by Jennie Ormson | Featured Contributor
Remember that kid in school who’d kiss up to the teacher? Eye roll. Or that kid who’d buddy up to classmates when they were going to throw a party? Gross. We called them users – because they were. They’d use you for a weekend at the cottage, or some time by your swimming pool. They’d want to copy off your homework or leverage some of your street cred without giving a thing back. Take. Take. Take.
It would be great if those behaviours were simply a function of maturity and everyone grew out of them. But sadly, that’s not the case. The process of emerging from my safe little bubble – The Nook, where I offer therapy and entrepreneurial mentoring – to the public world of entrepreneurs has been fascinating. What I’ve noticed is that those kids, the users, are all grown up. But the behaviors have stuck and they’re still motivated by what someone else can provide for them on their way up in business.
The brilliant Irish journalist Nuala O’Faolain titled her memoir “Are You Somebody” – inspired by a real life incident. She was in a pub (of course – she’s Irish) when a woman thought that she recognized her and asked “Are you somebody?”. It’s amusing to see this behaviour manifested in professional settings like conferences or events. People scan the room looking for someone who is ‘somebody’. Someone who is more successful, wealthier, more renowned. Ultimately – someone whose success they can latch onto. Someone who can ‘do something’ for them.
Let’s face it , when we own our own business, we need to be conscious of the bottom line. Or, as my Mastermind Leader, Fay Chapple says, “do the math”. Our financial successes (and failures) are constantly guided by metrics – does the return on investment pay off? Usually we look for a financial payoff – did it make me money, did it grow my list, did it get people out to my event? But when it comes to relationships, we need to consider a different set of metrics. Here’s my top three that help me assess my relationship ROI.
We’ve all had the experience of speaking to someone and leaving the conversation feeling absolutely drained and depleted. It can happen as a result of downers complaining and whining or pompous braggers going on ad nauseam about how wonderful they are. No thanks, not interested. Even if you are ‘a somebody’, if you drain my energy I’m not going to seek you out. EVER. Conversely, you also know the feeling of being energized by someone else’s good vibe. They hit the sweet spot of telling you about what they’re up to AND being interested in what you’re all about. BE THIS PERSON!
It’s easy to be a bit wow’d by the Gary Vs, Brené Browns, Richard Bransons, and Danielle LaPortes. They’ve worked their arses off and achieved great things. But don’t fall under the mistaken assumption that the big names are the only people who are inspiring. Think about it for a second – if they were dull and flat, would you be drawn to them? Doubtful. It’s because they are inspiring – and not just their success. It’s their ideas, their delivery, and charisma that make them inspiring. The people at the top don’t have a monopoly on inspiration. Look for it in the stranger who sits beside you at a conference. Notice the inspiration in your non-celebrity peers and allow yourself to be wow’d by them and their ideas.
Rather than looking for who’s more successful than you, check out the people who are smarter than you. I’m drawn like a moth to a flame to people who are bright, who pick up ideas quickly, and take action on them. I want THOSE people in my tribe. The return on my investment of time and energy in people who are sharp always pays off. As entrepreneurs we can do it alone, but it will take a hell of a lot longer. The knowledge exchange – for platforms, PR, social media, and tech can save you hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars. Invest in relationships with the people who you respect for their knowledge – not their status.
One caution for you: don’t just use these metrics to decide on whom you’re going to invest in. Make sure you’re also offering value in these three areas to others. Give to get. If you can’t give me the time of day when you think I’m nobody, you’ll get nothing from me when you discover I am somebody.
Jennie Ormson knows the power of a strong relationship, and the impact of a crummy partnership. As a Relationship Expert, her mission is to empower people with the skills they need to communicate effectively, fight fair, and revive the sparkle. Jennie’s core belief is that there is immense power in being heard and feeling understood. Her gift is helping couples understand what’s going on in their emotional landscape, and how to navigate the peaks and valleys. She’s relatable and practical, helping people to balance speaking up and knowing when to shut up.
For over 20 years as a therapist, Jennie has provided insight, compassion, and the ability to thrive. Her work in Canada, America, Ireland, and the UK has impacted thousands of lives. With three young kids, a booming private practice, an exciting online venture, and a partner of 25 years, Jennie understands the need to juggle it all with grace and humour.