Over and over again, we hear about the importance of having connections to get ahead in business and in life. "It's not what you know, it's who know" as the famous saying goes. While people repeat this all the time, it questions the meaning behind relationships. Do we make connections because we like the person's work and ideals, or because we think they can help us?
To help me find the answer, I caught up with Sar Haribhakti, Founder of Lapiz Lazooli, a Forthcoming Author, and a grateful relationship nurturer. Currently, Haribhakti is authoring a book centered on the personal stories of highly successful millennials who have become tremendously serendipitous by building sincere relationships with a diverse set of people.
From our conversation, Haribhakti gave me free awesome tips on the right mindset for surrounding yourself with a trusted group of mentors, peers and weak ties. Here are the 3 main takeaways from our conversation.
1. Focus on what is guaranteed
"Networking, in its most conventional sense, has tarnished the very essence of relationship-building process and its impact on our lives. I am not an expert networker." says Haribhakti. He does not go out and try to have thousands of people in his network to cash in favours for himself. Instead of worrying about how to leverage new relationships, he focuses on cultivating strong friendships and mentoring relations, which produce much better returns long-term.
To build a strong network, as Haribhakti puts it, your mindset should be focused on initiating relationships with authenticity and generosity. People always tend to capitalize on what they think the other person might be offer them for achieving their personal goals, growing their businesses, or get an introduction to an influential person. He thinks what most people fail to realize is that every human has an innate desire of being appreciated and valued.
There are two ways of going about building a connection with someone utilizing our innate trait. One is you pretend to appreciate their work to get what you want. This almost always backfires. The other way is that you genuinely become interested in their lives, work, goals or ideals. This plants seeds for a lasting relationship. That is exactly how Haribhakti got in touch with me.
2. Be invested in your relationships
In order to become serendipitous, one needs to invest time, energy and most importantly, sincerity, in anyone and everyone you meet with, chat online or talk to. For Haribhakti, having this mindset allowed him to get connected to Guy Kawasaki, Adam Grant, Arianna Huffington, and several others. Haribhakti shares his experience with chucking cold emails and drafting warm, well-researched emails here.
3. Throw personal agendas out the window
When you truthfully care more about the person rather than what they can provide, people will help you in ways that you had never expected or imagined. This makes the relationship-building process fun and you get surprised every step of the way as your relationships grow. This can only happen if you do not establish relationships with anyone with a pre-set agenda in mind. Having this quick change of mindset can make surprising differences in your charisma and warmth.
Everyone, regardless of their success, position or power, appreciates kindness and assistance. Be the one that takes interest in people for who they are and what they believe in. Be the odd person out who reaches out to someone to make his or her life simpler. "Be entrepreneurial in your relationship-building process. Create opportunities for yourself by doing things that don’t scale for people you want to hit it off with" says Haribhakti.