Skip to main content


In this installment of my series, “How To Start Your Excellent Year”, I invite you to pick a relationship you want to improve in the coming year. With that relationship in mind, ask yourself what you want to achieve in terms of growing and deepening it?

Next, think about what things you might want to avoid that could cause problems in, or do harm to that relationship.

It may be helpful to make some notes in response to these questions as you go along.

From here, I share with you three ways to make this, and all of your relationships, excellent.

  1. Connection – make connection a priority over winning, powering over, being right (and making the other person “wrong”).
  2. Become a better listener – even if you’ve been in this relationship for years, get curious. Drop the assumption that you know everything about this person.
  3. Get really good at making repairs – make amends, fix misunderstandings, reconcile as soon as you realize that something happened that is causing even a slight disconnection. Don’t let things build up and cause major problems later on.

Finally, choose one or more of these strategies to implement in this relationship over the coming year. You and the other person will be glad you did!


Hi, I’m Doyle Banks. I’m a life coach and I work with people who want to make deep transformational changes in their personal and professional lives.

Now, I’m here with you today as the continuation of my series on “How to Start Your Excellent Year”. Today we’re going to be focusing in on relationships.

So to start, let me ask you to pause for a second and pick a relationship in your life. It might be your marriage or significant other, or your relationship with your kids. Just pick a relationship that you would like to invest more into in the coming year to make it better. All right. You got the relationship in mind? Okay.

What do you want this relationship to look like a year from now?

Now ask yourself, what do you want that relationship to look like? How do you want that relationship to be a year from now? And get as clear a picture of that as you can. If you want, pause the video, maybe even jot something down on a sheet of paper. Jot some ideas down.

What would some of the qualities of your relationship be a year from now that don’t exist now or that you want to improve? All right, you’ve got that. So you’ve got your relationship. What you want to achieve. That is, how you want to make it better over the coming year.

What problems or pains do you want to avoid over the coming year in this relationship?

Now think about what do you want to avoid? Are there some pains or obstacles or rough spots in this particular relationship that you want to avoid and jot those down so that you have a clear idea now of how to navigate.

So, you know what you want to go toward. You know what you want to move away from. So what you want to achieve and what you want to avoid, you got it. Okay.

Now I’m going to share with you three strategies that I’ve shared with hundreds of people over the last 15 years that have helped them get what they want to achieve in their relationships and avoid what they don’t want. So if you’re ready, let’s get going.

Strategy #1 – CONNECTION

First strategy. Let’s go back in time to the 1980s. If you’re as old as I am, or you were old enough to watch TV and remember any of the commercials at that time, there was a commercial or series of commercials by the Ford Motor Company and they had this catchy slogan. The slogan was “Quality is Job One”. You might remember that, “Quality is Job One”. And what I want to do is borrow that slogan, put a little spin on it and give it to you.

The spin is, “Make connection in your relationship job one”. Now, what do I mean?

“Make Connection Job One.”

So often, especially if we run into disagreements or rough spots in a relationship or hit a conflict, a lot of times we default to win-lose strategies where we want to prove that we’re right. We want to win. We want to get our way or get the outcome that we want, regardless of whatever the other person wants.

Hopefully that’s not you and hopefully you don’t run into that very often, but you can avoid the pain of that by applying this strategy of making connection job one. It doesn’t mean that you become a doormat, that you lay down and take whatever the other person dishes out. But, what it means is that you put the emphasis, or the priority, on how can you connect and once you’re connected, then how can you figure this thing out together?

So, connection. Connection is Job One.


Now the second strategy is that I want to encourage you to become a better listener. That’s right. Again, so many times we have this urge to spill out whatever’s inside of us, to say what’s on our mind. And what I want to ask you to do is to put the emphasis on connection and to do that by becoming a better listener.

Become a Better Listener

And especially if you’ve been in, if we’re talking about, say a marriage or a longterm relationship where you really know the other person quite well. That can get in our ways at times, because we start making assumptions, we start completing each other’s sentences, right? And that can be nice and that can have a certain wonderful groove to it in our day-to-day lives. It can also get in the way of us being able to explore new territory with each other or, go deeper into our understanding of our partner and even of ourselves.

So part of becoming a better listener is to pique your curiosity. Get more curious about what’s going on with your partner.

If they come to you and they’re talking about their day at work, rather than going into autopilot in your head and assuming that you know what they’re going to say, even if it’s the same thing they’ve been talking about for the third week in a row, turn on your curiosity and lean in a little bit and ask them, “Tell me more about that,” or say to them, “Can you tell me more about that?” Or, “I’m curious about this.”

And you could even say, “I’ve noticed this has been on your mind a lot lately, and I’m curious, you know, what else is happening for you? What, are you feeling about this? What else are you needing or wanting in this situation?”

And I can just about guarantee you that one, it will surprise, if not shock your partner. They might be so taken aback that they don’t quite know how to respond. And so you could prompt with some other gentle questions. But, lean in, become curious, ask questions and work at asking anything about this person who you do know so well and love and care for. And again, this can be a great way to go deeper, to learn more about each other, as well as about yourself.

To review, we have talked about making connection job one and becoming a better listener.


The third strategy I want to invite you to employ over the next year is to get really good at making repairs. If you’ve not heard that term before, the idea is, like the word “repair”, it implies something’s not working right, maybe even broken. And in our relationships sometimes we can have little hiccups that we don’t realize are building up into big deals. So what we want to do is catch those little hiccups and repair those right away.

It’s sort of like tending to your home. If you don’t pay attention to that leaky faucet and take care of it when it’s small then, next thing you know, you’re trying to get a plumber to come out at 10 o’clock at night to fix a broken water pipe or something major. The same thing applies in our relationships. We want to get really good at catching it when there’s a little bit of a conflict or disagreement or, or we rub each other the wrong way and deal with it while it’s still small.

If you caught my earlier videos, you may recall that I talked about my late best friend, Marty and his wife and how they were so intentional about showing up as the best partners they could be for each other in their relationship with each other. One of the things that they did was, they worked really hard at doing repairs and doing them frequently so that things didn’t build up into major disagreements or, or major problems.


So “Connection Job One,’ work really hard at prioritizing connection. When something comes up and you’ve got a disagreement or a misunderstanding, take a deep breath, ask yourself, do I want to connect? Do I want to try to prove that I’m better or right, or that I know better? Do I want to connect and be able to make this relationship even sweeter and deeper and more meaningful and intimate than it already is? Or, do I want to take the risk of, of separation of disconnection and that sense of disappointment and that can come in when we don’t show up the way we want to be.


Then, listening skills.

Be the best listener you can be and something that’ll really help you with that is to really tune up your curiosity and tune in to your partner.

Then thirdly, again, get really good at making repairs. Do them often.

So we talked about what do you want to achieve in your relationship? What do you want it to look like a year from now?

What are some things you want to avoid on the way to getting the things that you want in your relationship? We talked about three strategies you can use to help you get there to help you create the relationship of your dreams.

Finally, I want to invite you now to take one or all of these strategies and decide you’re going to put it, or them, into action.

So, I want to ask you now, are you willing to do these strategies? To put them to work for you, for your partner, for whatever relationship that you thought of back at the beginning of the video?

I hope you will.

And I hope you’ll share in the comments below what strategy you tried out and how it worked for you.

All right. As always, if you have questions or if there’s something that I could support you around, contact me by email at That’s It should be showing on the screen here, and you can also reach me on social media; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @askdoylebanks. That’s @askdoylebanks.

Great to be with you again. Thank you so much for your attention, your support!

And again, take action now. Make your relationship what you want it to be and be able to celebrate that a year from now. Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve created in your relationship.

All right. I send you my wishes for Peace and Joy, and I’ll look forward to seeing you again in another video soon.

Leave a Reply