VIII. The Leverage
It’s important to note that you can never hire or “buy” connections. Interactions come and go but important interactions are multifaceted and often 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 “Leverage,” it’s because people need and want you involved in something. Period. This is crucial because without your involvement others won’t step up and fully join a project. They may endorse it, or show up, but it doesn’t become their passion, or the next point of emphasis in their career.
You place yourself prominently into situations where putting your own time into a project means something. You may be the peer or social connection to someone, but there is a difference in the nature of how your role evolves when it is your “leverage” is what makes things happen.
Many of your interactions in this position will not be easy or painless. The adage that with great power comes great responsibility puts you in the situation of convincing people that often risking/losing some of their wealth, power, or prestige is for the greater good. This means that you, and those around you can then see the larger picture, and these hard decisions will have less gravity shown against the whole situation.
If people think about what they will lose, you emphasize what they will gain. You have developed both trust and weight to your actions.
Opportunities you can help create:
*Convince someone to move forward with a gift or business deal even though they have reservations.
*Put someone into a speaking or panel position before others think they are “ready” for it by cutting through those biases.
*Get someone to attend a meeting/event by promising that you will attend something else they need you at.
*Advocate for someone else’s passions, and make it possible for them to be heard.
Your value is tricky to manage, because you leverage relationships by a combination of instinct and experience. People may keep track of your favors or actions and weigh them against each other, which often makes them more aware of your activity as a whole (or as how they see it) than you recognize.
The first of many people with “leverage” I met was a bold, outspoken guy who was only two days older than me. He spoke several languages, and was considered a close confidant of colleagues of mine. He told me to ask whenever I needed a favor, and over the years when I have needed “validation” for my efforts, or to get a meeting, one call from him and that was all it took. He did this because he knows the type of person I am, and that I would never put one of his contacts in a compromising situation.