It all comes down to relationships

I have just returned from a week long conference on Hamilton island, a small luxurious island in the whitsundays. I shared the island with over 300 Accountants from all over Australia and New Zealand for the entire week! I know what you are thinking, boresville right? Well you are right, it was completely and utterly boring because accountants have the age old stereotype of being ‘boring’ which they rightly live up too… WRONG WRONG WRONG… if your mother ever taught you 1 thing, it should have been not to listen to stereotypes. This one week away with 300 Accountants and my team is one of the most anticipated on my calendar and many others. This was my second conference and it lived above and beyond its reputation for being a spectacular week. Now, I don’t really have a choice of whether I go to the island or not as it’s part of my job (tough job you might say!) However, the difference is if I had the choice, I would go anyway, i would jump at it! 
So why do I love it so much? Why do I get so excited about it? Why do I get withdrawals from it when I get home? Why do I risk getting in trouble with my girlfriend for hardly contacting her for 5 days straight?? It’s the relationships… It all comes down to the relationships. These 300 accountants are my clients but it goes beyond that, a big bunch of them I call friends. They are great people and I am fortunate enough to get the opportunity to build what could very well be life long friendships with each of them. That is a choice I make myself though, and a choice I make very carefully. I take my job very seriously and am professional in every required respect but I am not a serious person. I make the choice to treat people I have never met before like I have known them for 10 years because they deserve it. This way I get the opportunity to build solid relationships with most of the people I come into contact with. To me it just makes sense, doesnt it? So my question to you is, how do you approach people you have never met before? With judgement? Stereotype? Closed doors? OR do you give them the instant benefit of the doubt of being a great person? By all means, I’m not recommending you starting hugging every new person you meet but I do recommend opening yourself up just a little and give them the chance because at the end of the day it all comes down to relationship. Our world is about relationships, our jobs, our family, our friends, our community.  I had the time of my life on Hamilton Island because I was surrounded by great people, and that I will always be grateful for.
A massive thank you to all of my fellow team and the 300 amazing accountants and sponsors on Hamilton Island for the 5th Annual Proactive Accountants Network conference.