Don’t Just Build Relationships, Nurture Them
I have tried to write this post the last few months, but I each time I write tears roll out my eyes. It is about a lesson that I learned the hard way.
A year ago when I just joined Twitter, I was very lucky to have many Twitter Elites as my mentors, and @imadnaffa was one of them. I felt really special because he had around 40,000 followers at that time. It was a big deal for a newbie who only had 40 followers. We would exchange DMs everyday and Skype once in a while. I still remember he was always too busy to go out for lunch and I would tease him with my yummy food. Imad was a hard working man with a great heart. Whoever says Twitter friends are not real are wrong. He was a big brother, a father, a teacher to me. We were looking forward to meet each other in real life at TEDxCanton. It was the good old days before I became Miss Popular.
In the beginning of this year, I became much more recognized by the Torontonian Social Media community. I was the face you would see at every event. Everything has its price. To be Miss Popular that everyone loves, I spent less and less time talking to the people in my life, and Imad was one of them. I was always too busy going to another exclusive launch party, building new relationships and ignored every Skype call from Imad. I was too busy responding mentions from stranger and ignored Imad’s DM. I was too busy being popular, and forgot my friend.
On Friday September 2, 2011, I sent Imad a message
“Hey buddy, we have not talked in a long time, We should catch up sometime next week”
Imad DMed me back and promised he will explain more about the meaning of “Twitter élite” to me soon via Skype. Sadly that Skype call never happened. On Tuesday September 6, the second-most influential construction industry tweeter passed away at the age of 49. I did not know what to say when I heard the news from Lonnie Hodge [@lonniehodge].
Now when I have no events to go, no people to impress; my friend is no longer here with me. It was too late.
I was too busy building relationships and influencing people and forgot about the people who were influencing me. Without @imadnaffa and all my beloved friends, there is no @cammipham today. Don’t make the same mistake.
It does not matter if you have 60 000 followers, if you no longer have anyone to share it with. Building relationship is important but nurturing relationship is more important. It is why you build relationship in the first place. It is like buying a cute pair of Jimmy Choo shoes and never wear them. There is no value if you just build something and forget about it. You cannot start a company, walk away and come back 5 years later expecting few hundreds million dollars. Same rule applies to the business of relationship.
Fame, power and wealth will fade. The only people will stay next to you when you have nothing is the people you invest in today.
Imad’s death changed me in many ways:
- I don’t go to every event I get invited anymore. Brands might need me but my family and friends need me more
- I put away my phone when I talk to people. My family and friends deserve my attention. Replying a mention late will not hurt anyone.
- I reach out and try to reconnect with people who are in my life
Imad, I am sorry I was not a good friend. Thank you for all the lessons you taught me. I hope in heaven the angels are taking care of you. You know no matter where you are, you are always in my heart.
You can shed tears that he is gone,
or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him only that he is gone,
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what he’d want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on
David Harkins – Revised Version