Last week, in the first part of this review, we introduced the concept of a VIP lifestyle and defined what this means. We also learned how to set boundaries so others don’t push you around and how to promote yourself in a powerful way.
Building Strategic Relationships with People
“Socialising is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Get out there, meet people, make conversations and build powerful relationships. Add some focus on improvement to the equation and your social style will be smooth and powerful.”
“Relationships can, and do, make all the difference in the world when creating your extraordinary lifestyle,” Ezeanu writes. This happens on two levels. Firstly, on the “social emotional ground”, amazing people in your social circle accept and respect you for who you are. Secondly, on the “practical business ground”, a professional network helps build trust and grow your career.
The goal is not to desperately build relationships with all people all the time; it’s about building them with those who are right for you. This requires conscious thought so you don’t end up with wrong relationships that develop by default: “If you want more than just some people to kill some time with, if instead you want meaningful interactions with others and powerful business partnerships, then you need to put some strategy into it.”
This doesn’t mean every interaction must be rigidly planned in advance: “Building strategic relationships doesn’t mean that you no longer socialise by impulse or that you no longer interact with whoever you simply enjoy interacting [with] naturally. This is also a big part of good relationships. Still, what strategy implies is that you simply add a long-term, consciously planned, component to your natural way of interacting.”
Start by defining the qualities you’re looking for in others as well as why these qualities matter. Then spend some time considering what traits you’ll need to develop in yourself. Once you’ve brainstormed ideas of where you can find ideal people, go out and meet them.
Don’t be afraid to make the first move in a conversation with a stranger, especially by using common ground as a starting point. But whatever you do, don’t yap away: “This does not mean to talk non-stop about yourself, to brag as much as possible or to pour your heart out 30 seconds after you’ve met a person. Just like initiating a conversation, talking about yourself does require some social calibration. But, if you integrate this in your conversational style, you will develop an impressive way of expressing yourself.” As with most things, balance is best.
“It’s crucial that you get this strong sense of entitlement. This sense that you deserve a rich, happy and meaningful life, that you deserve an extraordinary lifestyle.”
VIP Lifestyle is a great little book full of practical advice. The emphasis that relationships are important is in line with the principles of emotional intelligence and the observation that the most successful people in life aren’t always the smartest or the most talented but the ones who get along best with everyone else.
The book focuses heavily on building your self-worth. That’s great when you consider that almost all problems in life (at least according to Gary Zukav) are caused by the fear we aren’t enough. Sometimes the cynically sarcastic tone and all the talk of ‘entitlement’ can make it seem as though you should be Machiavellian about it but that’s not (entirely) what Ezeanu means.
There were three ideas I strongly connected with:
- Define what characteristics you want out of other people so you don’t simply build relationships by default. It’s a lot like I wrote about in Work in Progress and one of the things I’ve consciously been doing since doing Get the Edge. You need to know exactly what you want before you have any chance of getting it.
- Sell yourself in the best possible way by focusing on the benefits for other people. After going to a recent networking event and struggling to succinctly explain exactly what I do, I decided to update my page of services. The elevator pitch now makes it clear what I offer and why this is exactly what other people need. I also included some testimonials to act as social proof.
- Make an effort. Relationships take time and energy. That makes it so easy to put them aside when the rest of your life gets in the way. It’s something I’ve been guilty of for too long, which is why I’m happy to be making an effort at polite chitchat with strangers in the grocery store or at the gym. Sometimes people won’t respond (I still believe silence, even the ‘awkward’ kind, is golden). Other times they’ll open up too much (a great chance for me to practise active listening). In either case, making the effort is worthwhile because you’ll never know what or who is out there unless you try.
If you enjoyed this post, please remember to Like, Tweet, and Share it using the links at the top or bottom of the page. And remember to subscribe to free alerts or follow me on Twitter to be notified when the next review is released. For more on the subject, download a free copy of Social Intelligence – 6 Steps to Relationship Success.