Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

What I’ve Learned about Building Authentic Relationships


For the past couple of months, I’ve been extremely busy planning and prepping for the Wine, Dine and Redefine event with a dear friend and business partner. I thought we had it all figured out—that people would simply come to us and purchase the tickets without us needing to hustle. That is, until my friend called me to have a quick coffee to discuss strategies. Just when I thought I had business figured out, I had to take a step back—and I realized that I’ve been doing business all wrong. (I shouldn’t say wrong because every mistake is a lesson learned.)

Here are three lessons I’ve learned in the past month:

Lesson #1: It’s Not About The Numbers

As embarrassing as it is for me to admit, all I cared about was numbers—engagement through my website and/or Facebook page. I would watch my google analytics religiously,and watch traffic increase (or decrease). I ensured that I posted 3 times per day on my Facebook page to increase post reach or likes, along with so many other unnecessary things.

I was missing the big picture!

It is not about the numbers. It’s about building authentic relationships with your tribe. When I started reaching out to invite people personally to the Wine, Dine and Redefine event, I felt a sense of closure and understanding. I talked to people, learned about and communicated their needs and wants. I finally understood what was important—it’s not the amount of posts you make or traffic that goes through your website that matter, it’s the people who want to invest in you!

Small leaps make up the big picture! (Tweet this)

Lesson #2: Who Cares?

When you start interacting with people, it can be a scary thing. I know that for me, when I started inviting people to the Wine, Dine and Redefine event, I was worried about what people would say. Whatever it was—a “no”, “I’m busy”, “Why are you doing this?” or “How much are you spending on this?”—I realized that I couldn’t afford these kind of negative  thoughts.

Be a ‘yes’ for what scares you! (tweet this)

I realized at the end that it wasn’t the answers I was afraid of—it’s how I’d FEEL when I heard the answers. When I invited people and heard their responses, they were actually happy, excited, and willing to pass on the message even if they couldn’t make it.

At the end of the day, you are the one who’s choosing yourself—not them.

Lesson #3: Magic Happens Outside of your Comfort Zone

When I met my friend for coffee, she told me what I needed to do and my heart stopped for a second. I had to go out of my comfort zone by offering free design strategy sessions to those who were looking to paint a clear picture of what their brand should look like. Talking about design wasn’t the scary part—it was merely the fact that I do not like talking on the phone. Don’t get me wrong—I can talk on the phone, it’s just that I don’t feel comfortable talking on the phone with unfamiliar voices. (Not to worry, I have an accountability partner who is helping me to bust through my phone-thing!)

I spoke about my concern to my friend and she said, “If you don’t feel comfortable talking on the phone, then you should offer to meet them.” And guess what? They ALL agreed to meet me!

Find a way that works for you and your tribe. (Tweet this)

We get this idea in our heads that we have to do things a certain way—which simply isn’t true. You know best what needs to be done for your business. That can often mean stepping out of your comfort zone, but in a way that makes it WORK.

I have learned more in the last month than I did in the past 6 months, and my key takeaway is a pretty simple concept: Stop whatever you think you’re ‘supposed’ to be doing, and look at what NEEDS to happen for yourself and your tribe.

Life can get repetitive, consistent, and complacent, which is why it’s so important to seek opportunities and take risks that are outside your comfort zone. I believe that we all make mistakes so that we can become better at what we already do—finding a wonderful way to build authentic relationships, a powerful presence, and a positive movement for our tribes.

Work for something that is constantly changing, growing, and evolving.

Surround yourself with people who are bold, brave, and natural leaders.

Do not be afraid to look at opportunities in life that are different, or even weird.

We are trained to view “different” as a negative, when, in reality, it often provide us with the greatest potential to thrive as individuals.

Life is too short to live in fear of being different. Be you and what you want to be.


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