6 Ways To Create More Harmonious Work And Love Relationships

Seek to understand rather than be understood. And other lessons from Nate Bagley and Melissa Joy Kong's love-documenting journey across America.

What happens when two near-strangers from completely different backgrounds and parts of the country decide to road trip across the nation, capturing 100 of the greatest love stories in America?

An epic (love) adventure, that's what.

When I first heard word of Nate Bagley and Melissa Joy Kong partnering up to prove true love exists one story and state at a time, naturally I wondered:

Will they fall in love?

What happens if they hate each other? (Wait, they can’t hate each other, right? They’re capturing stories about love!)

Business and romantic relationships can be challenging. They don’t even know each other. How are they going to make sure this works?[

Last week, I caught up with Melissa to learn just that. Here’s are six ways she's learning to create harmony, which you too can apply to business, love, or play:

1. Decide you are ALL IN.

When you go all in and decide to put your heart and soul 100% into a person or project, people can feel it. Your facial expressions enliven, the way you speak changes, your energy shifts, and your passion becomes contagious. Contagious passion equals authentic message. Go all in or go home.

2. Leave ego at the door.

You don’t know what you don’t know. When walking into projects and relationships, carry the assumption that you don’t know everything. Be willing to soak up knowledge. Focus on learning by getting curious, asking questions, and seeing where raw connection emerges.

3. Seek to understand rather than be understood.

When conflict and an uncomfortable conversation strikes, listen deeply and seek to understand the root. If you notice yourself taking the conflict personally, ask yourself, "If I assumed the best case scenario, how would I interpret this differently?"

4. Be reflective.

We have 60,000 thoughts per day and 90% of them are repetitive. Journal daily to process your emotions and thoughts, gain clarity, and get off the hamster wheel of over-thinking.

5. Have the courage to be vulnerable.

Let people in and ask for what you need. Be honest when you are afraid or nervous or don’t know what to do next. Express sincere gratitude. When someone seems down, put everything aside and say, "Hey, I feel like something is going on. I’m here for you and would love to hear about it."

6. Be your message.

Your message is only as strong as your ability to live it. Follow through on promises and create rituals that enable you to practice what you preach. Ask yourself daily, "How will I be my message today?"

How do you create harmonious relationships in your life? Share your tips in the comments below!

Also, be sure to check out and follow along on Nate and Melissa’s love-adventure, ‘America, In Love.’

[Image: Flickr user David Goehring]

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  • Maya

    Yesterday, I read on a Meditation book a reflection from a men who spend some years living in India, went he came back to US, he told a friend "If I can be useful, at least I want to do the less damage as possible" (wich is what AIMSA teaches).
    I would add that to the list, "Make the less collateral damage as possible", when I'm in the middle of a conflict I can choose between going on war and add more violence to the world, or make peace with me and the others.

  • Richard Phu

    Great article!

    All 6 points are so relevant. The one that rings out most for me lately that is easy to trip up on is 'be the message'. Just even following through on promises or what I say I am going to do is sometimes challenging. But the more I actively focus on it to make sure I do it the better I can only get at it and means I can become more dependable!!

    PS Love Nate & Mel and hope they get their kickstarter off the ground =D

  • Cari Turley

    Going all in is one I struggle with (at work, at least). Unless your company is truly coming apart at the seams, committing to the company or keeping one eye on the door is a choice. If you just decide "OK, I work here, and things aren't perfect, but I'm going to really go all in," I think it makes a huge positive difference.

  • Marie Nicole

    For me, to avoid conflict or to create more harmonious relationships, I always assume that no matter the outcome (what was said, what was done) that the intent was not to harm. When we assume the worst of what others are doing or saying it just creates endless conflicts. But assuming no hard was intended, then at least you can talk it through. 

    That and bring cupcakes to work...

  • Maya

    I think the same about the intent of an action or comment. And I love the idea of cupcakes!