I’ll always remember a phone conversation I had a couple of years ago with a friend I hadn’t talked to in awhile. Marian was always upbeat and this time I found her weighed down by sadness. She had lost four close friends within the past year, all of whom were around her age—early to mid-sixties. Two of them passed away as a result of a terminal illness, but the other two died unexpectedly.

This spurred a conversation between us about the finitude of life and what really matters. It reminded us that everything we accumulate and work so hard for, from material things such as a house or a car to less tangible things such as writing a book or achieving a rank (Marian is a bestselling author and a network marketing leader), we eventually leave behind.

“So what do we take with us?” we asked ourselves. “How can we invest in something that lasts? In the next dimension, there are no cars or planes since we instantly transport ourselves through focused intent. There are no books or devices because we communicate telepathically, and we don’t need ranks because our advancement is clear just by the quality of our energetic imprint.”

If you’re wondering where this is going—and what it has to do with your network marketing business—just bear with me. We concluded that the only lasting thing we create in this world is our relationships, those delicate threads we weave to each and every person we meet—including the one we talk to during a thirty-second elevator ride.

We all know this universal truth: our relationships are eternal. This is because we are spiritual beings on a journey in a physical body. While you are talking to a prospect about your company, at a deeper level your essence is expressing its connection to the essence of that other human form.

Remember the famous “Top Five Regrets of the Dying” that went viral on social media? A palliative nurse reports that most people at the end of their lives wish they had spent less time working and more time enjoying friendships. (Thankfully, in our business we do both!)

For this issue on partnerships, we came to similar conclusions, except the leaders we interviewed did not have to come to the end of their lives to realize this. “The money is nice,” they all said, “but the friendships and partnerships this business is based on are by far the greatest reward.”

In our cover story, Rich DeVos explains how he couldn’t have built the biggest network marketing company in history without the partnership of his wife Helen and his friend Jay Van Andel.

“Partners” means we are part of the whole—the whole we came from and will return to. This makes each day and who we spend it with so precious—our journey here is brief!

To accumulate lasting riches, put people first and learn to build true partnerships.

DR. JOSEPHINE GROSS is cofounder and editor in chief of Networking Times.

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