In 2010, I attended a burial of a rich man. He was someone I knew quite well because he lived in my neighbourhood. In my community we know pretty much everything about each other (so I thought)
Mr. T was quite popular (I thought he was) people seemed to hang around him a lot, he was particularly good with the ladies( from my observation) even though he was married(I heard he was) and had children (I’m sure he did). He also had a successful business (so they say) and an active social life(so it seemed)
So I was very sure that his funeral service will be packed with people , all eager to sing his praise for haven touched their lives one way or the other. But to my surprise, I saw only a few people present on the day of his interment, and none of those ladies I used to see around him were there. I saw only a friend of his who it appeared couldn’t wait to leave for he disappeared even before the programme was over. His immediate family were present but not all his kids were in attendance, no employees or staffs showed up and I was quite puzzled by this show of coldness towards this man who I thought I knew well but didn’t
About two years ago, I was chosen to be honoured in church. I was excited, hopeful that I would have the support of friends and family who I guessed would be in attendance. I invited everyone I could reach and was excited on the day of the event.
On that day, only my immediate family members turned up and just one friend who I always had disputes with. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement, and while I was lamenting about the situation my sister told me to work harder on building relationships
I didn’t think much of her advice but I moved on and learned an important lesson, I had to build relationships and make people want to go the extra mile for me, not just because I needed them to turn up at my events but I want to have people around me who are willing to even inconvenience themselves for my sake. Why? You might wonder, it’s because if no one is willing to make sacrifices for me, I can’t make them grant me favors which I will need to move up from where I am.
“One of the challenges in networking is everybody thinks it’s making cold calks to strangers. Actually, it’s the people who already have strong trust relationships with you, who know you’re dedicated, smart, a team player, who can help you (Reid Hoffman)
Recently, I organised an event. Everything was well planned and as usual invitations were sent out. Many people who I invited showed up, in fact those who I didn’t invite still turned up for it. It was a really successful programme and I was happy about the turn out. They left other important affairs they had to honor my invitation!
It’s been two years since I hosted the last event which was a total flop, and the present one which showed me how much I was loved. What did I do differently to get people eager to identify with me? How was I able to change my previous story?
I learned to make everyone feel valued. I realized that I wasn’t letting people know how important they were to me, I had assumed they knew already but I was wrong, I had to tell them but not just that, I had to show them by actions too. I learned to be myself and to show people who I was. Some people are good at detecting falsehood and when you are acting or pretending, they know. I learned to enjoy people more, how did I achieve this? By letting love flow freely from me. I learned to consider people’s feelings by becoming more tactful so people don’t end up hurting because of me.
Mr. T, lived a long life and made many mistakes but I doubt he spent time learning from them. Material wealth makes life pleasurable to an extent but what ensures lasting wealth, is knowing that you’ve lived and loved as much as you could and receiving what you give back is something so valuable that it does make one feel rich
“Cherish your human connections: your relationships with friends and family” (Joseph Brodsky)
“The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection” (Robin S. Sharma)