Don’t Burn Those Bridges! (Ten Rules to Live By)


In sales and in life for that matter you are only as good as the people you know, work with and are friends with. You are only as strong as your affiliations. You have to know and be willing to work with everyone if you are going to be successful life. So with that in mind embrace every bridge you have and never ever burn them.

“Allow me to be generous “is my philosophy and it has done me well. I believe that if you go out of your way to help people in general and your business associates specifically you will never go hungry. That if you “pay it forward” as the popular phrase goes good things will always come back to you.

Harry Truman once said. “It is amazing how much gets done when you don’t care who gets the credit”, and nothing could be truer. If we all look out for one another, remember one another and try to help one another, good things happen, they always have, they always will. It’s simply a matter as I said earlier allow me to be generous.

It’s interesting to me that although I have been living by this credo for more years than I care to remember, with the onset of social media, networking has become big business. What I always considered a nice, natural and normal thing to do has now become an art. Networking has become a formal subject that is being taught in business classes! There are all kinds of books and seminars covering the right way to network, whom to network with, how to participate in a network how to create a network and how to grow your network and how to get the most out of your network.

Now while I think this is all well and good and I encourage everyone to learn everything they can about being a great networker. I’m somewhat bemused at how what I always took for granted as the right thing to do has become a business strategy, nay more of a business tactic to get what you want out of people. To me this should only be common sense (sorry it just fit so well here). It should be something that we learned from our parents, something that has just always been the right thing to do.

I have to refer back to my old favorite book Reverend Robert Fulghum’s famous, All I need to know I Learned to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. In which he talks about all of the things we learned when we were five years old still apply today. In fact in terms of social behavior by the time we were six years old we had been taught everything we would need to know to successfully get by in life.

Look the new books are great, there is nothing wrong with picking up some new tools and tips. Social media is great, a wonderful way to put people together but really now is there really anything new? Is there anything that will change the way we interact or should interact with people?

So just as a review I will list my simple rules for connecting and working with people or what we now call networking:

  1. Treat others as you want to be treated.
  2. Allow me to be generous. Let me help you in any way that I can.
  3. Let’s not keep score. I am happy help you without limitations.
  4. Feel free to share especially ideas, people and opportunities.
  5. Trust people until they prove you wrong and then re-trust them if they express remorse for having been untrustworthy.
  6. Every time you meet a new person think about what you could do for them.
  7. Every time you meet a new person think about what they could do for someone you know.
  8. Never expect anything in return…except maybe the warm comfort of knowing that you did the right thing.
  9. Always be connecting people you know if they can help one another.
  10. Never look at life as a zero sum game instead look at it in this way. If someone you know wins, you all win.

And oh yes, one more in the spirit of under promising and over delivering.

  1. And finally avoid having “enemies” and if you do for some reason find yourself with an “enemy” turn that “enemy” into a friend. Having enemies is counter-productive. A friend of mine gave me this quote the other day. Holding a grudge is like you are drinking poison and thinking it will hurt the person you are holding a grudge against. If you find yourself with an enemy one day do something nice for that person, it will confuse the hell out of them and put a smile on your face.

So there you have them my rules to live by. What are your rules? What do you live by? You need to think about this…a lot. It’s only common sense.

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