5 Secrets to Building Relationships in Business and Life
On June 16, 2015, I was sentenced to federal prison for one year and one day. Most people might categorize that day as a glaring failure. But, I do not. I have redefined my entire definition of success by the people whose lives I have touched. On the day that a federal judge sentenced me, I was supported by my entire community. Mentors, colleagues, fellow community leaders, friends, family, and more. Why? I am not more special than the next person and I would not consider myself necessarily lucky. BUT, I have always invested in my relationships. I genuinely value my connections from an authentic place. Fifteen years ago, I was offered a job by a respected legal leader in Miami. I turned it down to accept another job. Instead, I asked if he would be my mentor and for over a decade, he guided me both personally and professionally. We are both vested in each other’s happiness and success. I never would have known this father-figure to me, would ultimately be instrumental as a key character witness during my sentencing hearing. Because here is the thing, you commit and invest in each relationship for the benefit of learning from each other and sharing experiences. With no ask. With no desire to get something in return. With no specific goal in mind. True relationships are built on integrity and selflessness.
The greatest gift you can give yourself is the time to learn from others’ experiences. Whether within your profession, in your community, in your family, or maybe there is no express connection at all – building relationships from an organic and authentic simple desire to learn and grow and share has the most defining impact on our lives. Below are my 5 Secrets to building relationships in business and life:
Tip #1: Seek Out Mentors
Find mentors – One of the earliest lessons I learned was to seek out connection with individuals who you respect and admire. One of the limiting factors I have noticed is that most people only seek mentors within their own profession or industry. The thing is that mentors are all around us. We just need to open our minds to consider that individuals each have wisdom to offer in some way. We can choose to surround ourselves with artists, community leaders, athletes, teachers, CEOs, partners, and managers – just to name a few. In my case, I have always sought out others involved in different ventures and activities from whom I can seek advice. Through life experiences, we learn valuable lessons. Thus, I have found that my mentor, Toni, who is a retired marketing executive and now philanthropist in the Miami community, has graciously given her time to mentor me in the area of community partnership, giving, and general life lessons. Mentors are teachers and partners. Ultimately, they are our sponsors and friends who can guide us when life’s challenges come our way and we need our trusted mentors.
Tip #2: Change Your Mindset
Change your mindset – When I meet someone new, I start with the mindset that each person has good within them. I was raised spiritually to believe this about each person. Of course, there will be exceptions. But, a positive growth mindset creates opportunities. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable and reach out to others that you normally wouldn’t, you will surprise yourself. You will meet people outside of your comfort zone. Just a minor shift in your mindset will open doors. Building relationships takes strength and risks. You have to reach out your hand to meet someone you otherwise wouldn’t meet. You might have to attend an event that you have never been to before or a party where you don’t know others. The gift from changing your mindset, is that you can be almost certain that you will make new friends, contacts and working relationships.
Tip #3: Create Vested Relationships
Create vested relationships – Some friendships are made quickly, but might not have a foundation underneath it. Building relationships takes time. True long-term relationships that you can count on will be those where each of you is vested in each other – in every way. You hold each other accountable. You know each other’s skeletons and do not pass judgment. You say the words that the other does not want to hear, but you know she must listen and soak it in. You are raw and vulnerable with each other so as to draw strength from one another. These relationships are vested because there is accountability, vulnerability, and loyalty to each other. We all need an inner circle of relationships that are vested. It takes time, but these specific relationships are worth every ounce of energy it takes to build them.
Tip #4: Infuse Integrity Into Relationships
Integrity – Every relationship mandates integrity. From the moment we meet someone to thirty years later or more…..it our responsibility to have integrity and honor others with the honesty they deserve. My mission is to spread the need for ethical vigilance in everything we do….because it is everything. Ethics plays a major role in our relationships and starts with integrity. Transparency and freedom to be with our relationships without wondering if we must hide something or skirt around the bush about a sensitive matter. Our relationships deserve integrity. We might lose the friend, but ultimately we are better served by creating relationships that are based on integrity at their core.
Tip #5: Generously Serve Others
Generously serve – I was raised in a home where my parents were incredibly involved in the community. Rotary Club International, Zonta Club, Women’s Fund, Society of Professional Engineers, Dade County Bar Association, South Florida Hindu Temple, and more. These are but a few of the names of organizations that I grew up hearing about and watching my parents dedicate their time, energy, and sometimes also their money in order to help those less fortunate than themselves. Our relationships must also contain a common thread of service. They cannot be built on each trying to get something from one another. But, rather, our relationships must be authentic and rest on service to one another. We must help each other navigate the challenges that arise in our personal and our professional lives. Generously serving is the highest honor we can give to each relationship and it’s the ultimate investment that builds an authentic relationship.
Rashmi Airan‘s mission is to share the need for ethical vigilance and to inspire you to make good ethical choices in all areas of your life. Rashmi is an ethics speaker and consultant fighting to create a culture of conversation and bring ethical issues in business to light, to promote integrity, to enhance commitment to fiduciary duty, to build ethical leadership, and to shift the paradigm of ethics standards through ethics training.
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