How do you get what you want? That’s the big question, isn’t it?
You want what you want and you spend a lot of time and energy going after it. Unfortunately, the ways you go about it often aren’t very efficient. You probably find yourself feeling like you never get anywhere, at least not far enough for the amount of effort you spend.
Fatigue and frustration increase. It seems hopeless.
But it’s not. There are a lot of different ways to make progress toward what you want. Right now, I’m going to focus one of them: Building relationships.
Think about all the relationships you have at work, at home, and in your community. What do you know about those people? Do you stay in touch with them? What is it you could do for them?
That last point is key. Be someone who loves to give. The more you give, the more you will receive. Relationships aren’t about what you can get, but what you can give.
With that said, most people love to give. The people in your life probably have something that can help you get what you want. And if they don’t, they know people that do. It will make them feel good to do something for you.
Why is it so important about what you can do for each other? Because you never know where that relationship will lead.
If you’re not a natural extrovert or connector, you may be avoiding building relationships. You might make excuses that it’s too hard, too boring, or takes too long. You might think you’re too tired from all the work you have or that you have a family to look after.
As with everything else, when you don’t want to get out of your comfort zone, you justify it with excuses. “I’ll do it later.” “I’m too tired to work that hard.” “I don’t want to make a fool of myself.” “What if the person says no?”
Everyone could use the same excuses. But the successful ones do it anyway. You’ve got to change what you’re doing if you want to change your results.
In the movie, “Spy Game”, with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, there’s a line that Redford’s character says to his executive assistant when the situation he was in started to get tense: “When did Noah build the Ark, Gladys? Before the rain, before the rain.”
It’s the same with relationships. You build them now. Build the goodwill now. Establish contact now. You never know where relationships will take you. But you can’t request things from strangers the way you can from people with whom you have a genuine relationship.
Here are 6 steps for building solid relationships that serve both people:
1. Talk to people.
This sounds obvious, but it’s easy to create excuses for not making new contacts.
2. Follow up on your initial meeting.
Write an email saying how good it was to meet.
3. Several weeks later, send a handwritten thank-you card once again thanking the person for the meeting.
Not only will it remind them who you are, it will also help you stand out as one of the very few people who ever does such a thing. It stays in people’s minds, trust me.
4. If you come across something interesting, like an article or blog, send it to the person you met.
They will remember having met you and receiving the handwritten thank-you card, and now you’ve taken the relationship one step deeper.
5. Offer to do something for that person.
A colleague in Spain that I haven’t been in touch with for several years reached out to me recently when he saw me on LinkedIn. He told me one of his students was coming to Texas to study. I immediately offered to meet the student if he finds himself in Austin. Why? Because if I find myself in Spain, my colleague will assist me in any way he can.
6. Stay in touch.
I’ve stayed in touch with a lot of people around the world for decades simply with a one- or two-sentence email. “John, I’ve been thinking about you. I hope you’re well. Joe.” And you don’t have to do it very often. In fact, after you’ve established a good relationship, you can go months or even years without being in contact and then pick it right up again.
People want to give things to people they know and like, whether it’s sales or business, their work on community projects, or simply help to a neighbor.
You’ll get more of what you want when you reach out and build relationships. We’re all in this together, and none of us should ever feel like we have to do things alone.