Building relationships is an important and never-ending opportunity that will set the foundation for your zigzagging. It will open more doors for you than you could ever imagine. It’s also a process that needs to be looked at from the right perspective. I would recommend that you remember two important principles: First, do the right things for the right reasons. Second, don’t ever use people.
We live in a selfish world where some people believe the world stopped revolving around the sun on the day they were born. Some have the mindset that everyone but themselves are disposable and that they can just burn through as many people as necessary to get where they’re going. My experience and observations have taught me repeatedly that a far better way to live is to have a genuine concern for others and seek ways to serve those around you. That said, our motivation should never be anything other than doing the right thing.
I recall one young man who I was eager to help. He was incredibly bright and talented, and I saw a lot of potential in him. On several occasions I put myself out there to help him. When I was leaving the department where I had been his boss, I made sure he had a good position. A few weeks later, he complained to me that he was not happy in his new job and was looking for another. I opened my network of friends to him and helped him find new employment. A couple of months later he had burned through those relationships, and I found myself having to apologize to close associates for the messes he had created. I recommended him for several other jobs and offered my advice whenever he called. I even helped him get into a prestigious MBA school.
I never received a thank-you from him, nor any offer to reciprocate for the help I had given him. In fact, one time I asked a very small favor of him, but he was too busy. Another time I overheard him pointing out some of my weaknesses to a group of associates. We should not help others with an eye toward what we can get in return, but when all we get back is a lack of gratitude and a sense of being used, that becomes burdensome. In this case, though my “friend” continued to call for help from time to time, I simply quit responding to his demands and returning his calls. No one likes to feel used.
Wherever you are and whatever you plan to do, you’ll benefit from making a list of the resources you have at your disposal. Start with what you have today and dig deep down into your pocket. Look for resources that you might otherwise overlook.
Mental Capital + Relationship Capital = Financial Capital
- List your mental capital: What are you good at? What are you passionate about? What skills do you have?
- List your relationship capital: Who are ten people that can help you get closer to your goals?
- If you do not have ten people you can call on, what can you do to build relationships with ten such people? How can you serve these people?