Have you ever had a friend or acquaintance that you believed always had your best interests at heart? Did you trust that person with all your deepest secrets and dreams? Did you both help each other when you could, and were you both there when the other person needed a shoulder to cry on or an ear to just listen? Were you each other’s confidant and confessor? Did either of you ever doubt the other’s intention or dedication?
Sounds like the best of all worlds. Sounds like a great partner in business, but also in life, doesn’t it? This person actually had your life’s best at heart and really cared if you stumbled or succeeded. This was the greatest definition of a networking partner, not just in business but also in your personal life. You were comfortable, appreciative, and always had the other person’s best in your advice, caring, actions, and thoughts. You tried to support them as they did.
You never failed to take their phone call, and you always answered their emails. You shared their dreams, fears, and plans, just as they did yours. Maybe you knew each other over the span of decades, not just years; maybe you were acquaintances for only a short time. You were “there” for each other when the time meant that one of you needed someone. You always knew that you had someone to reach out to when you had to do so.
Then one day, you discovered that this friend, this partner in business or your personal lives, was keeping score of all that took place between the two of you. This person was tallying up what they did versus what you did for each other. This person was upset when the score seemed to be unbalanced in your favor. If you asked for them to remember something that you did for them, they rebuked you saying that they “didn’t ask you to do it”, acting like you only operated out of pity.
This person who you trusted more than most people in your life reminded you of all that they had done for you, not understanding that sometimes you may have not wanted or needed their actions. Just because they wanted you to engage in some action, you do have your own life to lead, for better or worse. Suddenly you discovered that this person was jealous of your success in some area or envious of what you had accomplished. Your past relationship no longer mattered; the tally was unbalanced in their eyes and mind.
I was told once that marriage, like friendships, is 50/50. I do not believe that this is true. I believe that marriage, friendships, and networking partnerships are 100/100. It doesn’t matter who in the relationship needs something. When, the other person must be “there”, they should be “there”. Sometimes one person is strong; sometimes it is the other. No one ever keeps score. That is the practice that makes relationships succeed and partnerships prosper for both parties.
You may not believe that your networking partners are as close as your marriage partner, or your significant other, but they can have the same level of impact on your life. Make sure that the impact that you have on your partners is positive and meaningful in the best manner. Never prejudge anyone before you get to know them, never hold grudges, and never, ever keep score. Leave that to karma; she can be the best score keeper there is. You have better things to do in your life.
Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Remember your networking partners need your support, your advice, and your ear and shoulder. Be there for them, and they will be there for you. Do not be afraid to reach out to them for help, but also reach out to them to help if they need you. A great partner will provide advice without being asked for it and will never keep score.