Every successful business relationship is built on trust. Why would I do business with somebody I don’t think I can depend on? Strong relationships can be built in a number of ways, but it all comes down to one element: consistency. At its heart, consistency means that people know what to expect when dealing with you, that you’re reliable. Someone you can trust with your investment—whether it’s time, money or something more intangible—is always someone worth having around…so you ought to be that person.
Reliability comes from staying true to your principles. A person who doesn’t keep to a core set of principles is someone who has no grounding and wanders aimlessly. You might be thinking: don’t values change over time? Sure, life is a constant process of changing and learning. But those changes can set you adrift if they’re not grounded in a fundamental understanding of who you are, and why you do the things you do.
For someone just getting their start, this might seem like a tall order. I wouldn’t expect somebody brand new to the business world to have a core list of hard-won principles to follow. These values are something built through your experiences: the good and the bad. Usually, the hard lessons (and there will be plenty) are the ones that will best solidify your principles. Over time, you’ll find you’ve developed a set of tools that guide your decisions with confidence.
To get real success in this world, you’ve got to aim as high as possible. A powerful ambition can be one of the most valuable assets you use to grow your business. But that enthusiasm will likely amount to nothing without a solid set of values at the base of it all. Once you’re standing on solid ground, there’s no guessing the heights you can reach.