New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!

New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!

Summit of Greatness 2024 | September 13-14 | Los Angeles, CA


Bozoma Saint John, Scooter Braun, and Keith Ferrazzi

The Power of Building Influential Relationships

Your connections will save your life.

The biggest challenge I see is that most people don’t have support groups.

You will not get to where you want to go without the help of those who know more than you.

Find people who won’t just take from you.

Find people who will help you build your dreams.

That’s why, for this episode of School of Greatness, I put together a networking mashup. Here are three excerpts from previous interviews with three people whose careers have been made through networking: Keith Ferrazzi, Bozoma Saint John, and Scooter Braun.

“Create a roadmap of individuals through whom you can learn.” @ferrazzi  

Keith Ferrazzi is a two-time NYT bestselling author including Never Eat Alone, which has become a staple among networking books.  His firm coaches the very top companies and individuals in how to practice vulnerability and emotional intelligence to create and develop powerful relationships.

Bozama Saint John is the marketing mastermind behind brands such as Pepsi and Beats by Dre. She is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Endeavor after leaving Uber in June of 2018. She grew up in Africa, went to an ivy-league school, and has overcome a lot in her life.

Scooter Braun is a talent manager, investor, and philanthropist who represent artists like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Kanye West and more. At the age of 20 he became an agent. In 2013, he was on the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. Scooter co-organized the March for Our Lives, the demonstration for stricter gun laws, in 2018.

These three people know that relationships are the key to success.

You don’t have to do everything on your own.

Don’t let fear of asking for help hold you back from networking and accomplishing your goals. Learn how relationships can help you get where you want to go on Episode 704.

“It didn’t matter where I came from. It was my connections that mattered.” @badassboz  

Some Questions I Ask:

  • Which is more important- opportunity or knowledge? (6:19)
  • How do we find accountability groups? (7:30 )
  • Were you (Scooter Braun) already promoting when Jermaine Dupri approached you? (16:33)
  • What did you (Scooter Braun) learn from So So Def? (17:10)
  • What are some of the big lessons you (Scooter Braun) learned? (18:40)

In this episode, you will learn:

  • About Relational Learning (5:30)
  • The three types of relationships you need to be successful (7:07)
  • The basics of creating a Relationship Action Plan (7:50)
  • How Bozama Saint John went from answering Spike Lee’s phone to becoming an Assistant Account Executive (13:20)
  • Why Scooter Braun dropped out of college (15:56)
  • Plus much more…

Transcript of this Episode

Lewis Howes:                 This is episode number 704, on The Power Of Building Influential Relationships.

Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.

Harvey MacKay said, “My Golden Rule of Networking is simple: Don’t keep score,” and, “The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships, and the quality of your business is no different.”

I’m so excited about this episode, because we just got finished with The Summit of Greatness 2018, our third annual event, and I’ve been hearing non-stop feedback from the weekend about how many key influential relationships the 1,500+ attendees all made with one another, with the speakers, the performers and all the influencers who were in attendance.

For me, over the last ten years, since I got started in online business, and building a business and brand, relationships have been the cornerstone of my business and my growth. It’s what’s gotten me in the big rooms, it’s what’s gotten me the mainstream press, the six and seven figure deals, the New York Times bestselling author, all those big things I’ve achieved have come through key, influential, powerful individuals that I’ve connected with over the years.

And finding those key influential people for your business, or your career, or your life, is one thing. Connecting with them and cultivating a relationship, is another. We’re going to talk about that in this episode, but if you haven’t been to one of my Summit of Greatness events, my annual event, make sure to check out my Instagram stories right now, and my page, @LewisHowes, to check out what happened this last weekend.

It was crazy! And early bird tickets for next year are available, so make sure to go to

In this episode, we cover how people in your life help you make a roadmap for where you want to go. Also, why you need to make a relationship action plan, the importance of an accountability group and how you can find a powerful one.

We discuss why you are never too good for a job, and the reason you should always bring your creative best to the table, and why you need to go all in and not let failure be an option for you.

We bring you Keith Ferrazzi, one of the leading experts on building high nett worth relationships, New York Times bestseller of ‘Never Eat Alone’, we bring you Bozoma Saint John, who is incredible at building relationships in her career over her track record, and Scooter Braun, my good friend, who has one of the most influential networks in the world, to teach you insights on how to build powerful relationships.

Before we dive in, a big thank you to our sponsor today, Now, I’ve been a huge fan of PayPal, I’ve been using it since 2007. It’s still something I use every single day. We get automated subscription payments through it, we [get] big payments through it, and it’s something I love to use for my business.

Once an attorney in New York City, Linda transformed her hobby of locating hard-to-find items into a thriving luxury consignment company, called ‘Linda’s Stuff’. What was once a passion project, is now a 100 person company, in a 93,000ft2 facility.

As a company specialising in high end previously owned goods, reputation is everything, and integrity and trust are a critical part of how the company operates. From day one Linda has counted on PayPal to give her customers confidence and protect her business from fraud, even when selling internationally.

And she has counted on PayPal every step of the way. When it comes to growing your business, PayPal is your payments partner for today and tomorrow. Make sure to visit, to set up a business account, today.

You can sign up for free, today, at Again, a thank you to our sponsor, and for those who are looking to grow your business, your brand, your relationships, this is the episode for you, Make sure to share it out with your friends, and without further ado, let’s dive in to the show.

* * *

Keith Ferrazzi:                 Our job is to create a roadmap of individuals in our lives, through whom we learn. And I was just chatting with you a second ago, I started a new, high-tech, mobile enterprise software company. I am so out on my own! But I’m raising money, I’m hiring individuals, I’m coming up with strategy, I’m building a sales force.

I’m doing a lot of the stuff I know how to do, and a lot of the stuff I don’t know how to do. I am finding mentors, left and right. It’s survival.

Lewis Howes:                 You are, yeah.

Keith Ferrazzi:                 So, mentorship, to me, is about relational learning. And if you think about it that way, then you don’t have a mentor, you have many mentors around your learning roadmap.

Lewis Howes:                 What is relational learning? What does that actually mean?

Keith Ferrazzi:                 Alright, one of my goals in life – you’ve got plenty of goals in your life, and we’ve talked about these, at lunch, I remember that great conversation we had – and then what you do is, you assign to your goals a relationship action plan.

A relationship action plan, as I teach in ‘Never Eat Alone’, had to do with, “Who are the individuals who will open up opportunity for me?” That’s great, but then the next question is, “Who are the individuals who will teach me the stuff I need to do to be successful, once I get there, and on my way to getting there?”

That’s a distinct relationship map. You have the opportunity relationship map, “Who’s going to get me that job? Who’s going to introduce me to the network that I need? Who’s going to help me get clients?” Opportunity network.

Lewis Howes:                 Which is huge.

Keith Ferrazzi:                 And then the relational learning network is separate. And I think both are critical to be curated.

Lewis Howes:                 Interesting. What’s more important? Getting a foot in the door?

Keith Ferrazzi:                 Right, right, yes, because if you show up as an empty suit, without the intellectual curiosity, without the inquisitive questions, which I learn from those learning roadmap individuals, the relational individuals, the answer is yes.

I mean, I guess I would rather get a shot at the job, if I had to choose one or the other, the opportunity roadmap is critical, but I have to tell you, you’ll never exceed, you’ll never grow.

And then, the third set of relationships, which we talked about, the lifelines, that actually go one step deeper. It’s not about knowledge acquisition, it’s about butt-kicking accountability, it’s that small group of people, those lifeline relationships, as I talk about in ‘Who’s Got Your Back?’, who won’t let you fail.

So, for us to achieve anything we want to achieve in our life, we’ve got to have the opportunity, we’ve got to have the knowledge and the wisdom, but then we have to have the chutzpah, the push, the drive, the accountability, that, frankly, most of us will fail ourselves and need somebody else for butt-kicking.

Lewis Howes:                 Exactly, and the challenge that I see with most people is that they don’t have a support group, or an accountability group, or a mastermind, or whatever you want to call it. So, how does someone first find that and figure out who the people are who are not going to suck the energy from them, but are also going to give and take at the same time?

Keith Ferrazzi:                 Yeah, well, it’s trial and error. When I wrote ‘Who’s Got Your Back?’ there’s a chapter in it that talks about the long, slow dinner, and I think, by the time we’re done here, in a short period of time, I want everybody who’s watching us, to have a relationship action plan.

So, you know, as we’re sitting here, scribble down your goals and next to every goal, start writing three to five people’s names, critical to achieving those goals. That’s the opportunity group.

Then, I want you to ask yourself, “Who, to achieve my goal, do I want to learn from?” Write those names down. Then start imagining, “Who are the people that I could trust, around four core characteristics of a lifeline relationship?”

There are four core characteristics of a lifeline relationship and, frankly, all relationships, but the tightest ones have to have four things. Number one, intimacy to the point of vulnerability. “Can I tell you when I’m really feeling weak? Can I tell you when I’m up against the wall?” Intimacy to the point of vulnerability.

Second is generosity. “Do I really want to help you, and do you really want to help me? Do we care enough to help?” Generosity.

Candour. “Will you tell me the truth?” Most intimate critical relationships lie to each other, and they shouldn’t. Candour and conflict avoidance is horrible, but candour is critical.

Lewis Howes:                 Why do they do that? Because they just don’t want to make each other feel bad?

Keith Ferrazzi:                 Placation, they think that that’s their role to make each other feel good. Look, I mean, I think a lot of it is that people don’t realise that relationships need to be leaned on, that relationships aren’t scarce.

A lot of people are conflict avoidant out of psychological fear of abandonment.  I mean, there’s a lot of insecurities and fear that drive our relational behaviours, and I have to say that conflict avoidance has to be one of the most erosive elements of organisational human society.

So, the fourth is accountability. But candour and accountability together make a high performing relationship. What I would do is, I would list three people that you have a strong enough relationship with now. Frankly, you and I have a perfectly reasonable and strong relationship. I call it a level two relationship.

Maybe we’re bordering on a three, but two to three is a strong relationship. If you want to go to a lifeline, which is, in my world, a three plus, what you’re going to do is, you’re going to go out and have a long, slow dinner, you’re going to take your armour off, and you’re going to say, “Here’s what I want to do. Here’s what I’m afraid of. And here’s how I think I’m going to get there. What do you think?”

And see how the person responds. Do they respond with candour? Do they respond with intimacy? Did they let their guard down? Did they respond with accountability? At the end of the dinner, are they saying to you, “Dude, let’s talk next week, because I think you should do these two or three things, and I’m going to hold you accountable for it, dammit!”

Now if, after the dinner, they don’t call you the following week, maybe they’re not the right person to be your lifeline, right?

Lewis Howes:                 To be accountable to, yeah.

* * *

Bozoma Saint John:       But this is why I love when we think about culture and connections with people and stuff like that. It doesn’t matter where I came from, or that I’d gone to this super snobby school, and thought I was the biggest thing, you make connections with people, and they saved my life, they fed me.

Lewis Howes:                 That’s amazing.

Bozoma Saint John:       Actually, because I was in Floridita when the wonderful waitress, who had become like an aunty to me, was like, “You need a job.” And I’m like, “I know. I’m trying to get a job.” But I was applying for these high faluting jobs that didn’t make any sense. Now that I look back on it, I laugh at myself.

Lewis Howes:                 You needed like an entry level job.

Bozoma Saint John:       Yeah, I needed an entry level job, and she had a niece, or something, who had signed up with a temp agency. And so, she was, like, “Oh, you sign up and basically you call them every night, and they’ll tell you where you need to go in the morning.” So, it’s like this transient work, basically.  But I was, like, “Yeah! Anything!”

Lewis Howes:                 Maybe $50, $100 a day, whatever.

Bozoma Saint John:       Yeah, it doesn’t matter, I was making zero money, so anything would have been good. So I walked in there, they laughed at me, because I had a great degree and all these experiences, I speak different languages.

Lewis Howes:                 Professor!

Bozoma Saint John:       Yeah! They were, like, “What are you doing here?” But they sent me out on jobs; I was a receptionist at a dogwashing salon on the Upper East Side; I filed National Geographics at this one place for two months, which was awful. I nearly lost my mind in that one.

Gosh! I did so many little things. Oh! I was a, what do they call them when you’re serving at a party, you’re wearing a tux? Catering! Catering! Yes, so I did that a few times, which, by the way, all of these experiences…

Lewis Howes:                 Take whatever a model does, catering.

Bozoma Saint John:       Yeah, except I was in the club, though. Got to know people, and all the clubs in New York then, which were just so fun and just crazy. I also made so many good friends in that time, because all of the assistants or people who were entry level at their own places, would get you into the party.

So, my good friend, Moksha Fitzgibbons, who is now very senior at Complex Magazine, I met him that way. Where I would  go to their magazine release parties, because they had one every month. And their hors d’oeuvres were free, you know what I mean? Open bar.

Lewis Howes:                 Oh, yeah! Of course.

Bozoma Saint John:       So I would go eat there, and it was great, you know? I was just hustling, just hustling it, and then one day I got the divine intervention, the call that said Spike Lee had fired his assistant, and they needed me to go cover phones the next day.

Lewis Howes:                 You were, like, “Oh this is my jam!” Or something like this.

Bozoma Saint John:       Man, yeah! “This is made for me!” So I go in there, I’m wearing the only grey suit I own, I’ve pulled my hair back into a bun, I’m wearing these little tiny pearls, because I’m wanting to look professional, and I walked in there and he’s like, “They sent me Miss America?”

That’s literally what he said to me. I was, like, all shrivelled down, like, “Oh my gosh! I’m going to get fired before I answer the first phone.” And he was like, “Who are you?” And I was like, “Oh, I’m Bozoma Saint John. It’s an honour to meet you, I just want to help, where do you want me?” He’s like, “Just sit down, okay? And answer the phone.”

Because there I thought I was going to be doing some big stuff, right? But that turned into a month of answering the phones. I brought him coffee…

Lewis Howes:                 So he let you come back the next day.

Bozoma Saint John:       Yeah, I got the dry cleaning, anything, lunch for anybody in the office. Whatever. Anything that needs to be done. I mean, I was fixing the copy machine, anything that needed to be done, I was doing. Meanwhile my dad is calling me constantly and screaming, right?

“You have an Ivy League degree! And you’re getting coffee?!” He was so pissed! And then, again, a moment of divine intervention, Spike had just finished writing ‘Bamboozled’, one of his films that, to me, is one of the greatest.

Lewis Howes:                 I remember this.

Bozoma Saint John:       Yes, it was pieces of just what racial conflict is like in America, and what it means and all that. A very, very deep film and he had finished writing it, and he threw it down on the desk, and he was, like, “Take a look at this.”

I didn’t know any better, I thought he meant, like, mark it up. Because here I was, I was an English major, and I was like, “Oh, let me just, grammar, red pen,” you know what I mean? And I marked this thing up, and I marked it up.

Now, I literally could die, sitting here and being like…

Lewis Howes:                 “Here you go, boss!” This a month in, two months?

Bozoma Saint John:       Right? How arrogant, like, yes, like six weeks in. I’ve been getting the coffee and the dry cleaning. Who do you think you are? You just walk in there, you’re going to be marking up Spike Lee’s script? Like, that’s what you’re going to do?

But, yeah, he came the next thing, he was like, “What did you think of it?” And I was, like, “Oh, yeah, I made some notes.” And he was, like, “You made notes on my script?” And I was, like, “Yeah, yeah.” And so, he just shook his head, and I remember everyone snickering around me, and I was like, “Oh my gosh! Now I’m really going to get fired!” You know?

And he goes into his office, and, like, and hour later he walks outside, “What do you do again?” And that was it. That was it! I had a full time job, I got promoted, I had a little desk, I became the assistant account executive. I didn’t even know what the hell that was, but I told my dad, “I have benefits!”

Lewis Howes:                 You’re not a temp any more, yeah.

Bozoma Saint John:       “I’m not a temp any more!”

* * *


Scooter Braun:               What happened was – I’ll never forget – Jermaine took me downstairs to this nightclub and he wanted to talk alone, and he got on this stool, and he’s so short that his feet were dangling, and he’s like, “Man, I’m going to get you living in a mansion, and these parties aren’t going to be there. Come work for me, at So So Def,” and I said, “Okay.”

So I went and worked for So So Def for three years, and dropped out of school. And I still remember when he gave me my So So Def puffy jacket. It’s kind of like a Starter jacket, with that So So Def and it had ‘Scooter’ on it. I thought I was the coolest guy in the whole world, because I was, like, “Money ain’t a thing!”

But yeah, that was a really great ride, I learned a lot from Jermaine, super grateful. You know I’ve had certain people who have given me chances throughout my career.

Lewis Howes:                 So, were you already three to five years in the promotion business when he approached you, or was that earlier on?

Scooter Braun:               No, no, I was a big promoter when he approached me.

Lewis Howes:                 Already.

Scooter Braun:               Yeah. We were the biggest, revenue wise, college promotion company in the US, and so we were doing really well.

Lewis Howes:                 That’s cool. So, you made a name for yourself and he was, like, “This guy can consistently bring in people.”

Scooter Braun:               Yeah, yeah. He used to call me his Lyor, to his Russell Simmons. So, Little Lyor, White Puff, I had a lot of cool little nicknames back then.

Lewis Howes:                 So, what did you start doing for him? So you’d learned a lot in this promotional business, it sounds like you learned a lot, you just like guerilla marketing, basically, but what did you learn while at the next level? And what were you doing, more specifically, for him?

Was it more marketing artists?

Scooter Braun:               Yeah, it was marketing artists, it was building outside campaigns. I was the vice-president of marketing at So So Def Records. I was twenty years old.

And we went on this crazy run, but when I signed up with Jermaine, he didn’t have distribution yet, he signed on new distribution and then we did J-Kwon, Tipsy, we did Anthony Hamilton, we did Youngbloods, we did Usher Confessions, Jermaine executive produced that, and that’s where we became close because we were in the studio every night.

Confessions Part One almost didn’t happen because I was trying to get them to come to the nightclub with me.

Lewis Howes:                 No way!

Scooter Braun:               And they kicked me out of the studio. Smart move, guys. But, yeah, I was still learning. And while I was doing that, I was trying to create my own artists. I was spending all my money on the side.

Lewis Howes:                 Is this Asher?

Scooter Braun:               No, this was early on. These are acts that people don’t know about, because it was while I was still learning. So I had this act OD, and that fell apart because they robbed a bunch of banks in Atlanta and the FBI shut them down. They got caught because our mix tape I put out they were posing, and the FBI finally identified them from our mix tape that we flooded Atlanta with.

And then I had this artist, Kayto, who was part of OD, who I was very close with, and I just financed everything for a long time, I mean, I paid for the mixes, the masters, the housing, I mean, it was just like I was understanding how to develop an artist.

And I learned a lot from that experience, because I failed.

Lewis Howes:                 What were some of the big lessons you learned in that, do you think?

Scooter Braun:               Well, I learned how to make records, first of all. I mean, I learned the mixing, the mastering, I learned the radio promotion side independently, because I was working record independently. I learned how to trust my gut at the right time, and I hear all the time of, “Oh, everything you sign blows up,” but I had a lot of failures before Asher Roth happened.

And Asher was kind of a new beginning for me, because it was the first time I did it without So So Def, so my back was against the wall. It was all my money, I had no income coming in. I refused to do parties.

Lewis Howes:                 You had everything to lose.

Scooter Braun:               Everything! I mean, literally, I will never forget, I’m actually moving into my new house, with my wife now, and I looked around and I said, “I can’t believe we live here,” because I remember paying for pizza with change. I remember I would order this pizza and then realise I didn’t have any money, and we had to wait till the next party the following week.

And I paid for pizza with change, and then I quit parties cold turkey, because I said, “If I have to throw a party again, I’ve failed.” So, I had enough money, when I signed Asher, to live for about thirteen months, my lifestyle. And then I was going to go broke.

And then I signed Asher and Justin within four months of each other, and I put everything into them. I mean, housing, studio time, paying for the tutor, paying for the furniture, everything, and I really believed in these guys, and it makes it all worth it now.

Because I was far away from home, I couldn’t go home. Well, I wasn’t asking my dad for money since I was eighteen, and I had to make it on my own, and the idea of failing wasn’t a option.

Lewis Howes:                 Did you ever think that one of them, or both of them, wouldn’t be successful in their own way? Or that they wouldn’t work out, and that you wouldn’t find another way to make money after those twelve months?

Scooter Braun:               No, I really, I really believed in both of them. When I found Asher, I knew exactly what he could be. What Asher also told me, though, is sometimes artists don’t want to be as big as you want them to be.

Asher was super happy being who he was, and I had this vision to make him the biggest artist in the world, and we had so much hype and he just, that wasn’t what he wanted. And he’s one of my closest friends, now, he’s my brother for life. And he just put out a video the other day, kind of chronicling the whole journey we’ve had together, for himself.

And it was really nice to see, because he just wanted to make music and enjoy his life and never really be famous, and he’s achieved that. And he’s done very well for himself, he had the big hit, he had the number three album, and it was a struggle for me.

Where Justin, Justin was, like, “Make me the biggest! Let’s go!”

Lewis Howes:                 Yeah, like, “Perfect!”

Scooter Braun:               And he was very much like me, and we grinded and he was a young man and it was a different thing. But when Asher made ‘I Love College’, it was in the basement of this house I was renting, in this c**phole that had rats everywhere.

We used to call it ‘The Greenhouse’, because the truth is, he was smoking so much weed down there. But that night, he wasn’t smoking weed, because he never smoked when Justin was around, but he recorded ‘I Love College’, and Justin actually was in the studio. It wasn’t really a studio, just a little c**p room in the basement, of my buddy who was doing engineering.

But we all kind of came up together, and there’s this really great picture of me, Asher and Justin on the front porch of that house. And no one knew who Justin was. I mean, there’s videos of Asher and me with Ludicris, and everyone’s hyped because Asher and Ludicris are in the same room and they don’t notice there’s this little kid sitting behind us.

Lewis Howes:                 Just chilling.

Scooter Braun:               It’s Justin.

Lewis Howes:                 There you have it, my friends! I hope you enjoyed this episode, all about the power of building influential relationships. How to build them, how to cultivate them, and how to add value to influential people.

This is a powerful one! Again, relationships are the key to growth in any business, and I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, make sure to share with your friends,, all the show notes back at the show notes page, you can check it out there, and let me know what you thought of this. Make sure to share it on your Instagram stories, and tag me as well.

Again, a big thank you to our sponsor, Make sure to set up a business account, today, at You can sign up for free, right now! PayPal is something I use every single day. There are payments that come through my account every single day, automatic payments, large sum payments, one-off payments, you name, I’m getting it. And we’re running it through our business account at

So, make sure to check it out. It’s a powerful thing if you’re a coach, a freelancer, it doesn’t really matter if you have an online business, if you have a physical business, you can check it out right now, at

And make sure to get your tickets for next year’s Summit of Greatness. Go to, for an early bird special right now. These tickets are selling like crazy! Check it out right now, and go to my Instagram page, @LewisHowes, to see how crazy this year’s event actually was.

Again, Harvey MacKay said, “The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships. And the quality of your business is no different.”

Are you cultivating new relationships in your life? Are the five most influential people around you actually positive or negative? Are they succeeding in the ways that you want to be succeeding? If not, make sure to take a look at that, and start seeing how can I cultivate new relationships, powerful relationships.

What are the rooms I need to get into? Who do I need to be reaching out to online? How can I be different and creative in the way I approach new relationships?

I hope you guys enjoyed this one, and, as always, you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!

Music Credits:

Music Credit:

Frozen Voices by SANDR

Melancholy by Ghost’n’Ghost

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