THE BLOG
07/09/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Who's Got Your Back?

What would it mean to your life if instead of worrying about who is going to put a knife in your back you had people who had your back and refused to let you fail?

To hear Keith Ferrazzi talk about it, his life should have been terrific after this first book, Never Eat Alone, became a New York Times Best Seller in 2005 and he became one of the most sought after speakers in America.

In many ways it was and yet he soon felt like he was drowning at the deep end of a pool. What happened was he had this great opportunity to build a company, something lasting instead of fleeting and something he had always wanted to do, but discovered he was not a very good leader and even a worse manager and worse yet was too often seduced by what was interesting instead of focusing on what was important.

Then one of his trusted associates- more trusted than he could imagine - took him aside and told him he was "inelegant" and frenetic. Rather than feel offended, Ferrazzi felt deeply cared about. That was a turning point where he realized that spreading a wide net to connect with many people and as he

advised in Never Eat Alone was one thing, but if you really wanted to progress in this world you needed just a few individuals to care about you, hold you accountable, kick you in the butt when you need it and above all, who won't let you fail. And of course all this commitment and caring goes in both directions.

In Who's Got Your Back Ferrazzi explains the key mindsets of what he calls "lifeline" relationships: Generosity, Vulnerability, Candor, Accountability. I have been following this roadmap in this exact order for a couple years and it is has transformed my life. It is my good fortune that Generosity comes naturally to me. That by itself has opened doors especially in a "what's in it for me" world including relationships with some of the most respected leaders in this country.

As I have grown closer to these people and they see that I didn't want anything more than the pleasure and honor of their company, our relationships spontaneously shifted to Vulnerability baring our mutual necks, fears and dreams. Because of the quality of these people our bared necks quickly crossed over into our being Candid with each other - their pointing out the equivalence of my "inelegance and being all over the place" and my in turn pointing out some of the ways they got in their own way.

The greatest contribution to my success has been the final mindset, Accountability. I so respect these people and so value their esteem, that the last thing I would want to do is disappoint them. So any commitment I make to them is one that I will keep and because they seem to care about me, they make sure that any commitment I make is a meaningful one for me.

I urge you to go out and buy Who's Got Your Back and more importantly put its principles to work today. If it transformed my life, it can transform yours.

Also seen at Basil and Spice