The Relationship Dilemma (and differentiating yourself from the norm in business and life)

Jan 18, 2012

“Be interested, not interesting.”
John Costigan

Are your relationships suffering?


Genuine relationships are in danger of extinction.

Seek first to understand, and then be understood. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. All of these are motto’s that mean the same thing. The simple fact is…IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. The more you can change your focus to others, the more you will get ahead in this world. It’s called building relationship capital.

This article is a call to arms. Relationships everywhere are suffering.

I go to my local Starbucks to work quite often. About 3pm, the junior high kids come stampeding in. After taking over and ordering their Frappuccino’s, they sit with their friends and start conversing. Coupled with the verbal back and forth is a constant watch on their smart phone. Whether its texting, updating Facebook statuses or checking their twitter feed, their attention alternates between their “real” conversations and the one’s in the cloud.

Let me also say this…a mea culpa of sorts. I also fall prey to this at times. Fortunately, I’ve taught myself to become aware of it. In addition, I’m in corporate technology sales, so I’ve seen firsthand the power of building relationships the right way.

I’m concerned about this. I have two kids, ages two and four. I believe it’s only going to become harder to build truly authentic relationships. It’s so hard to focus on the moment with all of these distractions. Listen, I’m a big believer in the power and value of social media, but it’s a potential black hole if you don’t manage it the right way.

What can we do about it?

We all have a job to do. Put your phone down when you’re talking to someone. Encourage your kids to do the same. As I said, I fall victim to this as well. I’m sure my wife will tell you that she wished I would throw my iPhone away at times. I’m one that has a hard time shutting down. It’s the perfectionist mentality, the constant acceleration that our society portrays as necessary. While I’ve become a lot better at stepping back and disconnecting, I have a long way to go.

I believe the ability to cultivate relationships will become a big differentiator in years to come.

If you can focus on making yourself stand out. Simply focusing on being interested and not always thinking about getting your next word in will separate yourself from the crowd.

The next frontier of 1440

My new project is launching in a couple weeks. One of the primary components is going to be relationships. Mostly from a business perspective, but I’ll also delve into the personal side. In addition to writing, I will be launching an online interview show. I’m excited to do this for two reasons. One, it will give you guys some great insight into what others are doing out there to kick ass in their chosen field. And, two, I get to interact one on one and actually see someone face to face. This is huge. I talk to a lot of people on the phone all day. In my sales job, especially, but also with the relationships I’ve built in the blogging/online world. I can’t tell you how great it is to connect with these people when it’s face to face (via Skype). It’s so much more real than a phone conversation. Stay tuned for the launch in February.

And, remember, always focus on giving first. Give your time. Give your attention. Just give. You will receive exponentially in return.



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