Are You Asking Too Much Too Soon?

Everything around us has been engineered for immediacy — notifications, apps and fast food are all heralds of the "have it now" culture that we live in. Not that I'm complaining! I, like everyone else, enjoy having what I want in my hands within minutes or sometimes seconds. We really are living in a unique time in history.

But I've found myself applying this sense of immediacy to areas of my life that shouldn't be rushed. Things like relationships. You know those people who, within days (sometimes hours) of meeting them, are already asking you for a favor? I mean, c'mon dude, you've built up zero social capital! And then I turn around and look at myself in the mirror... hahahahadangit. Yep... probably something I need to work on. Because here's the deal: people want to trust you, they really do. But you have to prove to them that you're worthy of their trust.

There's an old American proverb that goes like this:

You can shear a sheep many times, but you can skin him only once.

There are things to gain from a relationship that doesn't require you going for the kill right off the bat. Let the relationship grow some wool, you know? That time — the growing process — builds trust. Tim Ferriss, host of The Tim Ferriss Show which is often #1 of all of iTunes podcasts, wrote a fantastic article (you can read the article and see my highlights here) on his process in building one of the most listened-to podcasts in the world. One of his practices was, "strategically leaving some chips on the table." Because by respecting his audience enough to not go heavy on sponsorships, only selecting high-quality sponsors and making them easy to skip, he's not skinning the sheep too soon. He's only asking for his listeners' wool.

Gary Vaynerchuck, world-renown marketing strategist and social media guru summed up his philosophy in the title of his 2013 book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. The idea is that you give three times as much as you ask. If you're giving, giving, giving, when the time comes for you to make a request of your audience, they are more than happy to give back.

Be careful of the temptation to turn relationships into fast-food experiences. You have to put in the time, give more than you ask and "play the long game." <-- I put that in quotes because relationships aren't really a game. But you get the point.