Everybody wants connections. That’s literally the most competitive thing someone could ever ask for. There are millions of people who are looking to rub shoulders with the wealthy, influential, and powerful. Do you know what sets people apart and open doors for them? It’s a reputation for creating massive value. A reputation that only comes from building an awesome track record for serving others and getting things done.
The greatest networking tool is the substance and skill we bring to our interactions with people.
People invest in character and momentum. They don’t just care about how big someone’s imagination is or how heartfelt a person’s passion is. They care about a person’s ability to stick with things, put up with things, go through things, and get things done. When investors look at start-ups for instance, they care as much about the character of the founders as they do about the creative ideas.
I say all this as someone who ran a failed tech startup and who spent years getting in front of rich people who had the power to make my dreams come true. I know what it’s like to pitch my dreams to the very people I grew up watching on TV. I know what it’s like to have coffee with people who could have changed my life with one check. The experience is overrated. It makes for good stories and interesting speeches, but it really doesn’t mean much beyond that. Having impressive-sounding connections isn’t the magic bullet it’s chalked up to be. If you strive to be a person of substance and skill, you’ll get the connections and they’ll beg to be a part of the interesting work you’re doing. If you lack substance and skill, the connections won’t matter.
Children are often told “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” To that I add, “It’s not who you know, it’s the value you bring to the relationship.”
Teaching your children how to add value to their relationships is the greatest gift you can give your child.
Young people are always asking me how they can get their foot in the door. Here’s the secret that entrepreneurs know: The best way to get your foot in the door is by becoming a genius at opening it for others