You are what you eat. You are what your contact list looks like. You are who you know. A concept that is rather unusual to some people who compare knowing folks to having “friends”. Everyone you know doesn’t have to be your friend. They just have to be adding to your net-worth.
What I mean is this: 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 and interests
- Someone who can enhance your credibility such as when they are with you, you shine twice as bright
- Someone who can motivate and redirect you through the proper words or spiritual guidance
- Someone who can vouch for your honor and get your arse out of trouble (and your mama doesn’t count)
They shouldn’t be anyone in your family, but new people you draw in. If you are lacking in any of these relationships you are stagnant. It’s a perfect opportunity to fill in that gap–NOW. 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.
Next, pay attention to the language of the article excerpt below from the Huffington Post about White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. Words like “friend”, “intimate”, “close”, “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.”
The list above is just a starting point. There’s more. But all of them are so valuable no amount of money can be placed on it. These are relationships cultivated in college, through family relationships, community connections, professional events, and just sheer luck. For instance, college internships are never about the experience as much as they are about the contacts. Better believe, all of these new faces in the Obama administration are not from the local career fair, they are from relationships cultivated years ago, from one person to the next. Success breeds success.
Unfortunately, many people are afraid to connect with others for fear of being seen and heard. They don’t want people to know who they really are and that perhaps they don’t have the cache to roll with them. Ever heard of fake it till you make it? A power mantra used by some of the business gurus of our time–Napolean Hill, and yes, Donald Trump.
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. Some may argue that this is simply brown-nosing or using others to make your way.
You need relationships, not just the ones to keep you warm at night. Not the cash to spend on the yacht. But if you know someone with the yacht, who can invite you on it for an evening and introduce you to the folks who can show you how to make the money and buy your own yacht, that’s way better, that’s an alphanista moment.