What’s In It For Me?

What is the one thing that will determine your success in life more than anything else?

According to a nearly 80-year study at Harvard, the single most significant factor that will determine your success in life is the strength of your relationships.

How can you leverage your relationships to bring more success into your life and the lives of others? When working with people it’s important to remember, everyone is tuned into their own frequency, W.I.F.M. or What’s In it For Me?

In every conversation, every introduction, and every project that depends on the success of people working together, people naturally want to know what’s in it for them. In other words what are the benefits of knowing and woking with you.

Most people expect to receive something from the time they spend with others, however, it’s not as common for most people to put themselves in a position of giving to others willingly, in every situation. It’s this imbalance of expectations that often hinders rapport. This is also the reason individuals to want to dig in and hold their ground in conflict rather than work toward win-win solutions.

Of course, the best working relationships are those where one or more parties are also tuned into another frequency, which I like to call W.I.F.O. - What’s In it For Others?

With a little practice, you could be the one that others look to for solutions. You could signal everyone you meet that you understand what’s in it for them, that you actually want what’s in it for them and what’s in it for you as well.

Everyone wins, trust runs deep, business grows, and stronger bonds are forged for future long-term relationships.

You're probably wondering, how all this works. It all starts with understanding the importance of good relationships. Really, everything we do revolves around relationships with other people. Whether you are a parent, a corporate professional, a student or a business owner, you and I deal with people all of the time. And, if you think about it, isn’t the person that you deal with the most often - yourself?

When you take the time to learn more about yourself, your own strengths, your own intellect, and your own foibles - I am laying a good foundation for stronger relationships with other people in any scenario.

And I think you’d have to agree that our own success in life is largely due to our success in working with other people. Most of us have probably found that to be true. If we think back on the times when we were ineffective in working with others, we also discover it’s times like these that we find our own success to be limited. When we are ineffective in working with other people we miss opportunities for advancement, or to make a profitable business deal or even to get along well at home.

The Golden Rule of successful relationships

Imagine this, you are entering into a tense meeting where you know you your ideas will be met with debate. Now imagine yourself having your own expectations in check and having the presence of mind to communicate effectively.

You say something like this, “Ultimately, we all have the same goal or we wouldn't be having this discussion right now. We all want to complete this project. If this were a road trip then we all want to get to the same destination. We all want to “go on vacation” when it's over.

The only thing we’re debating right now is which route to take.  We’ve all taken these road trips enough that we know there is more than one way to get there, and more than one right way to get there. Everyone knows that 3+6 = 9, but so does 5+4. I say we find the best solution using the best ideas from everyone."

What did you “hear” in that brief exchange? Honesty? Respect? A solution?

This is exactly what we all want in our communication. This is what’s supposed to be in it for me - and for you. Mutual respect, clear communication, it’s what we’ve come to know as the Golden Rule. Treat others with the same respect that you want from them.

You may have heard another interpretation of this rule? “He who has the gold rules.” But I think it’s more powerful than this. I’ve come to believe that “He who rules has the gold.” In other words, as we manage or rule over our own expectations and then seek to find value in the expectations of others, that we forge more profitable relationships.

Win-win solutions don’t just work in the conference room, they create results on the production line and your bottom line.

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