Lesson 1: The Importance of Relationships
I’ve never read about or met anyone successful who didn’t receive significant help from other people along the way. I know I wouldn’t be where I am right now without the people I’ve met and worked with over the years, and Frank’s life is full of similar stories: his family, Vern Jurovich, Rick Schwartz, Russ Horowitz…the list goes on and on. Two relationships in particular stood out in the Domain Name Journal article for me, though.
The first was his relationship with Garry Chernoff, who ultimately became his mentor. Reading about that relationship reminded me of two lessons I had learned in my own life.
Number one was that you can never tell who will turn into a life-changer for you. I’ve talked to a lot of people who I never talked to again, but I’ve also talked to a very small handful who changed my life forever. You can never tell the difference going in.
Number two is to focus just as much on what you can give to the relationship as what you can get from it. This is a hard one for me, and I bet it’s the same way for most people. I’ve found that when the relationship is all about me, though, that it’s not actually a relationship at all and, not surprisingly, it never lasts. Although Garry became Frank’s mentor, Garry sounds like he benefited just as much: “Frank…gave me the competitive boost that kept me going. I probably would have quit and settled into complacency years ago had I not developed a friendship with him.”
The second relationship that stood out to me was the one with his wife, Michele — probably because my own wife has played such a key role in my success over the years. Because we’re so different, she’s a great sounding board for me. Instead of just telling me what I want to hear, or what I’m telling myself, she comes at things from a completely different angle. She still doesn’t really understand what I do, but that ends up being good because she asks questions that I would never think to ask.
Like with Michele being “thoroughly alarmed as Frank sank all of their savings in domains,” relationships like these provide checks and balances that are absolutely essential. Frank ended up being right in that case, but if they’re anything like us I guarantee you that Michele’s concerns have been beneficial all along the way. I help my wife be more willing to take risks, and she helps me remember that I need to look before I leap.
I’m inherently both an introvert and very self-reliant, so cultivating relationships is something I have to consciously force myself to do. I do it, though, because I know the rewards are worth it. I’m still not very good at it, but I’m trying to get better at it every day.
This article, “The Importance of Relationships,” is Lesson 1 in the Lessons from Frank Schilling series.