3 Stage Process to Building Real Relationships

May 24, 2021

You Are Not Meant to be an Island.

In order to grow a successful business you need more than yourself, your laptop or mobile phone and a data connection. Follow this simple three stage process to create real relationships and build a bridge to get off the island.

You Need Help

No. Not like you need to see a therapist! Or maybe you do! None of my business.

What concerns me in the context of this community is are you able to accept help? I mean really accept help. It’s important to explore this aspect of your way of being. Reaching your potential in business and doing what you’re really here to do, what you’re really meant to do, comes with the requirements to accept help.

You can't do this alone. You need coaching to do it. You need constructive and candid feedback from people who can hold a mirror up to you and let you see the huge blind spots around and behind you. You need people you can talk to openly about your fears, your insecurities, your doubts without loading more of the same onto the experience. Some of the time, you just need people to talk to for a reality check. We all do. You know what I’m talking about.

The self made man/woman concept is nice and warm and fuzzy and that’s all it really is. You can see it so often on social media channels, especially Facebook, loads of people boasting about becoming millionaires with this or that system that they discovered, or by being a speaker et al. Most of the time implying and undoubtedly deluding themselves that they are self made.

Newsflash, you can trip over becoming a millionaire these days. The big one to aim for if financial status is your thing is billionaire, and that will definitely take a load of help.

Now if you still haven’t made your first million or are struggling to regain that status after losing it, AND if you are the sort of person inclined to take offence at the comment above, get over it or leave. I don’t really mind either way. Come back when you are prepared to try some stuff on that doesn’t sit comfortable in your default space.

if you still haven’t made your first million or are struggling to regain that status after losing it, your in the right place because I can guarantee the stuff I talk about in this community is precisely the type of stuff you need to reach or regain that milestone … and when you do you’ll join the ranks of the people who realise how minor, unimportant and meaningless it is and who aspire to much greater.

Relationships Are Currency

You don’t need to be a brain surgeon, hold a PhD or even be a rocket scientist to know that the world we live in is ultra-hyper connected and the speed with which you can become an online connection of other people and communicate with with them whether invited or uninvited is increasing by the second. I’m not saying that’s good thing or a bad thing. It simply is which allows it to be both good and bad depending on the context.

I find when interviewing new clients, who invariably have a huge challenge or difficult situation they want help with, they really want to talk in-depth about what they are experiencing. One of the questions I often ask is who have you talked to and the answer is always, less a few exceptions, noe one at all. The exceptions are, “I spoke to my accountant or I spoke to my lawyer or I know this person who is a coach … and that is how I ended up contacting you”

What should be clear from this, and if you are honest most probably to some degree large or small about your own life, is that people don't have many real relationships. What I mean by relationship is a sincere and unbridled level of mutual trust, mutual respect, mutual acceptance, mutual understanding, mutual tolerance, mutual compassion, mutual patience. Some connections have a one or several of these but how many do you have that have them all. I can count mine one hand.

I understand now more than ever something my grandfather told me as a boy. He said if by the end of your life you can count your real friends on one hand and the fingers are full you are very lucky. I didn’t get it then. I get it now. He died at the age of 94.

There are some simple things you can do to foster real relationships and that’s self-disclosure. OMB! Yes I am saying what you think I’m saying … no matter how much fear it strikes in you if you’re an introvert, and no matter how much you may have a default response of “bah, I do that all of the time” if you’re an extrovert … no you don’t … not really ... and both of the above if you are an introvert/extrovert. BTW I’m the last one.

Building real relationships requires these things I’ve mentioned which means if you want real relationships you have to tell the other person something fundamental about yourself. Not this superficial crap that people post online all of the time. Maybe something about your childhood upbringing, about your parents, about the experiences in your life that have occurred to you as traumatic. Tell them something about yourself that will help them to better understand who you are and your way of being.

So many people are wound up so tight and closed off they never do it and in their mind could never do it; and it is all in their mind.

The next stage of the process to build real relationships and a bridge off your island is to ask genuine questions of other people about themselves. Questions that will help you to better understand who they are and their way of being.

How often have you experienced, or heard of this happening or done this yourself. A senior person in a company is with someone more junior. They may be at lunch, at an event, at the water cooler, on a road trip or wherever. The conversation, if there is any, is superficial, all pleasantries and small talk.

They leave the experience knowing as little about the person as when they started it. They learn bugger all if anything. The simple reason is because they never ask real questions. A lot of people are not good at asking questions. Some are just plain disinterested in other people and the world around them. A lot of other people hide behind a fear of something. Fear of a real conversation, fear of getting too personal, fear of prying into other people’s business, fear of having to reciprocate!! That last one is a doozy!

Seek Advice

The last stage of this simple process is you need to seek advice? Stop thinking you can do it all in your head or even do it all by getting it out of your head and onto paper. I have a really good technique for that by the way, and still, as good as it is, that alone is not going to do it for you. In both personal and professional life seeking advice is invaluable, and again I don’t mean visiting a therapist unless that is what you really want to do.

Organise your thoughts about a situation that you want advice on or an area of your personal or professional life where you have self-doubt and ask advice.

Has anyone ever asked your advice about something? Do you remember how good you feel when another person asks your advice? You feel pretty awesome right? Valued, appreciated. You sense gratitude from the other person, and at least subconsciously if not consciously you feel gratitude yourself toward that person. People asking you or your advice are showing you a lot of respect. At least this is the way I feel.

So why is any of this or this process important? Well it helps people to understand you better, it helps you to understand other people better, it builds trust and these as a minimum help build real relationships, and you need to have relationships with people if you are going to get anywhere in life personally and most definitely if you are going to build a business where you are not the goto person and where you have a viable exit option you can execute on. You simply cannot be an island.

Over the last three plus decades of creating, operating and exiting businesses, and helping other people do the same, I’ve found that the times when people struggle in their lives or have regrets, then this is one of the major areas that they failed  give focus to and work on.

You see I’ve done all these things that I’m telling you about. I’ve made these mistakes in life. Experienced them first hand. That’s why I know them. One of the sure fire reasons some of my ventures have been failures is I’ve done the whole hermitpreneur. I mean it’s so counterintuitive to achieving anything and it’s both laughable and ridiculous.

If you want to achieve the outcomes you desire in life, if you want to have a business that is actually a business and not a self imposed job, a business that allows you the freedom to enjoy the things you had in mind to do when you first started the business, then you need people and you need to have real relationships with those people.


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This article is also on the newsletter ready for you to explore the important challenge of ingredient cost management. Essential for every hospitality business, mastering this skill can be the difference between red or black on the operations P&L in a competitive market. The subject interconnects with so many areas of operations and profitability, both directly and indirectly; too many to cover in this article. In this article we’ll look at strategies and insights that will empower you to optimise costs without compromising on the quality your customers expect. Dive in for a straightforward guide to turning this aspect of your operations into a strategic advantage.
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Paul J Lange

Paul J. Lange

Executive & Business Coach | Food & Hospitality Industry | Entrepreneur & Investor | Unreasonable Unorthodox | Helping business to grow & scale for 35+ years. Creator of the Total QX Framework for Business Optimisation

Paul Lange is an internationally experienced management consultant, business trainer, and exceptional business coach, with over 35 years in the Private Equity/Venture Capital Industry. Known for his unorthodox yet highly effective methods, Paul stands out in a field where innovation and results are paramount.

Paul’s journey in the world of business is deeply rooted in the hospitality sector, where his career began. From his first two jobs in the industry to establishing his inaugural business venture, Paul’s foundational experiences in hospitality have profoundly shaped his understanding of service excellence and workforce dynamics. His continuous connection to the food/hospitality and other industries, through investments, coaching, and international consulting, coupled with his role in developing innovative staff training programs, underscores his comprehensive expertise in this vibrant field.

Paul has a passion for business optimisation and has developed the Total QX (Total Quality Experience) framework, which emphasises the human aspect in business excellence. His approach blends the pursuit of pleasure, passion, and purpose with profit generation, a philosophy he embodies as the Hedonist Entrepreneur.

Paul’s professional journey is marked by his deep commitment to creating transformative business strategies. His Total QX framework, emphasising quality and experience, is at the forefront of his consulting approach. This framework is more than a business model; it’s a reflection of Paul’s belief in integrating pleasure and passion into the fabric of business, thereby enhancing both personal fulfilment and corporate success. If you’re seeking to elevate your business with innovative strategies and a human-centric approach, Paul’s expertise offers an unparalleled opportunity. He welcomes conversations with like-minded professionals and businesses aspiring to blend profitability with purpose and passion.
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