice what they are doing.
  • Attend their activities.
  • Be kind and patient.
  • When children make a mistake, be compassionate and help them to solve the problem.
  • Laugh and have fun.
  • Spend one-on-one time.
  • Keep your promises.
  • Relationships take time and lots of love.

Don’t Go Bankrupt!

While our goal is to have a healthy balance in our EBAs, there are some actions we could take that may take us straight to bankruptcy.  These actions come in the form of questions. “Do these pants make my butt look big?” “Did you notice my new haircut?” “Do you think that woman looks pretty?”  These types of questions, for which there are no good answers, will deplete your EBA and may lead you to bankruptcy. 

Invest for Life

So how are you going to spend your currency of love?  Our recommendation is to save and invest. 

  • Avoid placing risky bets.
  • Don’t look for get-rich-quick-schemes.
  • Make regular, consistent deposits into your EBA and limit the withdrawals.

By investing in relationships and being proactive, your EBA will pay dividends for years to come.