Keith Ferrazzi Tells of the Importance of Building “Lifeline Relationships”

by Joe Lavelle on June 14, 2009

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Our country has long been associated with the “pull yourselves up by the bootstraps” mentality. We are known as people who have a sense of rugged individualism at their core. Who didn’t learn about Horatio Alger in a high school classroom at some point? Those stories were meant to instill in us a sense that, in the United States, we can accomplish anything with hard work and determination, no matter our starting point. There certainly is some truth to this concept. We are presented with freedoms and opportunities that are unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Successful people have usually made the choice to place themselves in the best possible position. However, there is another component to high achievement that sometimes gets lost in our professional efforts, but it is just as essential as individual ambition.

I have been reading a wonderful new book by Keith Ferrazzi titled Who’s Got Your Back. Mr. Ferrazzi achieved #1 best-seller status with his previous book Never Eat Alone, and his follow-up publication will certainly find its way to the top of the charts as well. Keith Ferrazzi brings a great deal of experience to his writing, as he is founder and CEO of the business consulting firm Ferrazzi Greenlight. He can be seen often on CNN and CNBC and his articles have appeared in many high-profile publications. I have a great deal of respect for his perspective and the genuine interest that he has in helping others achieve their goals. In Who’s Got Your Back, Ferrazzi promotes the idea that optimal success in both your career and your personal life will be achieved through the establishment of “lifeline relationships.” These connections are created with carefully selected individuals who can be trusted to provide encouragement, advice, and support.

Can you imagine President Obama making a major policy decision without first consulting the appropriate members of his cabinet? Does a bride-to-be ever visit the dress shop without bringing a group of friends to marvel over or critique every possible selection? How many people find greater success losing weight, completing a home improvement project, or beating an addiction with the support and accountability that can be provided by family or friends? If we are wise in the goals we set for ourselves and are serious about meeting the desired results, we will want the honest and constructive feedback that a trusted inner circle can provide. There is no point in surrounding ourselves with “yes men” unless our only objective is to enjoy meaningless strokes to our egos. On the other hand, we need to make sure that we are not stuck with companions who don’t have our best interest at heart or simply do not know how to help us.

In my new book, Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail, I also focus on the need to foster strong relationships in both your professional and personal relationships. From taking the time to know those who occupy your human resource office to the search for the best possible mentors to understanding why networking with others who may benefit from your expertise is important, I highlight throughout the book how important it is to have a network that propels us forward as we accelerate towards a higher and more lucrative professional status. No matter what your specific situation may be, I believe that my book will show you important ways in which a great group of supporters and constructive critics can push you to the next step.

I would love the opportunity to discuss your career goals with you in detail. Let’s talk about the people with whom you surround yourself and how these relationships are propelling or handicapping you in your long-term goals. I look forward to hearing from you. And, I would be interested in hearing what you think of Keith Ferrazzi’s Who’s Got Your Back as well!

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