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The value of a friend... and a cup of tea.

You’ve got to have friends.

Being a leader in business—whether you run a non-profit or a small business, can be lonely. You have a lot of responsibility. Limited time. Competing demands.

Something has to give.

For many of us, what gives is our social life. We are so busy managing our daily to-do lists, ensuring everything around us has what they need, that we run out of steam by the end of the day.

At least that is the way things work for me. I recently had a good friend (and a business accountability partner) call me. She was just back from an extended road trip and had all kinds of exciting things to share with me … and she had a gift for me. I love gifts from this woman—she knows me well!

On the evening she called I was D O N E! Between recovering from the flu, juggling my work and my daughter’s softball schedule, and just running our day-to-day life, I was exhausted.

Now had it been anyone else calling, I wouldn’t have answered the phone at all as it was after hours. But this woman is one of my best friends. She’s been in my corner a long time. We have shared our entrepreneurial journeys over the past 10 years as we’ve both been focused on growing and evolving our businesses.

She wanted a tea or wine date … to hang out on my back patio or hers. No judgment about the state of my home, whether or not I had snacks, if my laundry was piled high on my couch, or if my children were on their best behaviour. She knows me and my family well and loves us as we are.

And yet, when she asked for the date I wearily said “not today, or tomorrow…. maybe next week?” I’m sure I didn’t sound excited, positive, or optimistic that it would happen any time soon.

I was happy I’d said “no.” It’s not something I do often. I also knew that this was a social connection that I enjoy and treasure. I needed to make it happen. (Plus, she threatened to kidnap me if I didn’t call back in a day or two!)

So last night we got together; at the ball field while our youngest children played at the park and my oldest attended ball practice. We shared our traditional cups of peppermint tea, brought from home in travel mugs. We caught up; we giggled; we poked at each other; we explored and examined business challenges; and we cheered each other on. It was fabulous!

I left feeling lighter, more positive, and loved. I am ready to tackle the world again. And I know that should I need a boost of positive energy, a kick in the butt, or an outside perspective, she’s just a phone call away.

When is the last time you made connecting with your friends—whether personally or professionally—a priority?

What tips do you have for maintaining your personal and professional social connections when time is short? How do you ensure that you get that girls’ night out or the day at the golf course with the boys?

Share your tips in the comments below!

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