“I try to connect with people on LinkedIn but nobody replies.”
“I try to build my network but nobody wants to help me.”
“I tried every strategy you mention in your blog posts but this networking thing is not for me.”
These are just a few of the statements that I hear people tell me. Whenever I hear such a statement, in 99% of the cases, I can easily tell what’s wrong.
In this article, I will talk about building relationships on a very foundational level.
If You Don’t Have Passion, No Networking Can Save You
If you think you can just go out there, add some people on LinkedIn, invite them into your network and things will magically work in your favors, think again.
Look at any situation in your life or business, if the only thing you do is work on the strategies and dismiss the principles, things fall apart no matter how great the strategies.
A foundational part of building relationships is passion. Without having a passion for what you pursue, you go out there and try to connect with people because you want something from them. This is doomed to fail.
I know what I’m talking about. I tried this for a while in my earlier career and it took me a while to understand why things did not work the way I wanted.
Last week, I talked to a potential coaching & mentoring client and we talked about his situation and his goals. He has been working in a finance career for the past 20 years or so, mostly in the corporate world. He now wants to break out of the corporate rat race and start his own consulting business.
After 30 seconds into the conversation, it was clear to me that there was absolutely no passion for what he is pursuing. Nothing. Nada. Niente.
He mainly talked about the financial potential and that he’d “like” to pursue that direction.
I always get amazed when people confuse the word “like” with “love”. I asked him if he loved the idea of starting this business and he said something along the lines of “Well, yes, I liked my finance career and think I would like this too.”
My pretty blunt answer of “Exactly, that’s the problem.” followed a moment of silence.
I asked him if he has ever told his wife “Honey, I like you.” I think that’s when he realized the difference.
Without having passion for what you do, the emotions involved will never be strong enough to create something significant. Only if you have passion for what you do, you can sustain a level of energy that will get you to your dreams.
Without passion, you burn out along the way.
Principles vs. Strategies
I recently wrote a blog post titled The Creed of Living Legends: 6 Principles to Do Work You Love.
I love talking about principles because they are the foundation. If you merely follow strategies and tactics all day long, you won’t get very far without the principles as a foundation. However, if you follow the principles, the strategies become obvious.
If you try to build a finance consulting business but your finance career over the past 20 years did not really fulfill you, or even worse, you got horribly bored with it, stop for a moment and look in the mirror.
If you want to build great relationships for your business, and therefore live, you need to build them on a solid foundation. I don’t think (and hope) that you would ever build your house by starting with the roof.
Let’s look at some of the most important principles for building relationships.
1. Have Passion for What You Do
If you have passion for what you do, you obviously do it because of your passion and not because you have to do it.
This is the most important principle because if this one is in place, the rest follows naturally.
However, if you don’t have passion for what you do, making friends, giving, being yourself and not biasing becomes hard.
If you currently do something you are not passionate about, stop for a moment. Ask yourself if this is really what you want to do for the next 20, 30, 40 years. Ask yourself if this is the story you want to tell your kids or grandkids.
If there is no passion left for what you do (or if there has never been any), change something. Otherwise, you will wake up, two years from now, still stuck in the same situation and tell yourself “Why did I not do anything back then?”. That’s not what you want.
This video expresses very well what I’m talking about here.
2. Make Friends Instead of Business Contacts
When you do things because you are passionate, making friends is easy. You don’t think “What’s in it for me?” and you don’t talk about your “business contacts”.
When you have passion, your natural instinct is to find people who are passionate about similar things and who share your values.
Going to networking events just for the sake of networking makes you sick. Spending time with people who have no passion and don’t share (or even disrespect) your values makes you even sicker.
When your passion for the thing you are pursuing leads the way, you naturally make friends wherever you go.
You choose your friends carefully because you know that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
3. Give. Give. Give.
When you have passion for what you do, giving becomes natural. You want to give as much as you can because you want to see people smile.
The fact that other people smile because of something you did makes you happier than anything else. You give without thinking about what your act of giving can do for you.
You know that the universe is set up in the way that if you give selflessly, you get back a multitude of what you have given. That’s the way it works (The crucial and hard part is the selflessly).
4. Know & Be Yourself
When you are passionate about what you do, being anything else than yourself makes you sick. You can’t hold back from saying what you think. If somebody asks you for your opinion, you can’t give a generic answer but only your boldest and most self-expressed opinion because that’s who you are.
You know who you are because you do things with passion. You know who you are because you have real friends in your life and constantly want to give more than you receive.
5. Don’t Bias
When you have passion for what you do, you don’t bias. You connect with everybody in the same way. Only after you get to know somebody better, you make the decision if this is a person you want to have in your live or not.
If the person shares your values and is living passionately, you keep them close.
Everything Goes Back to Passion
As you can see, all principles have their roots in passion. Without passion as the foundation, the rest is hard because then it’s not natural and authentic to us.
When I started my business, I went through Scott Dinsmore’s course Live Off Your Passion. It helped me tremendously to redefine what success means to me, to connect with the right people and to eventually build a business around my passion.