For the first 40 years of my life, the bulk of my relationships were only an inch deep. Sure I had lots of ‘friends’ but they were a mile long and only an inch deep.
My friendship, all of them, were based on one specific motive in my life and that was to get money. I figured, if I had a bunch of money, then everything else would take care of it’s self.
My friendships, my marriage and my business dealings were all based on this belief.
If you had a business that could benefit me financially, then you became a good friend. I was willing to look past a lot of things to get the financial security I so desired.
My motive was money/financial security. My value in relationships was based on money and my actions reflected that motive.
It took me on planes across America on weekends to speak at events. I created products and business offerings all based on how much money I’d potentially make. Giving it up as soon as the profits stopped.
Of course, I was generous with my money. Afterall, that’s what a good Christian does. I gave freely at my church (well over 10%). There were missionaries I supported, intercessors, you name it. My total view of ‘money solves all things’.
Well guess what happened. When the money went away so did my ‘friendships’. In business, in life and oh in case you were wondering, in the church.
Especially in the church.
As soon as I no longer had money to give freely, those relationships disappeared. No longer invited to play golf with the key members of the church staff. No more lunches. I remember when I needed some legal help financially. I called a so called ‘friend’ in the church and guess what he said.
“Geez, I feel for you that you are going through that, I’ll pray for you, but I don’t know anyone that can help you.”
I didn’t hear from that guy for another 18 months. A staff member and pastor no less.
My marriage was based on money. I figured if I just gave Sarah money each month. Enough to support the family and for her to get what she wanted, everything was going to be okay. Afterall, I was a Christian Husband. Providing for my family, my wife and making sure she was taken care of in the right manner.
Basically, I was an empty suit.
Now, life is much different. My goal is to have just a few relationships, but to go 20 miles deep. And here’s the funny thing. None of those relationships are found in traditional church, bible study or a life group.
I mean, if I have to go to a life group and ask you how things are going, then you aren’t much of a friend. A true friend would check in or text, or needle you throughout the week. (It’s what guys do ladies, it’s how we show ‘love’.)
Now my motive is deep relationships. With my wife, my kids, my friends. I value getting to know people in a deeper way. Not to fix em or study scripture together, but to just hang out. Walk through life together and if they want to share, great, if we talk football great.
It changes the way I look at my week. Now I take time to have longer lunches with friends. My business decisions are based on relationships, not money. I give of myself more freely with my time.
I’ll leave you with this example. A few weeks ago, I got an email from another successful online marketer. I’ve known of him for some time. We have a mutual friend.
He emailed me as he wanted to talk to me about a particular business model that I have a ton of experience in running and marketing.
He was willing to pay for my time. I thought about charging him $800 for two hours of my time.
Instead, I gave of my time freely. We got on the phone and just talked. No agenda, no nothing. Just two business owners talking about stuff.
At the end, a relationship was formed. I don’t know how deep it will go. But you never know. That is worth more than $400 bucks an hour.
When you work with people, are you honest and transparent? Do you give room for people to see who you really are?
Today’s businesses find all workers – from the janitor to the CEO walking around trying to hide their shame or guilt or whatever. If that prospect were to find out who you really are, he would never do business with your company. If that business partner knew about the cracks, they would choose another. And, you would be rejected.
No one wants to be rejected.
Never before have we had the opportunity to consult our clients with openness. Everyone today tries to pretend. So, those who are straight forward and honest will be seen as breath to a man trapped under water. We can bring darkness to the light and do business in transparency.
Your prospects and clients will be amazed. You will too when they choose to do business with you in spite of the cracks and breaks and because of your trustworthiness. People want to do business with people that they can trust.
Consult your heart. Do you tell the truth? Do you really tell the truth? Are you honest with yourself? Are you honest with the market?
If you can muster enough trust to be open and honest, you will be astonished at how much your business increases.
Many a man proclaims his own loyalty. But who can find a trustworthy man?
John Stein has 23 years business experience working with companies of all sizes and industries including Arthur Andersen (way before Enron), Prentice Hall Professional Software, CPA Systems and Escape Velocity Systems. His background includes various leadership roles in sales and marketing. Learn more about John and his company at elevate29.com