The single pattern that emerged among successful people is …
How much do relationships matter to you? We are talking all types of relationships, personal and business relationships.
Do you see your relationships directly affecting your life’s success or happiness or do you see them as a separate entity on their own, as a perk (or pest!) of life without serving a larger purpose?
Don’t worry. There is no right or wrong answer, and certainly no grading here. But there is a better way to live your life if you want to emulate successful people and what they always do in relationships.
Ever since I started this blog a few years ago, I’ve been studying successful people, people who are living life on their terms, achieving great meaningful goals, and appearing as wonderful human beings with many gifts and talents to this world.
It turns out that you can be a success no matter where you come from, what family or country you are born into, and what schooling (or lack thereof) you achieved. You can also be success doing just about any kind of work, in any field and industry, and under any economic or social conditions. And you can live out your success in many different colors and sounds.
But a single pattern kept emerging after studying dozens and dozens of successful people: The importance of their relationships – both personal and business – in their success.
The higher the success level of the person, the higher the importance of each relationship in his or her life, and the more time and energy went into the relationships.
The question is why are relationships so important to success
Why are relationships at the heart of successful people? Aren’t successful people busy enough as it is? And would they not want to relax and roll around in the lap of luxury when they are not working?
What we do know is that successful people are not big into wasting their time or squandering their wealth. They are smart, intelligent, and vigilant people who want to create even more success and happiness in their lives.
It turns out that among things successful people do, building relationships ranks high as a top use of their time and energy.
Now these are not just any relationships, but relationships that promote their state of wealth and health, success and happiness, self-development and personal growth, to name a few incentives.
Successful people want to create more success and thus, they hang out with people who push them to higher levels.
I was very happy when I discovered this, because I Love Building Relationships. Now I had to focus on building lasting relationships with the right people.
7 things successful people do to build lasting relationships
So what are the 7 things that successful people always do to build lasting relationships? Note the use of the word “lasting”, and this makes sense, because successful people are too busy and too smart to waste their time so they focus on cultivating the types of relations that can stand the test of time, so that both parties can reap the benefits and the rewards.
1. State the objective of the relationship early on
This may sound business-like and serious, but in fact, it is such a relief to be able to build a relationship where you know the overall incentive behind it. Maybe you want to learn from each other. Maybe you hope to do business together someday. Maybe you want to be challenged or motivated. Maybe you want to learn the business success lessons of one another. Successful people are not shy to state the objective of the relationships that they plan to make lasting and neither should we!
Stating the reasons why you want to have a relationship is far better than not stating them at all or pretending they are something else altogether.
2. Communicate openly and clearly and listen intently
Listening and communicating well are the top traits of all successful people in general, but these elements come to play when you watch them in their relationships. They listen intently. They are present when they are with the other person. They are not too busy to listen and too quick to move on to the next thing.
Successful people also communicate openly, even if it means they need to ask for something or say no about something.
Open communication and intent listening are the foundations of lasting relationships.
3. Never wait until they need something to build a relationship
Successful people don’t “save” your relationship building energy — because they know that the energy does not run out. It grows by use, it expands and they use it well in building lots of relationships. They build these relationships well in advance of ever needing them. So their motive is never colored by their own selfish desires to get “something out of the relationship” but rather, they go into each relationship with mutual benefits to both parties, and build lots of relationships.
Then when the time comes that they may have need of their relationship, they’ve already filled the trust fund and can “borrow” so to speak.
“Don’t wait!” is the ultimate word of caution concerning relationships, and certainly don’t 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.
4. Give generously at the start of a relationship. Give more throughout
Successful people don’t keep tabs on what’s in it for them and what favors they can collect on later, and this is especially true at the beginning of a relationship. Giving and giving a lot is the theme they use if they are building a lasting relationship.
This isn’t about advocating a selfless behavior — compassion and giving yes but selflessness, no – which means there is reward for the self when you give of yourself to others in a relationship first.
Giving means offering, as little or as much as you can, of your time, knowledge, expertise, energy, power or position in life, and watching it come back to you ten fold. Giving can be rewarding in itself. I know that in my mastermind group, I get more reward in giving to my team members than I do in receiving feedback for my own challenges from them. Funny how much you get by giving so focus on giving.
5. Speak up if something is not going well
I look back at so many friendships that went sour in my past, and it always comes down to nobody ever speaking up when things weren’t going well. We are afraid of saying anything and hurting someone’s feelings. Successful people don’t suffer from this.
When something is not going well in their relationships, successful people just speak up. They do it with integrity, with compassion and with kindness, but they still speak up and they do this early on so that the problems don’t fester. They do this not to make a fuss or complain, but to make the relationship better, stronger, and more mutually beneficial.
This is one of the more challenging things to do in a relationship so start on a smaller scale. This also tests your communication and listening skills, which is the second tip above. If you can get used to doing this well, you will have more rewarding lasting relationships in your life.
6. Fiercely support and protect their relationships
You know how you guard your jewelry? Well, successful people guard their relationships that well. They are protective of the people who have entrusted them with this lasting connection and they are careful how they leverage these relationships. Basically, they don’t take their relationships lightly. Rather, they treat them like gold, like fortune, and that’s what lasting relationships can do for you in life.
Successful people always speak highly of the people in their relationships, they watch out for them, they guard their reputation, and they represent them to others as they’d want to be represented themselves. They are simply protective and supportive as a big brother or sister would be to a younger sibling, and in turn, they get the same treatment from the people in those relationships. Everyone wins!
7. Work hard to mend, repair and strengthen a damaged relationship
Sometimes things happen, even to successful people. A miscommunication gets out. A ball gets dropped. A promise gets broken. And the relationship suffers a little. Successful people are quick to bring focus and attention and care to a damaged relationship. They are not too proud to apologize and to offer to mend their ways. They are not too proud to work hard at regaining trust and rebuilding strength. They know that relationships are a long-term investment and an enabler for their aspirations and desires. They work hard at making things work again in their relationships, and hence make it even stronger than before.
So next time something goes awry in your relationship, think of it as an opportunity to get even closer and build even a stronger more authentic relationship.
How to put the lessons from successful people into practice now
Remember, lasting relationships can strengthen your sense of purpose and happiness in life. Nurturing, strong, reliable and true relationships in life can be the difference between your own success – and lack of success. Plus, when you win, you get to celebrate within those wonderful relationships.
The instant joys of connecting with another human being aside, relationships empower you to achieve the unthinkable and the unimaginable. They push you higher and closer into the person you were meant to be, and when you are in the right relationship, others may have an even higher vision of life for you than you have for yourself. That level of faith and belief in your abilities can be huge help in achieving your dreams.
So focus on any of these 7 things successful people do to build lasting relationships, and implement only one at a time. Focus on your current relationships and apply these concepts in a measured way, and see if you notice a difference in the quality of your own relationships. I’m willing to bet that you will!
So build new relationships, renew old relationships and copy successful people to create your own lasting relationships.
Oh and listen, if you’ve never put much stock into your relationships, don’t fret. You can start right now to improve the state of your current relationships and learn how to build the right new relationships. It is never too late to create positive change in your life.
How connected are you to your world and your environment?
The floor is yours: What type of relationships do you build? Why do you think relationships matter? Share your thoughts in the comments.