Individual Leadership

Give me an H! Taking conversations to the next level

Written by Dylan Gerstley

5 Min Read

Building genuine, supportive, and nurturing relationships improves mental health and happiness for greater personal and professional success. But prioritizing relationships amidst life’s demands can feel like a chore. After a long day at work, a new Netflix show is certainly more relaxing than scrolling through your contact list to keep in touch with old college friends.

“My whole life was about achieving goals, but that never extended to relationships,” shared Roxy Williams, Managing Director in the South. “Being a collegiate swimmer meant I was always chasing that next milestone, but I never prioritized relationships because it wasn’t modeled or demonstrated to me.”

That began to change when Roxy was introduced to Siegfried’s MY Relationships™, a significant element of the MY Journey® program that stresses the importance of going beyond your comfort zone to build meaningful connections and to be more seriously relevant and irresistibly compelling to those around you. The program provides the tools and space for our employees to nurture their relationships while pursuing their freedoms.

Inspired by MY Relationships, Roxy vowed to improve her connections step by step by focusing on her circle of influence.

Finding a process

Though Roxy was eager to develop deeper relationships, she didn’t know where to begin. “I had to come up with a strategy of going deeper without feeling disingenuous or making other people feel awkward.”

Enter Roxy’s angel, Arlene, a chaplain at the University of Miami where Roxy was on the swimming and diving team. Arlene introduced Roxy to the concept of the 5 Hs and has since become a cherished mentor to her.

The 5 Hs provide a sequential checklist to dig deeper and take your conversations to the next level. Each of the 5 Hs serves as a springboard to a more meaningful conversation that sparks authentic connection, instead of remaining on the surface. And though the questions may feel generic, it’s the tone and sincerity in which the question is asked that makes all the difference. “The biggest thing that I’ve learned is being curious, being interested is what pushes someone to open up more and engage on a deeper level.”

The 5 Hs (and a bonus!)

  • History/home: learn more about where a person is from.
    • Start with a tried and true classic: “I’ve asked this many, many times: ‘Where are you originally from?’ And then from there, ‘Oh, you have siblings, tell me about them – ok, so you were the middle child, tell me how that impacted you.’ So you can see just asking that first question opens the door to so much more to talk about.”
  • Highlight: emphasize the positivity of a person’s accomplishments and life.
    • “I love to see people’s eyes light up when I ask about highlights! You know, ‘What is the best thing happening in your life right now?’ and then really digging into that,” exclaimed Roxy. “And since you’re already focusing on the positive, it’s a really easy transition to talking about a hero or someone they admire.”
  • Hero: identify their biggest role model.
    • “People cherish others because of how they support them through tough times. So sometimes, asking about a hero immediately leads into them talking about a challenge they are facing.” The Hero question digs deep, but it doesn’t have to be asked in the first conversation. Often, Roxy has found the Hero question to act as a domino, and her connections willingly open up and explain their heartache and hope organically.
  • Heartache: understand their deepest challenges.
    • “It’s a tough one, and it’s one I often find is a natural transition from Hero, but ‘What’s your biggest challenge in life right now?’ It gets to the heart of what someone is dealing with.”
  • Hope: look toward the future.
    • “It’s here where you can create some beautiful and powerful moments. ‘How have you been able to overcome this heartache or challenge?’ and just really lend a listening ear.”
  • Honey: explore the closest relationships (bonus!).
    • “Don’t make assumptions about this one in case someone is deeply craving a significant relationship, but it’s always good to ask ‘Is there anyone special in your life at the moment?’ and it just opens people up to another level.”

Committing to forming connections

The 5 Hs may not evoke deeper conversations and connections with everyone, and Roxy has sometimes struggled to have these interactions, finding herself ignored, disregarded, or even plain rejected. But growing your network in a meaningful capacity does not necessarily mean forming close connections with everyone you encounter. Rather, it’s about strengthening and deepening those priority relationships that truly matter.

“I started to realize that I could see the rejection or the non-responses as a reflection of me, or I could do what was within my power to continue to form deeper relationships with those in my circle of influence,” explained Roxy.

Leveraging the 5 Hs doesn’t guarantee a genuine connection, and it takes courage to put yourself out there. But by being fully committed to building authentic relationships, you can form the interested and mutually beneficial connections that have the power to exponentially improve your life, allowing you to tap into greater networks, as well.

“Focus on the intention of what this can produce, which is flourishing relationships,” said Roxy. “It’s hard to imagine that if you’ve never experienced it, but trust yourself to fully go through with this and find out the benefits on the other side.”

Your relationships start with you

In continually pursuing more meaningful connections, Roxy also realized that a structured approach – like the 5 Hs – wasn’t the only contributor to her success, and being her authentic self was one of her greatest assets.

“The more in-tune with yourself you are, the more confident you can become,” Roxy reflected. “There are people in your circle of friends and beyond who really need you for who you are and what you can bring to the table.”

And in pursuing more genuine connections, pushing herself out of her comfort zone, and challenging herself to be more of who she is, Roxy has transformed the way she shows up, both for her relationships and for herself.

“The 5 Hs has really transformed the way I ask questions and it’s really transformed my heart,” said Roxy earnestly. “It’s given me more of an empathy for people, and it’s taken away the sense of me having to build relationships for relationships sake. It’s transformed me into a person who wants to build relationships, to bring people joy and experience more joy because I get so much joy out of helping people.”

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