Culver is a 24 year old entrepreneur living in central Denver. He has a passion for free enterprise that nearly rivals his love for the outdoors. When he's not out working on building his business, Culver can be found rock climbing, snowboarding, building cars, or supporting his friends at the crags or racetracks. He dreams of sponsoring and his own motorsports team and traveling the world to climb and race in exotic locations, while sharing what he has learned over the years about the power of positivity and attitude.
“Your success in any endeavor will be directly proportional to your ability and willingness to connect with and relate to people.”
When a mentor of mine first explained this to me, it was as if a light flipped on inside my head. I had flashbacks of jobs that I landed simply because I knew someone working at the company I was applying at, and opportunities that were only presented due to an offhand comment about something I noticed I had in common with a random person. This may seem like common sense, something so obvious that it shouldn't need to be discussed, but unfortunately it seems that many ambitious people today don't take this to heart.
In this age of picture-sharing, constant status updates, and the ability to know a substantial amount about someone from a quick glance through their social media, its easy to get caught up in the search for how our identity differs from others as we do our best to stand out from the crowd. This is important, because to be successful we have to have something to offer that others may not be able to. At the same time, we have to be able to bridge the gap between worlds and decrease the tension that comes with developing a new relationship.
Whether you are trying to develop a new business relationship or convert an acquaintance into a new friend, it's important to note that this connection must be genuine. In business settings, it is so easy to look past the person in front of you and try and see what they might be able to bring you or do for you, but this usually will irreparably damage the relationship before it ever begins, and nullify anything good that may come out of it. People sense when they are being involuntarily scouted, and it usually creates a knee-jerk reaction against any further contact. It is much better to learn about a person and why they are doing what they are doing. Learn what they are passionate about, and what interests them!
Lets look at an example. Jerry is a business owner, and is extremely excited about networking and building his business. He sees a sharp looking person at a coffee shop, Dave, and immediately starts imagining all of the wonderful things that could come from a relationship with such a person. Jerry jumps into a full on, scripted assault about what he is doing and why Dave should come on board.
This interaction is off-putting, unexpected, and overwhelming, because Dave was just minding his own business, trying to get some work done, and not interested in adding more to his plate. Little did Jerry know, they both enjoyed mountain biking and rock climbing, and actually had a lot in common. Had he gotten to know Dave and developed a friendship, Dave could have connected him to some of his sharp friends that are looking for what Jerry has to offer. Not only did Jerry miss out on an awesome adventure partner, but he missed out on some big opportunities to develop his business through the power of networking.
The point is that you have to be interested in, and genuinely fascinated by the people you interact with. Obviously different industries require different skills and relationships, but if you take this principle to heart, look for opportunities to connect with people, and truly appreciate them for who they are rather than a means to an end, you will find yourself surrounded by great people as well as professional success.
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