While traveling this week to two incredible marketing events, I was trying to figure out why I do this when I would much rather be home.
The best answer I could come up with is that I am a mastermind junkie and a people junkie.
Or another way to put it, I can never get enough great content from great people.
I can’t begin to calculate the value of being a lifelong student; and the friendships and relationships I’ve developed mean the world to me.
And then there’s all of the frequent flier miles I’ve accumulated too.
Those of you who are junkies like me know what I’m talking about.
And if you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that this goes way beyond “networking” (a term I really don’t like which I discussed in “The real vitamin C…and it’s not in your O.J.”)
What I do like is “contributing to connect”–and I want to share some additional thoughts on that distinction today.
One of my earliest blog posts from 2014 was a response to many people asking me after the Titans of Direct Response event:
“How did you get all of those guys to speak?”
And for those of you who are not aware of the lineup of speakers, there were some pretty big names who showed up.
I can admit to you here that making those requests was completely painless (and incredibly gratifying).
How did that happen?
I could simply chalk it up to the fact that I’m a nice guy, always appreciative and respectful.
But I knew it had to be more than that.
The event was a tribute to my mentor Marty Edelston. His stature in the industry as a legendary contributor didn’t hurt on getting folks to step up.
And at the time I actually chalked it up mostly to that which made a lot of sense to me.
But since then, as I have brought together some of the most amazing direct response marketers and copywriters in my two mastermind groups, and then brought guests in to speak on a regular basis to those groups, guests who are all Titans in their specialties, I knew there was something more here.
It’s called “relationship capital.”
You may find this hard to believe but this form of capital is way more valuable than any bank account, bond or equity portfolio–or even your latest investment in cryptocurrencies.
I just heard something that’s relevant here too:
“You can’t have everything–where would you put it?”
Relationship capital is forever and what you “buy” with it does not have to be stored or displayed…although it needs to be nurtured…and it is an investment for a lifetime.
And it also has nothing to do with “getting rich quick.”
Another bonus: Relationship capital travels well and it is accepted everywhere.
So how does this very special currency get deposited into your personal account and then accumulate compound interest over time?
I’ll use my personal experience to try and explain it.
We can start with why all of those icons in direct response marketing said yes so quickly to speak at “Titans” and why they continue to say yes.
And also why the “ask” is not really that difficult or out of place.
As I said, politeness and my connection to Marty had a lot to do with it…but building my personal account was a long time in the making.
I know how it didn’t happen.
It had nothing to do with trying to build the largest Linked In or Facebook account…and it didn’t happen by contacting people only when I wanted something or needed something.
And it didn’t happen by accident.
Here’s how it does happen:
Being committed to consistent communication…and always thinking about contributing to the other person first (I know–I’m a broken record on that one!).
It also happens when you truly care about the other person. Imagine that.
Without playing a long game of contribution first and always caring, “new deposits” into your account might as well be Monopoly money.
There’s no “interest” accumulated when you are simply playing a numbers game with your contacts, only going a mile wide and not thinking about how you can go a mile deep.
“It is far more gratifying to be interested than interesting”
Now that doesn’t mean you should sit on your butt all day and not create stuff that others find interesting…but try to notice when the conversation starts being all about you and think about turning that conversation to the other person.
I’ve been accused many times writing these weekly posts about being too much “I” and not enough “you.”
So I know how hard this can be given the conversations going on our head all day about the most important person in our lives: You (or me).
Those are the voices we hear all day telling us how interesting we are…the “legends in our own mind” thing…
That’s why I recommend that you have people around you all the time (part of that investing in relationship capital) who will make you accountable…and tell you to shut up when “it’s all about you.”
I talked last week about making sure you have true friends and mentors who make you accountable so you don’t always assume your next idea is your best idea ever.
Today I will add that making requests for accountability from your closest friends, advisors and coaches regarding how you are showing up for people is also critically important—that is, getting some checks and balances on when you are overdoing it on the “interesting over interested” scale.
Being quiet once in a while is always a quick way to get back on track. That’s one I’ve been told I need to do more.
In short, these are the two things that must be eliminated when dealing with folks around you for maximum yield on your relationship capital:
Complacency and arrogance.
If you are too complacent (not engaging and being interested in the other person) or if you are arrogant (being a bit too interesting and having it all be about you), you need to be slapped around a bit.
You can’t invest in relationship capital if either of those things are getting in the way of how you contribute to everyone around you.
I know from experience that these two things (and I’m sure you can think of others for yourself), will stop you from creating a bigger future for yourself.
And since I don’t trust myself 100% to be aware all the time if either of those two things are creeping in, I surround myself with people who have permission to let me know immediately and loudly if I am becoming complacent and/or arrogant…with love never leaving the room while they are letting me know.
Here’s the quick prescription for building your “relationship capital account” which automatically includes compound interest:
1) Whenever you are stressed, go to “blessed”…and always start from a place of gratitude, not envy.
I wrote in the past about how “envy kills” and I will repeat that post for Thanksgiving if you missed it in the past.
Simply put, love everyone around you and truly care whether it’s a holiday or not.
2) It’s always about what you can contribute first to the other person not what you can attain from them.
3) Be appreciative and respectful always…I guess that’s pretty obvious…but good manners never go out of style.
4) Don’t come out of nowhere with your communications to anyone…be consistent…and certainly don’t come out of nowhere with an “ask” no matter how small.
5) Have people around you to let you know when you are being complacent…firmly…and without beating around the bush.
6) Have people around you to let you know when you are being arrogant…firmly…and with this one, a kick in the head might also be in order
7) And do your homework when entering into any new “investment” (i.e. relationship)…you probably ask a ton of questions before investing your money…why wouldn’t you ask as many (or more) when bringing another awesome human into your world?
A relationship capital account that has the highest value doesn’t easily and it doesn’t happen easily and it doesn’t happen without a lot of time and effort…and it must be valued as a privilege and not simply an asset.
Cherish it and nurture it as you make additional “deposits” every day.
With all the analogies to relationship capital as something with the highest value, I need to repeat this again:
“Your relationship capital is not an asset but a privilege”
Good luck with your investments!