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As I sat down to write this article, I was expecting to tell you to elevate your relationships with clients and prospects—for you to give unselfishly to them and to expect nothing in return, because this is what truly deepens relationships and increases the chances that they’ll think of you when buying or selling. But this isn’t what my brain made my fingers type. Instead, the relationships that came to mind as truly important to me are the ones with my family, friends and my higher power. My business relationships only surfaced as a footnote.

Here are people I plan to elevate relationships with in 2019:

My wife – Michelle and I are always busy—just like you, I’m sure. We both feel like our marriage is strong (27 years so far), but I know I can do better. I’m taking her on more dates this year to spend time focused solely on her. Whether it’s a night out at a restaurant or attending an Atlanta Hawks game (I recently discovered my wife absolutely loves basketball games), we’re going to have at least one date per week. Also, I’m instituting the “no mobile phone” rule for our dates. I want her to “feel” how valuable she is to me.

My daughters – I’m guilty of not prioritizing time for my four girls, who range in age from 16 to 21. In the past, I took one daughter on a date every month, but this stopped last year. Three of my girls are now in college, and I guess I just let the dates fall off my priority list. No more! The second Thursday of every month will be date night. The “no mobile phone” rule applies here, too. My girls are my queens, and I want them to “feel” that way.

My spiritual life – My spiritual beliefs have always been strong, but I haven’t been consistent with spiritual activities. I commit to spending time every week on activities that replenish my soul. Worship services are on my list, but I also plan to find other ways to help those in need find their spiritual self and “feel” more love in the world.

My extended family and friends – I need to carve out time to spend with my sister, mother, in-laws and friends. Nothing formal or fancy—just relaxed time with no specific plans or predetermined outcomes. My first step is to spend an hour with my sister. She needs to “feel” how important she is to me.

My clients and sphere – I felt obligated to include this group since this is a real estate business magazine. I’ll elevate these relationships by providing as much selfless service to them as possible. I’ll be their No. 1 resource for all things real estate and beyond. I want them to “feel” like they’re as important to me as they truly are.

Verl Workman (founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems) tells me repeatedly that if I don’t have a good family life, then nothing else really matters. He’s 100-percent right. If I had to choose today between my business and my family, I wouldn’t even have to think. It would be my family, because they’re what really matters.

Will you join me in 2019 in elevating the relationships you have with those you love? Let’s make them “feel” how important they are to us. When we’re successful in our personal lives, I’ll bet our business lives will also improve.

Cleve Gaddis is a Master Coach with Workman Success Systems and a team leader with Gaddis Partners, RE/MAX Center in Atlanta. He learned sales the hard way, selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, and now puts those skills to use in helping his team close $60 million annually. He loves to share his systems and strategies to help others succeed. He hosts the Call Cleve Atlanta Real Estate Show, heard weekly on NewsTalk 1160 WCFO. Contact him at For more information, please visit