Recently I overheard someone say to another business colleague, “This isn’t about a relationship, per se. This is just a deal – we need to close the deal! We can’t lose the vision of where we are heading; these personal relationships and encounters are becoming a distraction. It is not about any relationship. Keep your eye on the prize.”
As I listened, I experienced what I can only describe as a visceral reaction. One belief I hold most ardently, is that in life and business it is all about the relationship.
Life is made up of thousands of incidental interactions; as well as what I would call “main stage” relationships. In fact I wrote a book last year about the value and magic of the incidental random encounter in our lives.
Often our relationships teach without deliberate intention; they simply teach through living their lives, their authenticity, and their presence. We are all part of a collective, integral experience in life. Life is absolutely meant to be shared; relationships are the marrow of life. They are not distractions nor are they deniable or dispensable.
Sure, we argue and may disagree with others. We negotiate with others. We compete with other individuals and companies for business and market share. We make hard choices in business, which invariably involve other people. Yet, we are meant to work with and learn from others. Building lasting relationships anchored in trust and respect is not mutually exclusive to winning business and making money. When we lose sight of this, for any reason – quest of wealth, status, power or due to envy, competitiveness, fear, or simple lack of integrity – we have purely and completely lost the plot. It is not, and never will be, solely about The Deal. We are here in “earth school” to teach, to learn, to contribute, and to love. Period.