Relationships Are the Currency of Change

I’m convinced we need to rediscover the role and value of relationships.

When I think about everything I’ve been able to do in life, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought possible. I had no idea as a SoCal kid that I’d end up as a major market sports broadcaster before I was 20. And no one would have predicted I’d end up as president of one of the fastest-growing private universities in the country.

As I think back on the books and blog posts I’ve written, the speeches and sermons I’ve given, and the podcasts I’ve recorded, I don’t see a list of achievements. I see the relationships I’ve built along the way that made them possible. Perhaps my most prized possession, next to my family and faith, is the contact list on my phone. Those represent the people who have helped me and whom I have helped along the way.

When I think about the change that needs to take place in our world today, I’m less convinced the solution will be found in another form of public policy, legal precedent or educational initiative. Instead, I’m convinced we need to rediscover the role and value of relationships.

Relationships matter.

  • You were designed to connect with others. No one was meant to do life alone.
  • Your community directly impacts your identity. It says more about you than you might think.
  • Your relationships tell others more about you than your accomplishments. Someone with long-term relationships is less likely to be perceived as an opportunist and more likely to be trusted.
  • Your success depends on your relational capacity. No one climbs to the top all by themselves.


How do relationships contribute to change?

  • Ideas are spread from person to person. However rational we think ourselves to be, we make decisions and filter information based on our affinity and connection with the messenger rather than the message.
  • Collective action can lead to substantial reform of unjust social systems. Just look back at the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. By leveraging strategic relationships, he led this country through a civil rights revolution.
  • Trust will inspire others to leap. And trust is only fostered within relationships.
  • Relationships will provide the strength to endure until the change is complete. The strength to endure is directly related to the ideal you hold and the person or people that ideal represents.


True, enduring change benefits others in meaningful ways. Trying to force feed change by using people will only result in your downfall. If you want to change the world, focus on relationships. If you want to save the world, teach others to do the same.