When I was a very young man I was convinced that knowledge was the key to success. I was sure that it was “what you know” that was really important. So, I worked very hard in school. I really felt like learning was the key. If I could just learn as much as possible and gain experience along the way, I would surely be very successful. I was very driven and serious about school and also soaked in as much practical knowledge as possible. I was absolutely sure that this was the key. Learn and gain experience and this will be the pathway to success.
Once I finished college and had my initial experiences in the career world, I changed my viewpoint. I could see the value in networking and knowing the right people. I was sure that it was “who you know” that was really the key. In order to excel in this area I worked hard to network and get to know as many people as possible. I would join associations, meet and greet, and collect and organize business cards. I watched as some of my friend’s careers skyrocketed because they simply knew the “right” people. I was convinced that if I could just meet more people that this would be the catalyst for my pursuit of success. Not “what you know” but “who you know” was the important component to success.
As I have matured, I have once again changed my view on this subject. I don’t believe that the key is either of my earlier conclusions. Although knowledge and networking are valuable and necessary at least on some level, I feel like there is one key that is even more important. Much more important. I now believe it is “how you know” someone.
Not “what you know” or “who you know” but- “how you know”.
This may sound strange and certainly deserves explanation. I truly believe that the key to success in life is the depth of your relationships and your ability to really connect with someone. Not volume of relationships, but depth. This is tough for those of us who want big. We want to make the huge numerical impact. We want the big following, the big audience, the big appearances. We are planners and producers. We need numbers to think that we have made an impact. We want the stage.
But really, the important number is ONE. You must learn to be satisfied to impact and connect with one person at a time, and, one-on-one is the best way. You must value that one person the same way that God does. What is the value of one soul? Infinite value- can’t be measured. Priceless- just like the credit card commercial. The same is true when you deal with everyday people. Take it down to the true reality. No matter who they are- they are priceless.
The homeless man, the President, the co-worker, the sibling, the mechanic, the boss, the grocery store clerk, the landscaper- the ungrateful, the arrogant, the depressed, the unlovely.
So how will this make you successful? I have watched people that understand the priceless value of a person in every walk and responsibility. Successful sales people get it. Great managers get it. Good parents get it. Great friends get it. They give you their 100% attention. They are not afraid to show their heart. They will go above and beyond to help you- not to help the situation or themselves- but to help you personally. They make you feel like you are worth a million bucks (make sense now?). These folks get it. And they are generally wildly successful. They draw a following. They are always in demand. They use this skill daily and are masters of connection. One person at a time!
So what are you going to do about it? I am sharing this because I struggle in this area- I am a big net guy. So, this has not been my strength, but I am working on it. I have personally witnessed the power that is available to anyone willing to open up and take the chance. Are you ready? Will you take the time to deepen your relationships in order to unlock this power? Go ahead, get started- because now you have the key!