Friendships Worth Flying For

Last week I taught the new version of Expansion Systems Orientation (a leadership and business building course). Well, in little ole’ Vermont, we had attendees travel from Minnesota, Texas, Massachusetts, Montreal, Maine, Florida, Arkansas, Indiana, and Kentucky. And we all know that getting to Vermont isn’t easy! So, why did this group of leaders make the trip? To learn, of course. And to be in the same room with other high-level, growth-oriented leaders. Often the most powerful part of any of these courses is who’s in the room – who’s sharing their experiences, their struggles, and their successes. We definitely had that last week!

Many years ago one of my mentors told me that at some point in my career I would have to get on a plane to visit my friends. I didn’t fully understand what he meant until seven or so years ago when my businesses were really taking off. When this happens, a couple of things occur:

  1. Many of your so-called friends start to question you, your motives, your abilities, and your success. Basically, they start to tear you down. I don’t really fault them. They are reacting based on their level of consciousness. They see someone “successful” and start to make up a bunch of reasons about how you got there – none of which have anything to do with the grueling hours, massive risk, and total grind you put in. It must have been because of a lucky break or an inheritance or some other “magic.” They are just trying to regain significance in their life. If you were able to do it, why can’t they, right? Well, discipline, dedication, and relentless drive have a lot to do with it. But sometimes people don’t want to see that. That’s okay. It just means you have to distance yourself from those individuals.
  2. You have a lot of old friends come out of the woodwork looking for jobs, or opportunities, or let’s just call it what it is, hand-outs. And when you don’t give it to them or make that connection for them, they revert to the behavior in #1.
  3. Not many people can relate to the challenges you are going through. The business challenges, yes, but also the family and social challenges that come along with building a business. But you know who does? Other high-growth entrepreneurs. They get it like no one else can. These become the people you turn to when you are doubting yourself and every decision you are making or when you don’t know what next step to take.
  4. Business is nothing but a conduit for your own personal growth. You want to grow like never before? Start and grow a business! If your friends and family are willing to go along for the ride, that’s great. They will also have to devote a significant amount of time to their personal growth. If not, that’s okay. You will just have to decide how much time you want to allocate to those people in your life, and then get on a plane to have those business and growth conversations.

Whenever I teach, I like to share stories, and inevitably I end up talking about my mastermind adventures with some big names in the real estate world. Over the years I’ve gone hunting in British Columbia, hiked Kilimanjaro, white water rafted in the Salmon River, went on a safari in Tanzania, explored the rum distilleries of Barbados, fished in West Virginia, hiked the Grand Canyon, and jumped off cliffs in Havusu Falls. These trips we big commitments – of time and money – but they were worth it. Sure, they were fun and exciting (and in the case of Kilimanjaro, frickin’ exhausting!). But those trips are more than just the adventure, they were really about the people I was with and the conversations we had late into the night. There are very few people who really understand the challenges of building a business and having hundreds of people rely on your vision and leadership.

There are very few people who I can get that vulnerable around. There are very few people who are both your competition and your biggest cheerleaders. Those are the people I get on a plane to see.

One of the questions I get asked most often during my training and story telling is, “How do I get in those rooms/on those trips with those individuals?” Well, these friendships and relationships didn’t form overnight. They started by investing into myself and flying to trainings where I knew these individuals would be attending or presenting. Proximity is power. It happens first, by showing up. From there, it’s two-fold. Constantly growing myself and taking myself to the next level and providing value to everyone I come into contact with.

It was never about what I could get out of the relationship or moment, but what I could give. When you come from that place, opportunities just start to unfold.

Whether you’re traveling to a big city to attend a industry-specific conference or getting a few of your business friends together for a hiking and camping adventure, the result is the same – masterminding with others who not only have the same mindset you do, but who are going to challenge you to be even better.

Looking to get in the room with other high performers building businesses? Come join me and Tim Heyl at our event Think Big, Act Small in Austin happening before Mega Camp. We promise you’ll be challenged to be better and you may even leave with a few friendships worth getting on a plane for.

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