How To Have Rewarding Relationships For Real: A Beginners Guide

Admit it.

Life would be blissful and brilliant if you only had healthy, fulfilling and rewarding relationships, wouldn’t it?

And, if I asked you to think of such extraordinary relationships, platonic or otherwise, how many can you recall right now?

Maybe it’s one with a parent, a sibling, a best friend or a companion. Maybe it’s one you are currently involved in, or one you cherish from your past.

As you think of these, I want you to think about what exactly it is about them that makes them so exceptional, and the connection so solid.

Is it the trust you share? Is it the support you give each other? Is it perhaps the tough times you have endured together? Or, is it something much greater, something intangible: An unconscious understanding between souls?

Now in reality, these magical relationships are few and far between, right? We have to wonder why that is? And, how can we gear ourselves to increase the odds of cultivating the same rewarding relationships with the people we have in our lives right now, and those we meet today? How can we get more out of life and our relationships?

(There are some resources listed further down – if you are familiar with these concepts, you are welcome to skip ahead to that section; if not, please continue reading)

A truth is that it begins with you and not with others. It’s about giving more and not getting more. It’s an inside out change, and as we start to change our perceptions and let those ideas flow into actions, we start to build new possibilities for our future connections.

Another truth is that there are no quick fixes. Does it take time? Yes. But, how much time is entirely up to you. Is it going to be hard? Yes. And, we need to remember that we’re not wishing on a shooting star. There are no fairy-tale fixes. We’re changing the very fabric of our characters and remodelling our destinies. So, we’re going to have to pledge time and effort. We have to make a commitment to ourselves if we want to transform our lives and our relationships. We’ll have to start overriding our negative thoughts, habits and beliefs about people.

Essentially, we have to start taking notice of our own consciousness and behavioural patterns, and reprogram them. Deep within ourselves we have to believe that change is possible and necessary. Ultimately, if we change our mind-sets, our lives will automatically change as a result.

When we look at our own personal histories and we feel that some relationships could have taken on an entirely different trajectory, had we only known then what we know now, we owe it to our future selves to do everything in our power to change these self-created designs, right now. We owe it to the people around us to optimise the potential outcomes of all our future interactions, right now.

The moment we choose to be a champion instead of a casualty, things already start to change. Just like that. In an instant. The choice itself has enough power to set the wheels into motion and turn our lives and our relationships in your favour.

This reminds me of a simple, yet potent definition by an exceptionally wise man, he said:

Einstein - Insanity

Therefore, if we want to change our results, we have to change our approach or trajectory, right? Now how does one even start doing this?

Let me share some practical knowledge with you.

Real-World Insights & DIY

In future blogs I’ll delve into more detail on the following personal development areas. For now I want you to ease into the ideas and concepts, especially if this is new and unfamiliar territory.

So, please bear with me if it seems a little methodical, but I need you to get it, and not just get it, but really get the thoughts I’ll share with you now.

I’m hoping that these insights will radically transform your life and your relationships, as it did mine.

Elevate Your Expectations

It comes down to a simple question: What do you want? Or, what do you expect?

Many people can tell you exactly what they don’t want or don’t like about other people, but not that many can truly describe what it is that they actually want or expect.

So, let me break it down a little further. If your situation allows, take a piece of paper, divide the page into two parallel columns, and answer the following question about your relationships at home, at work and socially.

What are the things you allow or stomach, which you shouldn’t?

Some examples I can think of:

  • Maybe your kids are disrespectful towards you and in need of some discipline.
  • Maybe your supervisor is a jerk with no people skills and you need the courage to do something about it.
  • Maybe one of your friends are overly critical about everything and you need to mention this to them.

List them all (in the left hand column). Consider both individual and group relationships you are in. Think of this as a venting session with a best friend. Take another page if you need to. Keep going!

Now, once you’re finished, scan through your list. Which of these items are within your control to change? Mark them off or highlight them with a marker.

How do you know which items are within your control? If there is some action you can take, or some personal change you can make to improve the relationship, that’s your cue.

God grant me the serenity quote - Reinhold Niebuhr

In the right hand column list the potential remedies or decisions you’ve been too afraid to make, yet owe to yourself.

Maybe it’s a conversation you need to have with someone. Maybe it’s transferring to a new department or finding a new job. Maybe it’s getting out of that toxic and soul-crushing relationship.

Take back control. Start now.

Change Your Restrictive Self-Prophecies

This exercise is only the beginning of getting to know yourself and your relationships better. Or, at least the “newfound” expectations you have.

The truth is, it means absolutely nothing if you don’t change them for real, and follow through. To follow through, you need to believe that change is not only possible, but without question necessary. You have to believe that your life will be broker if you don’t take action.

It’s a trade-off. You need to start converting short-term pain into long-term gain.

Can you keep a promise? I dare you to prove it – to yourself.

The only person you are responsible to, is staring back at you in the mirror.

You don’t owe this to anybody else, but to yourself.

So, you have to be strong and believe that without these changes you are robbing yourself of happiness and fulfilment.

You have to create the change you want to see!

Move Beyond Your Perceived Limitations

Now the final part of this recipe is exceptionally simple.

Once you know what needs to change and how, and you start converting short-term pain into long-term gain by making, and keeping, these promises to yourself, all you need is to set realistic timeframes, and frequently re-evaluate your progress against these goals.

In essence, for each of these items, you need to set a start and completion date. On the same page you wrote your expectations, maybe using a different colour pen, quickly jot down these dates.

Now for the fun part.

It’s almost like handing over a well written script to an accomplished actor: Your unconscious mind.

Immediately, it will start to map out the routes to reach these goals. You see, your unconscious mind wants to please you. It cannot do anything but please you. So, if you tell it you want and expect something new, something different, it is like a good servant. It just says “yes” and “thank you”.

Know that your unconscious mind can be your fiercest foe, or your most supreme supporter.

How you use it, or program it, however, is entirely up to you!

Hands-on Resources


One of my all-time favourite books say, “…faith comes from hearing, and hearing…” So, in order for us to believe that change is possible, we have to start hearing, right?

A resource that has helped me tremendously on my journey, is listening to my favourite motivational speakers on YouTube. I have quite a long commute to work each day. So, I often spend this time listening to their recordings, rather than the random chatter on the radio. This is my time to reprogram my mind.

I have found that the more I listen, the more their words latch to my thinking. Now, you don’t have to study it and you don’t even have to write them down, you just have to listen. Regularly.

The added bonus is that it’s free, as long as you have access to the internet, it is literally a few keystrokes and a click away. Another benefit is that some of these video and audio clips are only a few minutes long – motivation on the go, if you will!

What is really surprizing is how quickly their teachings begin to form part of your day-to-day vocabulary. Before you know it you catch yourself silently miming their words. “Did I just say that outload?! Oh my word!”

Here are some of my favourites – in no particular order, since all of them are fantastically inspirational – by some of the top coaches in the world just to help you get started on your journey:

  1. Dream – Les Brown & Dr Eric Thomas
  2. Limitless Passion – Tony Robbins
  3. How Bad Do You Want It – Dr Eric Thomas
  4. Be Phenomenal – Les Brown & Dr Eric Thomas
  5. Mindshift – Tony Robbins
  6. What’s You Purpose – Les Brown & Dr Eric Thomas
  7. Never Give Up – Les Brown & Dr Eric Thomas
  8. Have No Fear – Les Brown
  9. You Owe You – Dr Eric Thomas
  10. New Year, New You – Tony Robbins
  11. Enough Is Enough – Les Brown

Perhaps you have a few you’d like to add to this list. People you’ve learnt from. People that have helped you grow.


Now I know you cannot exactly put a price on being a better version of yourself, or on having rewarding relationships, or on contentment in general, however, if I had to, it would be the price of these resources.

So, if you are keen on spending some of your hard earned cash on developing your future self, this is definitely the way to go. It is the least expensive, yet most valuable investment you can possibly make in you.

The absolute must reads are the following – again in no particular order, since all of them are tremendously inspiring:

  1. “Unlimited Power” – Anthony Robbins: The paperback is available at Exclusive Books in store and online;
  2. “Laws of Success” – Les Brown: The eBook is available on;
  3. “The Alchemist” – Paulo Coelho: The paperback is available at Exclusive Books in store and online;
  4. “The Secret to Success” – Dr Eric Thomas: The eBook is available on; and
  5. “Live Your Dreams” – Les Brown: The paperback is available at Exclusive Books in store and online.

Of cause this is not a comprehensive list, and you are welcome to add to it by suggesting other great reads you’ve encountered. In this instance, sharing is definitely caring!


Now for the big guns!

This is where it really starts to happen, believe me! Or, in the words of Optimus Prime: “Autobots, transform!”

Depending of cause on how quickly you’d like to develop yourself, this starts out reasonably priced. If you consume this in a flash, and it leaves you wanting more, it can become a pricey investment, but remember this is an investment in your future self.

One of my personal mentors, Francois Janse van Rensburg, the Founder and Master Coach Trainer of Let’s Live Coaching, regularly runs training programs, which I know have benefited thousands of people, if not tens of thousands. And, I am one of them.

Francois is a Master Coach Trainer based in Centurion, Pretoria. For a list of upcoming training workshops check out the Let’s Live Coaching website.


See it this way: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again, and again! This is how true change is made.

Also, remember to be kind and patient with yourself.

If it was easy, everyone would do it

And, you’re not everyone, you’re distinctly different!


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