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3 Ways to Grow from Your Relationships

Do you want to:

🚀 grow and expand as an individual?

🙌🏻 enable your learners to grow and expand? 

👫🏼 know how this is achievable through relationships?

Whilst we may not realise it, our desire as human beings to meet new people and try new things is often related to our innate desire to grow and expand. “One of the most common ways that humans self-expand is through their relationships with others.” (Iresearchnet, 2021). Carl Jung stated that relationships could draw out hidden aspects of self to create greater wholeness (Iresearchnet, 2021). 

Do you spend a significant amount of time with a certain person or group? Maybe it is your partner or even your work team? You may notice that small parts of you and them adjust over time. You start becoming a little more like them and they become a bit more like you.

Here are some shifts that you may notice, as a result of your relationships. 

🚵🏻‍♀️ New interests/hobbies

For example, if you have a companion who loves the outdoors, you may find yourself spending more time outdoors and in turn enjoying it more than you used to. 

🧗🏻‍♀️ New skills

For example, if your best friend is great at rock climbing, it is likely that you will learn at least something about rock climbing too. You will understand the terminology from hearing them speak about it and you may even be convinced to try it out yourself. 

🧠 New views/perspectives

Relationships can widen our world view and provide us with other perspectives. Let us say that you grew up in New York, a city that is loud, crowded and alive! You meet a friend who is from a small country town. Over time you will gain an understanding of life in a small town and your friend in turn will learn about the workings of a big city. 

🚗 New physical resources

Physical resources are also acquired through relationships. If your friend owns a flashy sports car, lucky you. You will probably ride in it at least once. Your friend's family may own a holiday home in Italy. Hello pizza, pasta and italian villa vibes!

The point is, relationships provide us with quite a lot. Not only do they meet our social needs, they also enable us to grow and expand as individuals. 

Changes in interests/hobbies, skills, views/perspectives and physical resources through the relationships we have are explained by the self-expansion model. It is based on two fundamental principles.

  1. “There is a basic motivation to expand one's potential efficacy.” (Lewandowski, Mashek & Aron, 2013). In other words, we all want to improve and be better in some way or form. 
  2. “One way people seek such expansion is through close relationships in which the other's resources, perspectives, and identities are to some extent "included in the self."” (Lewandowski, Mashek & Aron, 2013). In other words, we expand and grow through our relationships with others.

So, how can you use this model to enable yourself to grow? Also consider how you could improve your learning solutions in such a way that enables your learners to harness the power of relationships to expand and grow. 

Here are our recommendations. 

1. Connect with a skilled person

If you want to learn how to obtain a certain skill, it makes sense to connect with someone who already has it. For example, if you want to learn how to breakdance, find someone who knows how to and learn from them. 

In terms of creating learning solutions, consider how your learners could learn from people who are already skilled in the desired behaviour.

👇🏻 Practical actions: 

  1. Find a role model who is skilled in the desired behaviour. Ask them questions, watch them act out the skill and practice it with them. 
  2. Video or audio record an expert explaining how to obtain the desired skill. Get them to share personal stories and experiences to improve understanding. 

2. Try social learning

Consider the benefits of connecting learners with their peers. Every learner will bring different strengths and skills to the experience and this will enable learners to learn, grow and expand through their relationship with each other. 

Do you connect with your peers in the industry? Do you enable your learners to connect with each other when you design a learning solution? 

👇🏻 Practical actions: 

  1. Use a discussion forum or an active frequently asked questions forum. These provide learners with an opportunity to ask their specific questions and connect with and learn from fellow learners and subject matter experts. There are multiple platforms for holding forums such as:
    1. Skype
    2. Facebook
    3. LinkedIn
    4. Whatsapp
    5. Instagram 
    6. Slack
    7. Yammer
    8. Teams.
  2. Create a group coaching experience where your learners can learn through each other. 
  3. Connect with peers on social media. For example, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. 

3. Be thoughtful about your tribe

You can gain a lot from the relationships that you create, so if you want to improve and grow, ensure that you are connecting with the right people. For example, if you have a friend who is constantly complaining and lazy, it is likely that you will adopt some of these negative attributes. Instead think about what type of person you want to be, what you want to achieve and connect with people who are already living your desired state.

Check out this example, which demonstrates the impact of who you spend your time with (JRE Clips, 2018). 

👇🏻 Practical actions: 

  1. Make a list of what attributes you want to obtain and find people who do it well. Spend time with them and immerse yourself in their world.
  2. Consume YouTube videos, podcasts and blogs of the people who inspire you and already obtain the skills that you desire. 

That is it for this blog on 3 Ways to Grow from Your Relationships. We hope that you gained value as an individual and for the learning solutions that you create. 

💬 Share in the comments, how you grow from your relationships.

If you liked this blog, you will love our creator hub. There are heaps of resources for instructional designers and learning and development practitioners that you will find valuable, including many resources that help you achieve the strategies in this blog.





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Iresearchnet. (2021). Self-Expansion Theory. Retrieved from

JRE Clips. (2018). Joe Rogan - Jesse Itzler Tells Hilarious David Goggins Stories [Video File]. Retrieved from

Lewandowsk, G.W., Mashek, D., & Aron, E.N. (2013). The Self-Expansion Model of Motivation and Cognition in Close Relationships. Retrieved from

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