You are what you eat. You are what your contact list looks like.
Relationships cultivated in college, through family relationships, community connections, professional events, and just sheer luck can change the trajectory of your life.
Unfortunately, many people are afraid to connect with others. They don’t want people to know who they really are or feel like they don’t belong. Ever heard of fake it till you make it? A power mantra used by some of the business gurus of our time–Napoleon Hill, and yes, Donald Trump.
If you’re starting from scratch, or just doing inventory on your relationships, here’s what you need. In your circle, there should be at least one of each:
- Someone who can give you something–money, contacts, power
- Someone who can influence someone else in your favor for that right job, situation, home, promotion, etc.
- Someone who can provide a solution to a crisis that can save your name or life
- Someone who can enhance your credibility such as when they are with you, you shine twice as bright
- Someone who can motivate and direct you through spiritual guidance
- Someone who can vouch for your honor and get your butt out of trouble (and your mama doesn’t count)
These people shouldn’t be anyone in your family, but relationships you’ve created from scratch. It shows your resourcefulness and resilience to build your life the way you want it to be, not by default. If you are lacking in any of these relationships, start fixing that now. Put yourself out there and be seen. Dare to raise the bar. Scare yourself a little. Reach out to that person you met at the networking event months ago. Who cares if they don’t remember you. Make them. Always leave an impression.
Pay attention to the language of the article excerpt below from the Huffington Post about former White House Social Secretary Desirée Rogers. Words like “friend,” “intimate,” “close,” and “contacts” mean something:
This appointment sends a strong message that the Obamas want to use the White House strategically, to maximize its use in a way that is consistent with their philosophy — [to] open it to a broader range of people, ” said Valerie Jarrett, an Obama intimate and friend of Rogers’s who also will work in the White House. “Desirée is a heavy hitter — she comes with her own range of contacts from around the country. She’s close to Michelle and she knows everyone who will be working in the West Wing, so she will be able to create a synergy.”
If you missed the Ivy League or college internships to get a head start, you can simply find conferences and events in your area that cater to your goals.
You need relationships. Not just the ones to keep you warm at night.