By Bob Burg
Law #3, The Law of Influence, from John David Mann’s and my book, The Go-Giver, says that “Your influence is directly proportional to how abundantly you place other people’s interest first. Please understand, from being self-sacrificial, it’s actually the key to building successful business and personal relationships.
Recently, I cam across the following quote from one of my heroes, High Point University President, Dr. Nido Qubein:
“People who invariably put themselves first will find that others tend to put them last.”
True, isn’t it? The more we focus on ourselves the less others focus on us. The more we focus on others, the more they focus on us. In his classic, The Science of Getting Rich, Wallace D. Wattles touched on this as the natural principle that “action and reaction are always equal and in opposite directions.”
As you place your focus on the interests of others and constantly ask yourself how you can add value to them (again, this includes business and personal relationships) you’ll find they tend to do the same. Or, in today’s lingo, “right back at ya’!”
The question some will have, however, is, “but what if they don’t? What if they’re just the ‘selfish’ type who cares only about themselves?”
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter. If, for whatever reason, the benefits of the relationship (business or personal) are worth it to you, then no need to change anything. Just be aware and watch your back. So long as both parties benefit, carry on.
Or, depending upon the unique circumstances and the type of relationship, you have choices including, but not limited to:
Continue to focus on them believing that they are simply in the growth process. You can gently and tactfully coach them along, as well. Some will get it and grow into it.
Immediately remove yourself from their life and influence. You don’t need to be mean or nasty about it or even verbalize it. What if circumstances dictate you’re not being able to sever all ties. That’s okay. Stay classy. Always treat them with respect. However, you won’t be emotionally involved in the relationship.
Most people though will indeed respond as you set the frame.
To paraphrase Dr. Qubein, put them first and they’ll tend to put you first.
Life is good.
The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann is now available in an expanded edition. It includes a Discussion Guide, Author Q & A and a Foreword by Arianna Huffington. You can receive Chapter One by visiting www.thegogiver.com/tggee