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Just yesterday, I returned home from my vacation in the Dominican Republic. Of the 20 people who shared the 10-bedroom villa, I knew only one of them before I got there. A bit nerve-wracking if you ask me. Would we get along? Would there be drama? Would this vacation be the rejuvenation I needed, or would I be the same old stressed out in a different country?

Now that I’m home, I can’t think of one thing that could have gone better. All 20 of us got along swimmingly—which is no easy feat when you consider the many different personalities that were thrown together under one roof.

Was there a pattern that we can learn from and apply to our professional relationships?

A key to our good times was that we had one common goal: relaxation. We all wanted to escape our regular lives, enjoy a stress-free week, let our hair down a little (or a lot), and do what makes us happy. Other than the basics of being polite and cleaning up after ourselves, there were no expectations about how to act or behave.

We made our own schedules and individually did what we wanted, when we wanted. Every day, small groups formed to take long walks on our deserted beach, go kayaking, or visit the small nearby community for lunch or a drink. These opportunities for one-on-one conversations helped us get to know one another much better.

Every experience provides an opportunity for learning, and this vacation was no exception. Here are the five relationship principles that worked for 20 strangers, and how we can apply them in your businesses relationships.

That got me thinking… What was the secret of getting along and building relationships with everyone during this vacation?

  1. Relationships work when there is no pre-conceived notion of what the other person will provide. When we can be who we naturally are, we are not wearing a ‘mask.’ This allows others to see our true and authentic selves from the get-go.
  2. When we don’t have an agenda to form relationships solely for the sake of our future advancements, we simply look for a personal connection. We make a choice to hang out with someone because we like him or her.
  3. We invite the people who interest us into our circle and control how much or how little time we want to spend with them. It’s easy.
  4. Regardless of our innate preferences, or whether we are introverts or extroverts, we are not judged and are free to watch and/or participate. If an activity doesn’t suit us, we can say no. If the idea suddenly sounds great, we can change our minds and be applauded for it.
  5. We learn quickly by observing what others like or dislike. We don’t worry about our differences because we look for ways to connect instead. This allows us to see the best in everyone.

When you look at the five relationship principles I learned on my vacation, you’ll see much of it is about creating an environment without expectations to be anything but ourselves. Based on that, we build on each other’s strengths versus tearing each other down.

How will you use these principles in your business? Do you have any vacation wisdoms to add?

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