I was struck by a comment this week.
Someone said something t0 me, almost in passing, that really stuck with me.
They said, "you seem to treat everyone the same, almost as if you don't care about their status."
That struck me because I can't think of any other way of doing things!
Everyone's struggling with something.
Everyone's trying to achieve something.
Everyone's got a gift to give the world.
I'll share what I'm impressed by in a second, but here are three things I don't care about at all:
1) Someone's title.
Us humans make up titles, and I've never seen them correlate to anything important like value, kindness, and contribution.
Did you know Senior Vice President wasn't even a thing that long ago? Vice Presidents clamored for more, so some company invented the SVP title, and it spread.
What's next, Super Awesome Senior Vice President?
2) How much money someone has.
Money is a tool—an important one, especially to get to the point where you have enough.
Having more money than "enough" is great because it can buy time and better outcomes, but chasing it for more than that isn't useful.
Most importantly, I haven't seen having more or less money correlates to anything important like value, kindness, or contribution. There are plenty of great people with or without money, along with the opposite. It's not an indicator of much of anything.
Related story: I was catching up with my friend Bill Ruprecht once, who was CEO of Sotheby's for years, calling on the wealthiest art collectors in the world. We had rolled out some powerful training together, and I found working with Bill to be one of the most enjoyable experiences of my career.
As we caught up as friends after he left Sotheby's, I had always wanted to ask Bill about his perspective on wealth, so I asked, "what do you see correlate to the ultra-wealthy?"
I'm paraphrasing Bill's answer here, so I might get this partially wrong, but I remember he said something like, "Nothing at all. There are rich people with style and others without it. Some are great parents and partners, others not at all. Some are kind, and others are selfish. There's really no correlation between wealth to anything that matters."
So true. And Bill would know.
(Sidebar: Here's the long-form version of an interview I did with Bill. So good!)
(Super sidebar: Bill just reached out to me and mentioned he's looking for a new Board position after helping guide a start-up to a successful liquidity event. Bill would be great if you have a fast-growing business and are looking for a sage advisor. I'm happy to connect him with you. He's amazing.)
Wrapping the thought up, people with lots of money might seem better than those without it.
Not at all.
Having money doesn't make someone any better or worse than anyone else. They just travel differently.
3) The people someone knows.
Social Proof is important because the organizations you serve convey your level of value. Sharing a few names of those you work with can be helpful.
Commonality is important because people like and say yes to people they have things in common with. We love commonality! People we know in common is a great uncommon commonality–strong stuff!
Finding people and companies we both know is a very powerful way to build Social Proof and Commonality.
Mentioning names in ways that serve these goals is great!
But some people go far beyond this to share how great they are by who they know. That's name-dropping, and it turns everyone off.
So those are the three things some people care about that I don't.
Now let's flip to what really impresses me. A lot.
Someone excited about what they're doing, living the life they are meant to live.
That's harder to do than most people think. How many people do you know live the life they're meant to live?
The school teacher in love with the impact they have. The IP lawyer that just loves filing medical device patents. The Cross Country coach thinking through every little way to make their team more successful.
You know it when you see it. Impressive!
Becky and I try really hard to spend our time with people like that. I guess you could say we optimize for interesting.
(I first heard of that exact phrase from my friend author Dorie Clark. She talks about that concept with me HERE. Dorie is definitely living the life she was meant to live!)
Those people that are doing things they find super interesting.
That are excited about their work or hobbies.
That always seem to challenging themselves, tackling something hard.
What's cool about that perspective is it's independent of titles, money, and who you hang out with.
That's just awesome.
I want to be around people like that to learn from them, get energy from them, stay in touch, and hear about their struggles and what they're doing to overcome them, one chapter at a time.
So, over to you.
What are your criteria for what you care about in others?
Who gives you energy and insights?
Who do you want to spend more time with?
Take a minute and jot their names down now, like a personal Protemoi List, your first among equals outside of work.
Writing down their names is powerful because it will provide you with clarity. Then, share them with your spouse or partner. You can get on the same page.
Then, ask yourself...
How can you spend more time with these amazing people?
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