VI. The Peer
People connect to others as part of their work and life, and seek to build stronger and more diverse relationships, but sometimes our personalities and circumstances dictate our needs.
Everyone plays a different role in relationships, and sometimes we can find ourselves falling into certain roles too frequently. The “trap” of this is that you become more one-dimensional when people only call on you because you know “so and so.” Understanding what is often asked of you can also help clarify what you may, when warranted, need in return.
It’s important to note that you can never hire or “buy” connections. Interactions come and go but important interactions are multifaceted and hopefully long-term or recurring. Thus if you push too hard or ask too much, you are defined by this and not your actual value to another individual. This is why connecting smartly involves delving into what people need from you and why they ask it.
If you are the “Peer,” you may serve in a similar position or organization to others. CEOs of competing companies often know each other well, as do politicians or investors with a similar focus. The world is comprised of thousands of these matches. This type of relationship can be developed at all levels, but most frequently when you are in a position to make decisions that effect others, and can make your own opportunities.
For the Peer, your relationships are often related to your business. You’re included in conversations because of the weight of your own responsibilities, and often serve on Boards or attend events because it’s good for business to be seen and heard. These relationships are often not personal, but necessary to maintain.
Many of your interactions may be transactional in nature. You may want to adjust some of your relationships to focus on other matters than just work, and develop a focus that feels more rewarding. You may find more value for yourself from serving in the role of The Peer where these same relationships can benefit or expand to help others.
This is where serving as the role of the Peer can be crucial, not only in philanthropy or in developing new businesses but in helping others with vision gain the access they need to get started.
Opportunities you can help create:
*Arrange a sit-down with a contact who sits on the Board of a private Foundation or Business.
*Call a colleague to sponsor an event with food, wine, etc.
*Introduce two individuals in your circle for a business opportunity who wouldn’t be able to contact each other easily without you.
*Agree to attend an event or meeting, giving it value for others to consider attending.
*Include someone you respect who hasn’t been given as much visibility as part of your team.
In time, you will realize that the more value you gain for yourself by helping others personally, your generosity will pay itself back in spades.
The first time I befriended someone who was a “peer” in certain circles, I underestimated his value as he was soft-spoken about his work. But as we became friends, at every event or gathering he knew the person I had to meet, made the introduction, and was the first to step away to give me time to connect.