You've probably heard clichés like "It's not what you know, it's who you know" or that networking is really important. The fact is that it's all about relationships. But just like anything, you can't fake it.
Connections are important, but how do you build them? How do you meet people that will help you get the most out of life, your career and your ambitions? Spouses, Employers, business partners and classmates all fall into our lives; these are the people that help define you.
We all know how we like to be treated and if you believe in the golden rule of doing unto others, as you would have them do unto you, you'd better be nice to everyone.
Think about this objectively; are you nice to everyone or merely civil? Do you treat the people that serve you the same way as you do your boss or a potential customer? When it's all on the line we tend to be the very best versions of our selves, which is good, the trick is being that way to everyone.
Here are three things that can help you make the most out of your relationships -- future and present.
1. Remove your motives. Like people for the sake of liking people, looking for the good in them regardless of their job, connections, finances, or what they can potentially do for you.
I've said it about money, its true for networking connections, don't chase. If you genuinely care about everyone the right relationships will fall in your lap.
It always surprises me to see how people interact with the rest of the human race. You can tell a lot about someone based on how they treat others. It's a real life resume. If they have strained relationships, guess what, you might be next! When issues arise, the person you might be counting on, may turn on you.
When a child makes a mistake or doesn't know the answer to a question, it's easy to be charitable and caring, when adults do it, we feel obligated to belittle, to jeer and to chastise. Nothing has changed except our perception. Treat everyone the way you would want someone to treat your own child.
2. Reserve Judgments. In a world full of endless scenarios and lifestyles, there is no way for us to know what someone has gone through or might be going through. Abuse, emotional strain, loss, disease and countless other situations that are often out of peoples control can have huge effects on their out look on life.
I met a woman on a plane to LA the other day, and after an hour of conversation, I discovered that she had survived breast cancer and reconstructive surgery that went wrong. Unable to fulfill her dream of motherhood and had recently had a miserable breakup of a 10 year relationship with a man she thought shed spend the rest of her life with. Outward appearances can be deceiving. Give people a break; it's hard to be alive.
Abraham Lincoln said "If you look for the bad in your fellow man expecting to find it, your surely will."
Empathy is key. If you have ever had a job waiting tables, working at a cash register or even a carwash, you know how it feels to be treated poorly. Customers can be heartless. If you find your self comparing others to your self, remember, only your mother has to like you, its totally optional for everyone else, even your employees!
3. Build irreplaceable relationships. As you build your relationships, some will die and others will survive, much like a garden, Nurture everything and see what fruit it bears. Keep in mind that your best relationships are not necessarily your longest or oldest. Keep the best and allow the friendships to run their course.
My brother Zac is my business partner, my friend, and probably the most influential person in my life. I wonder how my life would be had he and I not fostered and nurtured our relationship over the last 30 years. Look around; there are amazing people everywhere, maybe closer than you think. Truly, in my life, every relationship counts.