This past month, I’ve had a chance to reconnect with several relationships from years gone by. They were colleagues I worked with years ago in various jobs, contacts in the business community I had gotten to know or work with, or early clients of my now decade+ old consulting practice. What they all have in common is that through our business relationship, we had become personal friends.
Unfortunately for many of us, life gets in the way of maintaining many old business relationships, or even personal friendships. Sociologists tell us that an average individual can proactively manage 100-150 relationships! The challenge for many is that we often limit those to our immediate needs! Think about it – the relationships you’re proactively working with right now are involved with an active project, initiative, are current or prospective clients, or your immediate team at the office.
As such, we are leaving many valuable relationships stagnate! The challenge is if you keep ignoring them, they’ll grow cobwebs, rust, or simply fade away. Everyone is busy and the longer you don’t reach out and reconnect, re-engage, or simply get caught up on both sides, the further that relationship divide becomes!
The beautiful aspect of great relationships is that they never fade! IF you make the time to reinvigorate some of your old contacts (I’ve found LinkedIn to be a viable source in finding them, reconnecting, and scheduling face visits), and IF you left the last interaction on a positive note, it’s really easy and often enjoyable to get reconnected.
I don’t know of any business that doesn’t need net new business. Likewise, we all need net new business relationships. But a lot of personal and professional growth, prosperity, and opportunities should come from existing relationships. Make time to balance the two and continue to invest resources (time, effort, capital) into relationships that matter!
Start by reaching out to 5 people this week you haven’t interacted with in the past year! You’ll be amazed at how you can pick up the conversation, and the relationships, exactly where you left it off…