Time is a valued resource so I thank you for sharing your time with me as we discuss relationships.
When I prepared to write this blog about the importance of relationships, I thought I should highlight two people with whom I have good relationships.
They are similar, yet different. For example, one of the men served in the Military, and the other man supported the Military. One has lived in the same community all his life, and the other has lived in many different communities. While they are different people with diverse experiences and backgrounds, you’ll agree that both men have similarities too. Such as, both men believe in the importance of marriage. Both men have been married to their wives for over 45 years, and both have achieved global impact through meaningful relationships.
The first person is Ricky Holloway. Why? Ricky has achieved holistic success from his family, marriage, business, and community involvement. That’s why he not only gave me one answer;
he provided a few different examples of why relationships are important to him. Before I explain what he shared with me, I’ll need to articulate why his opinion is worthy of consideration. I’ll also convey why the thoughts that he shared with me are relevant to this particular topic. As a result, you’ll probably understand why I consider him a close personal friend.
Ricky Holloway is a man of faith and has been married for 45 years to the love of his life. Ricky also has two children he’s incredibly proud of and has grandchildren whom he adores. Aside from that, Ricky is the CEO of H&H Sheet Metal. As the CEO of H&H Sheet Metal and Fabrication, with an “Iron sharpens Iron” mentality, he has literally foraged metal and relationships across the nation and around the world.
I attend Bible Study at H&H every week, and Ricky leads it. A few days ago, we both arrived early. I like to get there early because it gives us a chance to talk. After we greeted each other and exchanged pleasantries, Ricky said, “Lionel, I have been thinking about what you asked me about the importance of relationships. In fact, I have been thinking about it a lot. Hey, look, let’s start with the Bible. In the book of Genesis, the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.” Ricky emphasized the point and said, “God created woman because He didn’t create us to be by ourselves. We are human beings and were meant to communicate with each other. Relationships are about togetherness and supporting each other. Aside from that, our most important relationship is our relationship with God through our love for Jesus Christ. He loved us so much that He gave his son to die for our sins. For all He’s done for us, He only asks that we have a relationship with Him. That’s it. He wants to develop a relationship with us. Relationships start with communication, and that communication starts with prayer.” I couldn’t dispute that.
Then, he pointed at me and said, “Just last week, you wore a shirt that said ‘Unity’ on the front. Unity is the state of being united or joined together as a whole. How can we be united without a strong relationship that joins us together?” I couldn’t dispute that either.
While I listened, he transitioned to Proverbs 27:17. “Look, Lionel, he said, Think about the scripture Iron sharpens iron. Suppose we take a knife and a knife sharpener and bang them against each other. In that case, we can actually dull the blade. However, if we hold the knife at
an angle, we will sharpen the knife. Relationships are just like this. If we argue with each other like this (mimicking the horizontal banging), we hurt each other and dull the relationship. However, if we do it like this (imitating the smooth vertical movement), this is how we strengthen a relationship. When we do this, we sharpen our intelligence, our skillset, and we all become better as a result.” Then he pointed to his coworkers and said, “He’s better at doing one skill, and he’s better at something else. They’re both better than me, but I offer something different that they don’t have. When we put everything together, we strengthen our relationship and reach a whole other level.” I couldn’t dispute that either.
At this point, I thought Ricky had provided all he would share on the topic. I realized that I was wrong. When Bible study started, his brother Alvy read Proverbs 31:10-31. I’m not sure if you’ve ever read this Chapter, but I recommend you do. This chapter illustrates the virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies. After Alvy finished, he explained that the most important relationship we can have, aside from our relationship with God, is our relationship with our
spouse. He described how his wife exemplified those verses and that we should all be highly thankful for our wives and that we should honor our wives with our love, respect, and admiration. Ricky and I both respect and love our wives. So as we continued to discuss why our wives are so incredibly important to us, we smiled at each other. Why? Because we knew each other’s wives and agreed that we’re both blessed beyond measure through our marriages.
As I departed Bible Study, and before I left the building, I looked in the shop and realized that relationships are also about connections and staying connected. Please allow me to explain. H&H does everything from sheet metal fabrication to laser cutting and full-range plastic machining. H&H could have the most experienced craftsmen, which they do. H&H could have millions
of dollars worth of innovative equipment, which they do. H&H could have buildings large enough to accommodate everything that they accomplish, which they also do. But, without the electricity required to make things work, productivity would come to a screeching halt. Not only that, but that electricity has to be grounded, or else that electricity would be damaging and even cause death. In this same way, I compare electricity to relationships. Just like H&H needs electricity, we
need relationships, and those relationships need to be grounded. Grounded with integrity, grounded with trust, and grounded with love for one another.
When I prepared to write this blog about the importance of relationships, the first person I thought about (from my time in the United States Army) was Major General David Rubenstein. I was selected to serve as his Special Assistant when he was the Chief of the United States Army Medical Service Corps. Before I share his thoughts, I’ll briefly introduce him and provide a few of his accomplishments.
Major General David Rubenstein spent 12 years in command and ended his 35-year Army career as the Army’s Deputy Surgeon General and then as Commanding General of the Army Medical Department Center and School. This organization has been renamed the U.S. Army Medical
Center of Excellence. Concurrently, he served as the 16th Army Medical Service Corps Chief. Among his many recognitions are distinguished alumnus status at two universities, listing in six Who’s Who publications, and twice being included in Modern Healthcare’s list of the 100 most influential people in healthcare. In addition, General Rubenstein has authored numerous peer-reviewed professional articles and book reviews and serves US Army Medical Command as an executive consultant.
General Rubenstein said, “People are social animals. Whether introverted or extroverted, I believe we thrive when around people. Being around people is best when we build relationships with others. Personally, that gives us a network of others that help balance our work/life blended life. Professionally, that gives us a network of others to whom we can turn for input, answers, and advice.”
When I asked if his relationships have been short-term or long-term, he said, “Both. Some relationships may last only an hour. For example, a mentoring session helps both parties but doesn't result in follow-on meetings. Some relationships may last many years such as a personal friend or professional colleague to whom you can turn to over time. Both are important, and I prefer both.”
Then I asked, “How have your cultivated relationships improved your career and life?” He replied, “Again, humans thrive when they interact with others. I'm human. Having relationships
means I have a network of colleagues to whom I turn for professional reasons and a network of friends to whom I turn for personal reasons. Aside from this, I have been married for over 45 years. That relationship is one of the most, if not the most important relationship, I have.”
As you might agree, relationships are vital in every aspect of our lives. If you agree, please share your thoughts with me. I'd love to hear them. Perhaps, I could incorporate you and your thoughts into this blog.
Thank you for joining me and supporting me by reading this blog.
Until we meet again- please take care, be safe, and be well.