Great Relationships RequiredBY Steve Parker Jr. // CEO & Co-Founder
A broad perspective
This isn’t a subject taught in school and I’m not so sure it is taught by many parents from what I have experienced. Corporations also don’t focus much in this area, or if they do it is under the auspice of human resources and therefore it feels heavy. Yet so much of our lives depend on it. It being: great relationships.
I’m sharing my perspective on this to anyone that is generally interested in being successful at anything, our current Levelwing team (because a reminder of this is always useful) and any future Levelwing employees. Why? Because it is always good to know where expectations exist, and we all have them. To build great relationships, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, as well as needs and desires, are critical. Below I share a few thoughts and some resources along with my broad perspective on this topic. Broad because “Great Relationships” involve so much, things such as: care, consideration, benefit of doubt, disagreements, constructive conversations, integrity, support, accountability, and so much more… it’s not simple, it’s art. And great art is always complex, as are the artists.
Building Trust Requires Commitment
That said, we are all human and even if we are fully committed to being excellent in this area of relationships, we must be honest with ourselves first. We may slip at times, and that’s okay. In fact, if truly committed to building great relationships you will recognize the slip, take ownership and get right back on the train I’ll call ‘commitment.’ When you do, others will recognize it – they can’t help but to recognize it – because to them you will feel different than other people. This builds trust. Trust in building a great “anything” does not require perfection, only a true commitment. Just like any great artist screws up their art at times, it’s part of the artful process of creating – in this case creating great relationships. As the CEO & Co-Founder of Levelwing, I can assure you, our business truly centers on building great relationships. Yet, beyond work, living a successful and full life is fully dependent on it.
For most of my life and career I’ve been pretty blessed in relationships. I feel exceptionally fortunate for that. Many people, my parents included, have always said things to me like, “you have such good friends,” “you have such a great business,” “how do you get to know so many people?” and “how did you get to spend time with XYZ celebrity?” I always found those comments a bit odd to be honest. I never explored that much until 2013. Since then, I’ve spent an extraordinary amount of time on this topic. For the record, I’m not an relationship expert by any means. I do not hold a degree that would define me as a knowledge source on this subject. However, I am highly committed to this and I have a lifetime of experience that has worked exceptionally well in this area of my life – results that can be well documented. I am also keenly aware that my track record in this area is fairly unique, which is why I am always happy to discuss the subject of relationships with anyone interested.
I believe we are all born with talents that are uniquely suited to each of us and hopefully we all discover them at some point. However, we can all learn to improve our talents, and ourselves. One thing I truly feel – I was born with a talent that was the ability to build relationships. I have naturally facilitated this through my life. Designed in the makeup of my DNA, and likely taught, groomed and positively impacted by my parents and others over the years. However, even as a very young boy it was always a natural thought on my mind – how to connect with people. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t easy. It still requires a ton of focus and practice, just like a sport.
I’ll save you the personal stories for now because I’d rather share two resources I have spent a lot of time sitting with throughout the last few years. There are some fantastic takeaways if you spend some time in them. Yet, just because you read these doesn’t mean you are committed; that is proven over time and will take some true self-reflection.
The Bottom Line
In order for each of us to become great at relationships – we need to consider some of these ways of being. In fact, when we do, we need it to permeate to become an essence of who and what we are. And when this is achieved, we will feel it and so will everyone else because it will be unmistakable.
Ray Dalio is one of the most successful financial minds on the planet. He runs Bridgewater Associates. He says he owes much of his success to principles that have been created over many years. Many of these lead to the essence of human behavior and relationships. He has a book, titled Principles. To be honest, it’s a hard and heavy read. It’s a boat load of content. But it is so deep and impactful. Check the following link to skim through some of his writings in Principles, and you will understand the purpose of my sharing this.
Steven Pressfield is a prolific author. He’s written a number of non-fiction best-sellers, including The War of Art, Do the Work, and Turning Pro. And he’s also written a number of best-selling works of fiction, including: Gates of Fire, and The Legend of Bagger Vance, the latter was made into a film directed by Robert Redford and starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Matt Damon.
Turning Pro is the default book in my arsenal. It is a very short and easy read. I feel it to be extremely relatable while being immensely confrontational. His thinking, his writing, his perspective – it’s all so beautiful. It should wake you up to the source of your true self. If it doesn’t, then you are still asleep at the wheel. In short, Turning Pro is about giving up what’s been holding you back, the cost and demands required to get you where you should be and the joy of arriving. Make no mistake this book is pure blood in the veins of great relationships, including the one you have with yourself. I re-read this book a few times each year and I have purchased and given away at least 100 copies the last few years.