It was Machiavelli that said you should never use someone as a means to an end. I completely agree. This is why mutually beneficial relationships are essential for success in all aspects of your life. One of my favorite things about doing what I do is getting the chance to work along side wonderful people who work for other great businesses. Take Dark Garden in San Francisco. They have been around since 1989 designing and building custom corsets and couture. They are living proof that if you love something enough and dedicate yourself to your craft, you can succeed against overwhelming odds. Those are the kind of people I choose to surround myself with, and so should you.
If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. This humbling mantra is how I’ve stayed motivated to keep growing. Bring your ideas to the table and be willing to work harder than you think you should and the relationships you build will certainly flourish. I go into each partnership with a point to offer more than I take, not because I feel that I have more to offer, but because I want to show my appreciation for what is given to me. I certainly wouldn’t be in business still if I operated any other way.
On a final note, these are not just business practices, but lifestyle choices. I try to bring as much to the table as possible in all of my relationships. Family, friends, strangers… Everyone. As long as you can continue to give and give without it being a detriment to yourself, you will thrive with everyone around you.