What part of your world revolves around your relationships?
For me, a significant part.
Human relationships not only fascinate me, they also feed an insatiable desire for me to connect with my world. I can build relationships all day long, every day. I build relationships with anyone from any walk of life. I have built memorable and wonderful relationships with countless ordinary people crossing my path, from the security guys at airports to the Japanese clerks in Tokyo without exchanging too many words, from the Park Hyatt hotel manager in Paris to our local drivers in Bali, from the Hertz Rental check-out guy in California to the multi-millionaire sitting next to me on a flight in Business class, from my childhood friends in Iran’s elementary schools to the multitude of peers, colleagues, and leaders from all nationalities at a global technology corporation, from tourists to locals in our travels to real life friends and family and virtual — yet real – peeps on social media. The list really goes on.
How frequently and easily do you build relationships?
I simply do not tire of building new relationships. Not only do I bask in being in good people’s company, I am always astonished by the rewards — both instantaneous and long lasting! Relationships give back all the time and they are an investment for your well-being and an enabler for your aspirations and desires.
Some of my relationships have lasted an hour, some a few days or weeks, and a good many still thrive to this day. Some have survived with the gap of months and a few with time lapse of over 2 decades. Some run their course, as do friendships, and some you can renew many years later because of that first exchange.
The length of a relationship is not a good measure of its depth or its meaning. Instead, remember the nature of your interaction with the other person, the simple exchange of your mutual understanding, and the lasting impressions you left behind. Let those mark your measures of success when it comes to relationships.
How do you define a relationship?
I define a relationship as the act of relating to another human being through a genuine conversation, a personal story, an eye contact, a listening ear, a laugh, an exchange of a shared feeling, or a hand of help. These are a step beyond the socially expected norms of behavior (in most parts of the world), but they are most certainly accepted and often welcome. Stepping beyond those boundaries now and again to extend an act of kindness, a show of genuine interest, or to simply exude positive energy in a sincere smile can be the building blocks of great relationships both large and small in my book.
Build relationships first. Then do business.
The Japanese have a firm belief in never doing business before first building a relationship. When I would work with our Japan office, or better yet – visit them in person in one of my favorite cities, Tokyo – I would strictly follow this guideline out of utter respect for my Japanese counterparts and for observation of their culture. Then I had the sweet epiphany: not only did this simple concept come about naturally to me; I did not have to adjust my ways at all.
To my pleasant surprise, that has always been my standard mode of operation. I build a relationship first before I engage in a business transaction — before I sell you a book or a car, before I work with you on a project, before I agree to collaborate on an idea, before I buy something from you, I aim to build a relationship first, always.
What is your initial step before you engage in a business transaction?
Build your relationships. Build them from the ground up. Build them and re-build them all the time. Build them everyday and everywhere you go with the ordinary and least likely relevant person to your world as well as with those whom you are trying to impress. Do not “save” your relationship building energy — because that energy feeds on itself, it will grow and expand and you need only to be sincere and genuine, true to yourself and your intuition — my only rule of thumb is to always listen to your intuition; if your vibes tell you otherwise in a particular circumstance, listen. Lucky for us, the world is filled with mostly very good people!
Don’t wait until you need something to build a relationship!
“Don’t wait!” is the ultimate word of caution concerning relationships but certainly do not wait until you need a favor. It’s like signing up for insurance after you lose your precious stone only to turn around and file a claim. Insurance companies, much as I dislike them, are not stupid and neither are people. You may very well get away with it — the favor, the insurance, or both — but know this, with this approach, you have not built a relationship, you have made a transaction.
Give genuinely and generously at the start of a relationship. Then give some more throughout.
Do not keep tabs on what is it in it for you and what favors you have done that you later need to collect. I do not advocate selfless behavior — compassion and giving yes but selflessness, no – so you can be sure that there is reward for the self when I encourage you to give of yourself to others in a relationship. Giving means offering, as little or as much as your comfort, of your time, knowledge, expertise, energy, power or position in life, and watching it come back to you ten fold.
Relationships strengthen our place in society and our sense of purpose and existence in life.
They do not create the purpose; you do. Yet if you have nurturing, strong, reliable and true relationships in life and occasions where you have shown your humanity to another person, they will do wonders for you along your path.
The instant joys of connecting with another human being aside, relationships empower you to achieve the unthinkable and the unimaginable.
Focus on your current relationships, build new relationships, renew old relationships and never for a moment consider these connections a waste of your time because you never know when you may cross the same path and meet the same person again. Prepare for a happy second encounter!
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How connected are you to your world and your environment?
What type of relationships do you forge?
Do you believe relationships matter?
Share your thoughts in the comments.