I recently bought lunch to a very successful Montreal-based real estate investor. In one hour and thirty minutes, I acquired more knowledge and wisdom about commercial properties than I had in one semester studying Real Estate Finance at McGill University. This was invaluable and I am forever indebted to this person for selflessly gifting me with so much hard-acquired expertise.
I could’ve asked him to invest in a deal I am putting together and, being as kind and smart as he is, he would’ve gone for it. But on this Friday afternoon, I wasn’t looking for money. I was looking for a mentor, someone to share his mistakes and successes with me. I was obsessed with one idea, building a great mentor-mentee relationship where I could also deliver some value to him.
You can acquire more financial wealth that you can spend in a lifetime but, you can’t maintain more relationships that you can support. Building true, meaningful, interpersonal bonds requires time and emotional investments.
Merriam-Webster defines a relationship as:
“the state of being related or interrelated”
If we go deeper, the definition of related is
“connected by reason of an established or discoverable relation”
Indeed, every relationship stems from a connection that two or more people share. But, does this make it a true relationship? I disagree.
It has to go deeper than a mere association. Do you really believe you have a relationship with the baristas that makes your coffee every morning? You don’t even know their names. Although relations are transactional in nature (you give something, you get something back), real ones don’t necessarily require equal returns or benefits.
To be true with one another, you have to be willing to give without expectations of receiving. In our materialistic society, we increasingly try to compensate for our personal shortcomings by offering meaningless gifts that will excuse our lack of emotional availability. I have been guilty of that many times in the past and still to this day.
The older and wiser I get, the more I realize that we all crave the same things as human beings, attention and admiration/recognition. Even though these are completely free to give, we restrict the outflow of genuine appreciation for fear of depleting our emotional bank accounts and appearing weak. The great thing about emotions though is that they recharge overnight. Every day you get a certain amount to give and every night it disappears. No matter how much you spent of it, the amount will be back to the same level in the morning. You should make sure you spend all of it every day.
Genuinely show appreciation and give praise to the people you love.
Surrounding yourself with people that want nothing but the best for you is extremely rewarding. I often find them to be the most ambitious and driven as well. Building your close circle with success-oriented people is the most refreshing thing you can do. The successful understand that the best way to achieve their own goals is by helping others with theirs. They realize that the rising tide lifts all boats and want to generate a tsunami of prosperity with you.
On the other hand, I have found that most people tend to be extremely selfish. This sad realization made me question who I had become multiple times. Only wanting the best for my peers, I never understood the resentment stemming from sharing my wins, encouraging them to acquire the same passion about achievement.
Un/fortunately, this meant I had to let a lot of people go in order to grow. The positive side is that it freed a lot of room to find better humans to surround myself with. I decided to join more clubs, develop myself even more and forming meaningful bonds with those who are obsessed with bettering themselves.
Find great and ambitious peers, they will bring you the most rewards.
When building this new support structure, I was immediately amazed at how much more this new circle cared. Conversations are listened to attentively by all parties. Key aspects of each other’s lives are stored in our mind and followed up on more often.
What happens when you are faced with so much care and attention? You start putting in the work to at least return the same amount of kindness and consideration. I made it a personal mission to remember my inner circle’s activities on the tips of my fingers, being able to recall the latest events in their lives, their interests and always think about ways I can be beneficial to them.
The most powerful question in a relationship is:
How can I help?
You have to be willing to put in the work, the goodwill, for the rewards to come to you. This is true in both business and personal life.
One of the most influential personal development speakers of our days, Grant Cardone puts it this way:
“You want to be a billionaire? Help a billion people.”
Work on helping others and they will work on helping you.