Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Upfront Connecting

If you've heard me say it once you've heard me say it a thousand times.... People come into your life for a very specific reason. It's your job to figure out why.

It is my strong belief that people don't necessarily know how to guide, direct and cultivate a new connection that has come into their life; much less build a real relationship with that person.

That's okay. I didn't either.

The fact of the matter is. Honesty works. People respect you when you tell them what's on your mind. The appreciate you sharing what you hope to accomplish and gain by knowing them and having them in your life. The frankness of your desired wish to build something (friendship, business relationship, knowledge, etc.) is something that I believe most people would appreciate hearing from you. Heck the honesty is such a welcomed change from what they probably normally encounter they will welcome the openness of your gesture.

Here's the scenario. I met Kevin a brilliant lawyer and a budding author. He and I met for coffee after it was suggested we might have a lot in common personally and professionally by a mutual friend. So we met for coffee and instantly hit it off. In fact we found so many areas of compatibility that our initial hour coffee meeting lasted much longer.

There was no doubt I could use Kevin to further my business. There was no doubt he saw great potential in what I offered to enhance his new venture. We were compatible in a number of ways and to say the business energy between us was excitedly explosive would be an understatement.

I've been down this road a number of times. The initial meeting goes gangbusters. We both walk away jazzed and committed to take some adventurous next action. Then it happens....we both get back to our office. There are voice mails waiting for us. The email has filled up again. People are needing our attention on this or that. Suddenly the excitement and motivation to get to that next step with Kevin looks impossible. It becomes easy to put off that next action until next month.

But next month turns into next quarter. Next quarter turns into next year. You get the picture right?

Building a relationship of any kind takes time, energy, commitment and the right kind of priority. We've all likely experienced a relationship that had all the potential in the world but it somehow died on the vine. Don't let it happen.

If you are upfront with the people you connect with and you sense that they are someone you should and need to explore building a relationship with then DO IT! Make the time to keep connecting. Prioritize fitting them into your schedule regularly. Each interaction, each meeting is an opportunity to further cultivate the seeds of the potential relationship.

Share with them why you are excited to explore why they have come into your life. Tell them why you want to stay connected and why you want to make building a relationship with them a priority. Your upfront honesty and commitment to getting to know them both as a person and as a professional will undoubtedly surprise and impress them.

People come into our life for a very specific reason. It's your job to find out why. We never reach the why without making the necessary effort. Part of the effort comes from within and part comes from being upfront and sincere with the people you meet.

I was able to be honest and upfront with Kevin and because I was we have both been able to prioritize the time we needed to invest in exploring exactly why we've entered each other's life. There is no doubt we will do a lot of business together at some point in the future but right now we're discovering how great of friends we are destined to be first. Something our mutual friend sensed from the beginning.

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