Relationships Start with the Heart

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A simple fact in life is that you cannot influence anyone without first having a relationship. This is true whether you are giving advice, teaching, or selling. Without an open door to someone's heart, there is no reason for their behavior to change. If someone doesn't like you, are they more likely or less likely to do something for you? I would have to say that they are less likely. This is where emotions come into play. Whether we like it or not, we all make emotional decisions. In fact, every decision that we make has an emotional component.

Breakfast of Champions
Just think about the breakfast that you ate or didn't eat this morning. I would submit to you that you made an emotional decision. If you ate something healthy or didn't eat at all, you were most likely influenced by the desire to be thin, which generates positive feelings about yourself. If you ate something that you thought would taste good, you most likely were influenced by the need for more immediate pleasure. In either case, there was a feeling attached to the decision.

Noble Purposes
Like money, feelings are neither good or bad on their own. It is a question of how those feelings are used. For example, if someone appeals to your feelings of guilt to manipulate your behavior, then, those feelings could be detrimental to you. By the same token, feelings that cause you to show mercy or compassion to someone in need may be a very good thing.

Act in the best interest of others, and, over time, you will be rewarded with fruitful relationships. If you build relationships based on trust, you will have influence in those relationships. Every relationship works on the exchange principle - what you get out of a relationship is what you put into it. Thus, you should feed your relationships with things that build trust. Specifically, you need these three components of trust:

  • Care - You must show a genuine interest in the other person

  • Concern - You must want the best for the other person

  • Competence - You must have something to offer the other person
Three-Legged Stool
Any relationship that doesn't build a firm foundation of trust is destined to fail. Like a three-legged stool, you must have all three legs of trust; otherwise, the stool will fall over. So, before you begin you enter into a relationship with someone, decide if you are willing to make the commitment to care for them, to be concerned about them, and develop yourself so that you have something to offer them. If you do, you will have a relationship that stands the test of time.

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