To be successful in business the needed characteristics often are portrayed to be directness, winning at all costs, focus on bottom line at all times and just overall being an asshole. That is one way to manage your career, but it feels super stressful and I doubt you'd have many friends. What's the point of being "successful" if everyone thinks you're a jerk.
I can see how this mentality forms by assuming that everyone else is out to beat you. That causes you to keep your thoughts close and not opening up. It creates a win - lose situation.....and you want to be on the winning side. You are in survival mode.
I had a recent experience that reminded me how important it is be the first to extend an olive branch to your employees, partners, vendors, etc. If you open yourself up first you dictate how the relationship will flow versus just assuming the other person is out to screw you. An influencer did a TikTok post that went viral. It got 435K+ views! He did it on his own and didn't have a relationship with Sloane ahead of time. He reached out and started a conversation with me and I had a couple of choices.
1) Selfish Approach: Thank him for doing the video. Offer him nothing and tell myself that I just got some amazing free advertising. This approach maximizes my short term profits, but limits the potential long term wins.
2) Long Term Thinking Approach: Thank him for doing the video. Pay him the commission that I offer current partners. Start a friendly relationship where I offer to help him and his business. Can Sloane do anything for him? I also asked some questions about TikTok because I am curious to learn more about the platform. A relationship is now formed.
Too many people look short term. They see things as a finite game of us versus them. They need to shift to an infinite game where they take into account what COULD happen in the long term by fostering the relationship. Simon Sinek has a great book called Infinite Game that dives deep into the topic. Having an infinite approach makes me feel more optimistic about how I approach everything in my business.
It's true that a small amount of people could take advantage of your kindness. It has happened to me, but it's in the very small minority. To have a short term approach just because a few people take advantage of you isn't worth it. The wins have far outweighed the losses. I also feel lighter and happier about life when approaching every decision with an infinite mindset.
People all in all are good. They are trying their best in life. Wouldn't it be great if you formed relationships with those people that benefited both sides? You can't assume that every relationship will pay off for you, but having an attitude of possibility can't do you wrong.