Three Pillars of Success: The Third is Be Nice

If you are just joining us you may want to check out the prior posts with the First Pillar and Second Pillar before continuing.

The third pillar of success is to be nice. There are many aspects of being nice – the first being not to burn bridges. Whether you are leaving a job, a relationship, a friendship, a neighborhood, or a volunteer gig, it may be tempting to burn a bridge as you leave especially if they did not treat you well. However, you do not know how you might need that job or that relationship or those people sometime in the future so it is not in your benefit to burn that bridge.

The second part of being nice is building bridges — or networking. It has amazed me over the years how the networks I have laid out have helped me. A relationship you built ten years ago may not have seemed all that important until you are interviewing for a job and the person on the other side of the interview table is that person. At that point you are glad you were nice to them BEFORE they were someone you needed to help you . Being nice can never be underestimated.

The company that I started in 1998 came from a casual relationship where I was being nice. I was part of a networking group and met a woman who lived in the city with her two kids. I lived on a farm and thought it may be fun for her kids to enjoy a farm so I invited her to visit. We gathered eggs and pet cows and enjoyed some grilled cheese for lunch. It was not a fancy lunch but a year later I discovered it was a very important business lunch. At that point, that stay at home mom was now working for a business called Signal which was later bought by General Dynamics. She had a government contract and was looking for a contractor. She thought of me and called me to offer it. That was my first government contract and helped get my business going.

I didn’t invite her to visit because I thought she would get me a contract. At the time she was not even employed. I was just being friendly to another mother who I thought could use a day out. Many times being nice will not pay off in this way but that’s okay too. It makes the world a more pleasant place. Have you ever noticed when you’re walking down the street and smile at somebody they usually smile back?

Be nice just to make the world a better place.

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