Business & Careers

How to Build Authentic Relationships that Nurture Your Net Worth

BY Ashley Girard

two lands with blue sleeve linking pinkies and building authentic relationships

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Some people look at personal and professional networks as different, definitive lines. Church and state. But in today’s time, when the lines of 9-5 are blurred with always-on technology and accessibility, it's critical to remember there is no work/life balance, just life. And with that, learning to build authentic relationships is essential.

What is true though, is that you are the company you keep – and what you get in the world is a direct byproduct of what you put out.

Here’s the thing. If you can build more meaningful, authentic relationships, you will get so much more out of ALL of your relationships. Your network will be off the charts. Your net worth will increase.

So you wanna be rich? Put out that big energy. What does wealth/wellth look like to YOU?

If you can cultivate authentic, meaningful relationships that raise other people up around you, you will rise, too.

Water attracts its own levels, so if you set the bar low … what do you expect?

This article will provide real-life examples and actionable tips on how to create (and maintain) meaningful relationships, effectively increasing your net worth.

Networking is NOT Working.

Can we all agree to stop using network as a verb? As in “you’re networking.” It’s selfish. It's inauthentic. And it’s not working.

“I hate to even refer to those around me as my ‘network,’” states Kelley Henry, Global Executive Director of SoGal Foundation. “To me, a ‘network’ implies inauthenticity and ‘using’ people around you, when the most valuable networking actually comes from real, honest, authentic relationships.”

1. Root Your Relationships in Authenticity. 

Kelley shares, “since I lead SoGal Foundation, it is important to me that we foster a community of ‘real talk’ that our Chapter Leads (the best and brightest women each local chapter has to offer) facilitate. That way we can understand local challenges (or opportunities!) better as a whole, as well as provide them with the support they need to be set up for success.

Especially in the startup ecosystem, the line between friend/peer/colleague can get very blurry, so it's important to me to be a positive, encouraging force and elevate those around me, just as they do for me!

Kelly Henry speaking about building authentic relationships

Kelly Henry

“Sharing an authentic point of view – with the same, positive intent – helps us all better achieve our goals.”

Make a Strong First Impression.

Helene Servillon, a partner at JourneyOne, suggests that “when chatting with someone, try to get present to this:

  1. What is something unique or complimentary you learned from your convo?
  2. Tell them!
  3. Acknowledgement is powerful and creates a meaningful foundation.

Helene reiterates that, “it's more important to get to know who someone is vs focus on learning about what they do, because people change jobs all the time, and jobs themselves evolve all of the time.”

On average, people shift jobs every 3.2 years. And, employee referrals make up 45%+ of all internal hires(!) according to SHRM.org.

The tides are always changing. And you can’t control the ocean, just learn how to surf the waves.

The Cream Always Rises to the Top.

“I was always personally attracted to entertainment and creative-based companies,” Guy Genis, Founder and CEO, Eventmakers, shares.

“As a result, I had a few clients in the video game industry. I found myself in a position where work never felt like “work.” I believe it all blends together, and that is part of the success equation.”

man in black shirt holding electric guitar

Guy Genis

“For example, I occasionally have #tequilafridays at my house – where I invite friends, clients, guests. I want to LIKE my clients, and I wouldn’t invite people into my home I didn’t genuinely enjoy their company. Or sometimes we love to spend our Sundays dedicated to golf. Whatever activities you and your circle share interests in.”

“At one point, unfortunately, one of the major companies went bankrupt. However, my internal networks of contacts at one company landed at six different publishers. Due to my personal, authenic relationships, I was able to get introductions to the businesses. Based on my track record of performance, I was able to close the deals. It is so important to be impeccable with your word so that your community has confidence to consider you (either personally or professionally).”

2. Obey The Law of Reciprocity.

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You

“I genuinely love to connect people,” says Katie Clifford, Manager Field Marketing, O.C. Tanner.

“I have found that ‘networking’ is a cheesy word – and people do it wrong all of the time – but it's been my lifeline for the past 24 years professionally.”  

“My whole life – my job, the places I’ve lived – always have had to do with tapping into my personal community (or them reaching out to me). It’s allowed me the opportunity to work at mega brands and organizations like PUMA, the US Olympics and The North Face.”

This approach has also enabled Katie to pay it forward.

“It's important to me that I also take the time to be willing to connect people, offer them opportunities. Being in any community, whether work, church or friends, involves being generous and authentic with your own connections and time.”

blonde woman smiling at camera

Katie Clifford

“A friend had posted on Facebook that a young woman was looking for professional advice. I spoke with her to better understand her – her personality, professional goals and personal interests. I offered her my LinkedIn account and that I would intro her to anyone that she thought would be a good fit. Within 2 days, she took me up on it.”

“She made a detailed list, and I happily provided her with introductions, that were personal based on our conversation, and my relationship with the individual. She followed up with them, gave some really great, personal gifts based on their conversation. And she ended up getting a job through one of these introductions. The employer won. The new employee won. We all win.”

3. Know that All Relationships Take Effort.

Start Small.

Kelley shares, “Go to ONE event and talk to ONE person who also may be alone or a little shy or introverted. You don't need to meet everyone in the room, and starting with small wins is way better than not pushing yourself out of your comfort zone at all!.”

Katie echoes the same sentiment.

“I am 42 years old – and can still be awkward when I enter a party where I don’t know anyone (and sometimes I want to run right to the bathroom and play on my phone!) But, I remember that almost everyone is a LITTLE apprehensive about meeting new people.”

“Just start asking questions and have a genuine interest in the person. People generally feel comfortable speaking about themselves. And this gives you the opportunity to find a common bond and build authentic relationships!”

“I remember this one work trip I was meeting a super chic Editor from LA at Tao in Los Vegas, and I was working at a not-so-sexy footwear company. I remember feeling the conversation a little awkward at first.”

“Then somehow, we ended up talking about church – and we connected as women from the Midwest. From there, we found a lot of commonalities. And this leveled (what I thought to be), the playing field.”

“I am so glad that we stuck through that conversation – I wanted to bail initially – and we’re still in contact to this day!”

Build Connection ARCs (Acknowledgement, Relatability, Curiosity)

If you want to create meaningful connections with people around you, that means having active conversations.

brunette woman professional headshot on white background

Helene Servillon

Helene shares these easy-to-remember connection ARC for your communication considerations:

  • Acknowledgement – what does your conversation with someone say about them? 
  • Relatability – build bridges between their experience and yours so there are points of recognition.
  • Curiosity – Seek to understand, and assume positive intent. Discover one's interests, motivations and incentives. 
* Bonus Tip * My favorite neutralizer or ice-breaker: What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

4. Authenticity Allows for Persistency. 

When you are an authentic person, you can be committed in your cause.

Guy recalls a direct trajectory to his present-day success: “My first female acting partner that I would go to auditions with also happened to own a Mcdonalds. She knew that I wanted to get into Event planning in a larger capacity and told me that I’d be crazy not to contact the Woodland Hills location for their events.”

“Initially, I was cold, cold, cold calling, but I ended up closing a holiday party for 1,000 guests. From that initial warm call – fast forward to 20 years – and now we’re doing all of the Mcdonalds owner-operated events. Because it was a warm call – i could keep following up, and use her name – she was credible. Because of my performance/results at the holiday party, I was able to scale my business to the size it is today.”

Cultivate Lasting Relationships: Emphasis on SOCIAL Media

“If you have genuine interest, it's pretty easy to be attentive,” shares Katie.

One of the great things about social media, is that there are so many ways to tell what is going on with people. I am pretty vigilant about reaching out when I see these moments.

“We always think everyone has such a vibrant network of friends – but a lot of people don’t have a big network cheering them on. And I like to think I am part of that community for people.”

For good times and bad times

I'll be on your side forever more

That's what friends are for

– Dionne Warwick

5. Additional Considerations for Authentic Relationships

Eagles Fly With Eagles.

There is a thought that you are the energy of the 5 people you engage with most. This could be at work and in your personal life. Literally, time spent together.

Who are they? Do they reflect the best you you want to be?

Reason, Season or Lifetime.

Remember, sometimes people are in your life just for a reason, season or a lifetime. Not everyone in your community needs to stay with you forever.

Maybe they served a temporary purpose.

And you’re likely no longer that same person.

And lastly, make sure everyone in your circle elevates you 😀

How do you build and maintain your community? What struggles do you have for building authentic relationships?

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