Success Advice from a Country Song
Relationship building may be the most important of the success competencies. No one can do it alone. If you want to create a successful life and career you need to learn how to build and maintain strong relationships. Period. I am in North Carolina as I am writing this post. I am doing a talk for the local National Association of Women Business Owners today. As I was driving to my hotel the other evening, I was listening to a country radio station. I don't listen to much country as I'm a rock and roller. However, I find that when I listen to country music I enjoy it. As I was driving, a song came on that had a great line about relationship building. I might not have it exactly right, and I don't know the name of the song, but the line went something like this...
"I'll start walking your way, and you start walking mine. We'll meet in the middle under that old Georgia pine."
Regardless of the name of the song or who sings it, there is an important message here about relationship building -- you have to move towards other people if you want to build relationships with them.
Sometimes you need to go further than the middle to build relationships. I always advise my coaching clients to take 100%, not 50%, of the responsibility for building relationships. While that Georgia pine may be in the middle, successful people know that sometimes that have to go beyond it to build a successful relationship.
And, there's another point -- the lyrics say, "I'll start walking your way..." This is important; don't be afraid to go first when it comes to building relationships. When you start walking toward others, they are more likely to start walking towards you. In other words, go first. Extend yourself. Several years ago, I had a friend who was quite formal in his manner. He used to say, "I don't speak to people to whom I haven't been introduced." This might be great in Victorian society, but it won't help you create the successful life and career you want and deserve.
Go first; don't be afraid to introduce yourself to others. Put yourself out there. Say hello. Do something nice for someone else. That's how to build relationships. I suggest that while there is nothing wrong in returning a favor, the power lies in extending yourself by offering the first favor -- taking the first step toward the other person and being willing to go beyond the pine to make the relationship work.
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are competent. Relationship building is a key success competency. If you want to build strong relationships with the important people in your life, you need to extend yourself. You need to take the first step towards other people, and you need to be willing to go beyond half way. When you're willing to go first and willing to go beyond half way you demonstrate that you sincerely want to create and nurture a relationship with the other person. Relationships are everything when it comes to success. Do whatever it takes to build and maintain them. Start walking towards others. Don't stop until you've connected and built a relationship.