Last Sunday, my son overslept and could not go to church with the rest of the family. Accordingly, he went to a later service by himself. When I dropped him off at the church, I said to him, “Remember that you may sit down next to a girl who you may someday marry or a person who may someday give you a job.” I don’t think he really found my advice to be all that useful, but it remains a common theme as I try to guide him into adulthood.
Everyone we meet can influence our lives in ways that we have never imagined and in ways that we do not expect. It is important to keep this in mind as we go through our daily routines. You do not know who you are going to encounter so it is always important to make sure that whoever crosses your path will do so seeing you in your best light.
Building positive relationships is important to ensure that you can find jobs as you go through life. Indeed, in terms of getting a job, I believe that being able to build relationships is far more important than being able to do a job because the more people you know, the greater your chances of being recommended for a position. Of course, part of building positive relationships requires that you perform your jobs well, so ability does often go hand in hand with relationship building.
Whether you are a day laborer or a professional, or anything in between, people will enjoy working with you if they like you as a person. They will want to hire you or retain your services if you have personal traits that they admire and respect. In contrast, if you do not display positive traits, a bad reputation will precede you into every job opportunity.
I try to live by the following code, although I admit that I probably do not always succeed. Nevertheless, the closer we can come to these standards, the more likely we are going to find ourselves confronting opportunity through life.
Treat Everyone With the Respect that You would Like to be Treated: This is a simple standard. If you precede someone into a building, hold the door open so that they can enter as well. If you make eye contact with someone, smile to acknowledge them. If someone makes a mistake, try to be understanding. All of the little courtesies that you can extend to the people around you should be extended. If you treat people with respect, they should return it to you, and opportunity will follow.
Never Gossip: When I have worked in corporate environments, or volunteered for organizations, or done anything that required two more adults to come together, I have found that gossip tends to pervade discussions. At this point, I try not to talk about anyone behind their backs unless I have something positive to say or I am talking to my wife. (You should always feel that you can tell your spouse anything!) The less you gossip about others, the less you are likely to be the subject of gossip and rumor.
Let Kids be Kids: If you are involved in any youth activity, remember that kids are still just kids and they are not going to have the focus that adults will have. It may be frustrating at times when you are coaching a child or acting as a scoutmaster, but you need to be patient and understanding when a child does not perform to expectation. Remember that it is your job to get the best behavior out of the child so you will bear some of the blame. More importantly, parents will remember how you treated their child and you never know which parent might be an employer looking to hire new employees.
Remember the People Who have Helped You Succeed: No one succeeds without help. Always remember the people who have helped you and find ways to both reward them and to help them as you advance through life. Also, keep in mind that if you help others to succeed, they are much more likely to return the favor!
Always Try to Meet New People: Make it a point of effort to always try to expand your circle of acquaintances. Get to know Facebook, Linked-In and similar social and professional networking sites and use them to stay in touch with people and to grow relationships. Look for social and professional organizations that bring similarly situated people together, such as church groups, industry groups and similar organizations.
Although these five standards are very simple, they have worked well for me. Treat adults with respect and children with patience. Never gossip. Always repay the kindness and support of your friends and always look for new relationships. Can it be as simple as that? Do you think that these standards will open the door to opportunity?