Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
It’s a cliche to talk about the importance of relationships in business. We all know that to succeed, we need the best people on our side, whether that’s as customers, clients or colleagues. But do you find that, despite being more connected to each other than ever before (at least in theory), you still struggle to find the right connections and networks?
Sure, there are plenty of online and in-person communities. But finding those who are aligned with you can often feel as though it’s entirely up to luck. It doesn’t have to be though — it all starts with a connection to yourself and a deep, profound understanding of what is guiding you.
Have a close relationship with yourself and those you are close to, before seeking more relationships in business.
What is less talked about in the business world is the importance of prioritizing our relationships with our family. We pay lip-derive to the notion of a work/life balance, but it’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you can not have one without sacrificing the other. That’s just not true.
As I am so fond of saying: It’s all a matter of intention. Why do we start our business with the intention of being successful and improving our personal finances? Is it just to have money, or is it to improve the lives of us and our family? I know a great many highly successful and very wealthy individuals, and none of them prioritize the acquisition of money. The money was a happy byproduct of the impact that they created. Creating growth, change and expansion was the goal.
If you set the intention of growing your business to facilitate more time to be with your family, that will inform how you structure your business and the strategic decisions that you make. Some cynically minded people might claim that doing so is doomed to fail because you’re focusing on things external to the business. But I’m not suggesting that you compromise your strategic decision-making — rather, you should use the desire to have more free time when finding the right strategies to facilitate that.
One such example would be task prioritization. If you concentrate on making sure that you only spend time on the high-yield tasks, you will cut out all of the stressful, unproductive stuff that keeps you in the office past home-time and on the phone at weekends. Don’t concern yourself with the people, places and things that mean to rob you of your time.
Value your time and guard it jealously.
Thanks to our globalized world, we don’t have to “kiss a bunch of business frogs” anymore. We can get in the virtual and literal room with precisely the right people, cutting out the time-wasters and inappropriate connections.
Of course, it’s not that simple, but the point of being open to the whole world is to make it smaller. Just think about how advertising works nowadays. Why spend on newspaper ads or local TV when you know that a large proportion of it is just going to fall on deaf ears? You can spend less on targeting a smaller, but demonstrably engaged audience, yielding a higher rate of return.
The same is true of how we build relationships.
The “problem” is that no matter how sophisticated our algorithms may be, there is still far too much information out there for us to handle by ourselves. We need to enlist the help of others in order to get into the right “rooms”. It’s so important that we do though, not necessarily because of predetermined opportunities, but because we need to share the energy of like-minded, abundant people.
Remember that it is possible to win at the wrong game. You might be making loads of money, but life could also be miserable because everything else is suffering. Or the inverse might be true. By being in a room with abundant and aligned people, we can start to win the right games. We can have our cake and eat it too.
Be in the business of building relationships with abundant people so that you are surrounded by abundant energy. They won’t let you backslide into lack.
Another top tip when it comes to finding the right company to keep is to avoid the “Their World” people and look for the “The World” people. You’ve probably encountered “Their World” people a lot in your journey as an entrepreneur, and most likely in general life. They are the kind of people who seek only to change and enrich their world, as opposed to the world. They are focused on serving themselves, rather than the world.
This is totally the wrong mindset. They’re winning the wrong game. Think about it: If you want to expand and grow yourself, shouldn’t you focus on serving the maximum number of people? Make serving the world your focus and the rest will take care of itself. That’s not to say that how you do what you do isn’t important, but if it’s not serving the relationship that you have with your customers and clients (ie the world), then you might as well not be doing it.
If you’re not putting significant energy and resources into your relationships, it’s time to start. Cultivate a mindset of being of service to the world and then be open to the infinite possibility of what will come back to you. By being in relationships with abundant people, creating a network of “The World” people and avoiding toxic people, you open yourself up to infinite expansion. Your name — and by extension, you — will be in rooms across the globe, being connected with opportunities that you can’t even conceive of on your own.
As I teach my students: Don’t try to control the “how”. This is very often what prevents our dreams from coming true. We set a clear intention, we dream big and then we try to control how it is going to come to us. The problem is, you’re taking the infinite possibility of the universe and trying to funnel it through your limited scope of understanding. That’s not how abundance works.
You just need to do the job of opening yourself to the infinite number of ways something can come to you. I’m not suggesting that you do nothing. But don’t assume that you know more than the universe about when and how opportunities and advancement will come. Revel in the fact that the resources and payoffs can come from anywhere, in abundant quantities, when you open yourself up to serving the world.