Relationships matter.  Relationships drive business growth.  Relationships create a healthy team culture.  Loving relationships with our family and friends bring joy and fulfillment to our lives.  Some of the best advice I received early in my career with Jostens, Inc was from the number one sales rep Tom Vosnos. He shared, “Always remember kid, never forget a friend and never let a friend forget you.”

If you want to build and maintain a great relationship, a meaningful connection, then you have to invest in that relationship.  Invest by sharing moments together at an event, at dinner or for a walk in the park.

At my alma mater, dear old Tech High School in St. Cloud, MN I hung around with a group of guys.  Early in high school, we decided to take a winter ice fishing trip to Lake Winnibigoshish.

We were a group of high schoolers packed into a little car full of food, fishing gear and giggles.  To say the least, we had a blast.  We nicknamed ourselves “The Winnie Boys” and promised ourselves to follow-up the next year for a second annual trek north.

After high school, the hurdles of college, armed services, jobs overseas, marriages and children…it was a challenge to keep the Winnie Boys together but miraculously, we always managed to have the same guys on every trip.  We finally discovered that summer fishing beat winter fishing and traveling further north to Canada offered an even better fishing experience.  I hate to date myself, however, this summer we will hit our 50th annual fishing trip.  I am lucking to say that I have made every one of the trips.

Like a fine wine, our friendships become richer with each passing year because we all have invested and contributed to the Winnie Boys.

What is your “Winnie Boys” experience?  Friendships wane when people stop making efforts to connect.  Relationships falter when others are taken for granted.  You don’t have to say, “I wish I had started a trip like that back in high school…” instead say, “I am going to pull my pals together and start our annual trek, take an adventure together or meet for a weekly breakfast club.

As each year passes, I promise you the laughter will come easy, the memories richer and life, in general, becomes fuller when you never forget a friend and never let a friend forget you.