The Value of Authentic Relationships

In business and life, it's not the number of people you interact with but rather those who stay in your life and career throughout twists and turns.

After working four years building a side business and brand hooked to the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, I walked away from its highest-profile vehicle when I chose to quit my daily radio show on Raider Nation Radio 920 here in Las Vegas. The show, popular with our listeners and the station’s management, was a labor of love but other priorities made it easy to walk away. Family, career, and health are all important, but they must be in balance.

After building a brand via hard work, promotion, and those who believed in me, I decided it was time to prioritize other things in my life. As I did so, I was reminded how precious relationships are in my life. Not only with my family but also with those I came into contact with due to my sports media business. While many were shocked, and I think genuinely concerned for me, what I found is what I already knew: as soon as I signed off, many of those who clamored to be close or a part of it soon lost touch - and it’s only been a month.

This doesn’t have to be negative, but clearly, getting to know the real you isn’t of much interest to many. It’s a fact many value relationships solely based on what they derive from their connection to you. If you can’t do something for them or offer something they need, then they’re OK letting go and moving on.

I have learned this lesson many times in life. Still, perhaps the freshness of this round has me thinking about the importance of deep relationships where people you work with, collaborate with or get to know to stick around and remain friends, even when you seemingly can’t do for them what they thought you would. They understand the long-term game of relationships and value it.

That is why when you do develop closer and longer-term business and personal relationships, value them. Do more than value them, appreciate them every day and feed them. Give them your attention and prioritize those people in your life.

Last October, I lost the closest friend I’ve ever had in my life: Brian Plummer. There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t think of Brian and his impact on my life when he was alive and now even after he’s passed. I struggle with his loss all the time. It’s perhaps the loss of such a long and deep relationship that has me thinking about the shallow and quick-passing relationships as a result of my sports media experiment over the past four years.

Not everyone is meant to stay in your life forever. Some are around to get what they can get and capitalize off a mutual business interest. That’s part of life, and part of the business. Still, work hard to develop deep and meaningful relationships in all that you do. Value those people, their impact on you and be there for them as they were for you.

It’s those relationships that will fuel you through the twists and turns of life and your career.