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#1 Key to business success: Relationships

"When you have a solid relationship with yourself, you master your relationships with others."

Merja Sumiloff

Relationship Strategist

"All relationships start with you showing up as the best version of who you are." I'm standing in front of a room full of start-up entrepreneurs in Zurich, Switzerland, guiding them how to build sustainable relationships with other business owners. The participants nod in agreement, and I feel privileged to share my knowledge and influence the future of these budding entrepreneurs of the financial capital of Europe.

On reflection, the road to international stages was not an easy one. To get there, I had to study hard, slay my childhood demons, overcome my anxieties and get clear on my message, in other words, I had to solidify my Inner Relationships before I could have sustainable success in the outer world. Every single business owner who wants to master the art of relationships will have to do the same. I felt that by having overcome my own struggles to a comfortable degree by aligning the 4 People Within®, I could then objectively test my Inner Relationship strategies with other people. I focused on results: Having completed the exercises, did the person have a deeper sense of who they were? Were they able to live a more authentic life as a result? Did their relationships change for the better over time? Did their familial or work team perform better as a result? The answers for those who completed the exercises and were prepared to change was Yes. Every single time. The next challenge was to translate the inner learnings to the outer world, so that it could be built on in a sustainable way. I had to come up with a formula, that would bring the whole team together. The formula had to be simple and it had to give instant gratification. This is the formula I came up with: 1. Be brave in getting to know yourself; good, bad and indifferent.

2. Learn some basic wording around who you are and what your boundaries are. 3. Forgive yourself and others for not being perfect.

4. Stop regularly and reflect back on your progress and express gratitude for it.

5. Repeat. Knowing that our outer relationships reflect on our inner ones, I continued to work with the formula. As my inner strength grew, the people and the external opportunities in my life changed, all for the better. As I went from strength to strength and the amount of serendipity or "happy coincidences" exploded. As the different parts of me aligned I gained considerable financial success, familial happiness and creative power beyond my wildest dreams, and within a few years, people started to ask me for my formula for success. Having shared the formula with thousands of people over 5 continents, our global family keeps growing strong. We get emails, posts, and comments from our audience on a daily basis as they share their success stories with us.

I am often asked to reflect on the best feedback I've received from my clients. There is not a simple answer to this, because whether my clients tell me "you've saved my marriage" or "we have just doubled our productivity and tripled our revenue in the 1st quarter", I work on the basis that all results have to be in line with the person's innate values and have to contribute to their life in a personally positive way. Nothing inspires me more than to hear the happiness and contentment in the voices of my clients. It is truly heart-opening.

That same sense of warmth fills my heart in Zurich as I end my presentation to thunderous applause and begin to take questions from the audience. I can see from the questions that this group of people is going to leave a legacy for the world with their start-up businesses. "Yes", I'm thinking, "the future is very bright indeed".

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