148: Jordan Harbinger – Secrets To Building And Maintaining Lifeline Relationships


“Even people with huge networks, they’re not thinking about what they can do for other people most of the time, and that’s the mistake.”
– Jordan Harbinger

At the beginning of 2018, Jordan Harbinger was running his successful company and podcast, The Art of Charm. By February, he and The Art of Charm executives had a falling out, and he found himself back at square one, looking to start down a new path. 

Jordan started The Jordan Harbinger Show, which had millions of monthly downloads in a few months. He was also able to host several interviews with top influencers and authors throughout the industry. 

But how was Jordan able to bounce back so quickly from such a problematic situation? 

Jordan says that he had been planning on this exact moment for years by taking care of his network and seeking ways to provide value to his friends and colleagues. So when he fell onto hard times, these colleagues were there to support him. He had his “layoff lifelines” waiting in the wings, ready to go when he needed them.

Today on ONKEN RADIO (previously NION Radio), Jordan Harbinger talks about what he’s learned since he started his new podcast, how he bounced back, and the key elements of keeping and maintaining one’s network. We also go over the importance of honesty in building lifeline relationships.

So if you want to maintain your network for the future and prepare for when you go through a career change of your own, then let’s get started!

Who Is Jordan Harbinger?

Jordan Harbinger is a Wall Street lawyer turned podcast interviewer with an approachable style and knack for securing high-profile guests. His show, The Jordan Harbinger Show, was selected as part of Apple’s “Best of 2018.

Hailing from Michigan, Jordan was a curious kid fascinated by the internet at an early age. He went to law school at the University of Michigan, and shortly after he landed a job on Wall Street as a corporate lawyer.

However, Jordan wasn’t interested in climbing the corporate ladder. But he was curious about a partner, Dave, who was never in the office. Dave spent his days at charity events and playing racquetball, and Jordan always wondered how Dave could keep his job.

Dave told Jordan that he brought in business for the firm. To do that, he didn’t sit at his desk: he spent his time building and managing personal relationships. After hard work and intelligence, Jordan felt like he was learning a “secret third path” that nobody ever talked about.

This kicked off an obsession with body language and non-verbal communication, persuasion, influence, social psychology, and networking. When he started uploading what he learned to the web, he inadvertently became one of the first podcasters.

Today, The Jordan Harbinger Show has over 11 million downloads per month and features a wide array of guests like Kobe Bryant, Cesar Millan, Simon Sinek, Eric Schmidt, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, to name a few. Jordan continues to teach his skills, for free, at 6 Minute Networking

In addition to hosting The Jordan Harbinger Show, Jordan is a consultant for law enforcement, military, and security companies and is a member of the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

But before reaching this massive success with his podcast, Jordan deeply struggled after he was fired from his old company, The Art of Charm podcast. Fortunately, he was able to bounce back from this, and today, he’s excited to talk about what he’s learned!

Doing Things Differently in The Jordan Harbinger Show

Before Jordan started his podcast, he hosted The Art Of Charm, which had four million downloads a month at its peak. During his stint in the show, he interviewed personalities like Shaquille O’Neal, Lewis Howes, Mike Rowe, or Russell Brand. Because Jordan wanted to take the show away from the pickup dating business that his business partners were running, they negotiated an amicable split that didn’t happen. Initially, he felt traumatized about the ordeal, but he now sees it as the best thing that has probably ever happened.

After falling out with the other executives, Jordan Harbinger brought his 11 plus years of experience, interview strategies, and skills to his new show, The Jordan Harbinger Show. He shared with me what makes it different from his previous podcast.

“I’m bringing practical exercise to the show. I always liked teaching the audience. In every episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show, I make sure the guest teaches us something. … I want to have them go, ‘You know, one thing I’ve learned in 40 years of playing the guitar is this…. That’s what I want.’”
– Jordan Harbinger

But before hitting it big and raking in millions of people who download his show, Jordan had to go through a ton of dark stuff, which resulted in him getting fired from The Art Of Charm. Luckily, he was able to alchemize his situation and turned it to be an inspiration for something bigger. He attributes this success to his ability to look forward and leave the mishaps behind him.

“My attorneys would tell me that I got a good claim. But I don’t want to spend the next 18 to 24 months going back and forth in court, reliving and rehashing issues with people that I should be grateful that are in my past. I have finally learned and decided to make sure my windshield is bigger than my rearview mirror.”
– Jordan Harbinger

What Jordan is trying to say is that by learning to leave the past, one can enjoy what’s in the present. We can look back at it, but we can’t allow ourselves to dwell on it. If we do, we’ll end up waking angry every day about everything. And nobody wants to be around that. Not only is it bad for you, but it’s also bad for other people around you. 

This can also transform you into this toxic person who feels victimized by those around them and their situations. Jordans explained:

“The victim mindset is designed to get people to sympathize with or feel sorry for you. The thing is, it’s easy to get addicted to becoming a victim because it feels so good to have people dote on you.”
– Jordan Harbinger

Ultimately, I believe that we have to take responsibility for our lives and where we’re at. I agree with Jordan that self-awareness is crucial in this scenario to allow us to move forward. 

This resonates with my philosophy of Identity Alchemy, which requires an individual to look and evaluate his current position so that he can analyze if he still wants to be there or not. This gives you a chance to deconstruct yourself so that you’ll be able to transform your life.

Secrets to Building and Maintaining Lifeline Relationships

When he got fired and struggled with his confidence to build his career, Jordan reached out to people who knew who didn’t hesitate to give him a “yes” for second chances. This allowed him to rebuild his confidence and trust he needed to get over the situation. Jordan calls these relationships his lifelines. He believes that it’s what allowed him to rebuild his life and enjoy the success he’s currently enjoying.

To build and maintain lifelines, Jordan gives the following advice.

#1: Dig the Well Before You’re Thirsty

Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty is a book by Harvey Mackay. It talks about the importance of learning how to network well. 

“I think a lot of us don’t dig because we think I’m never going to be thirsty. This means that most of us don’t build relationships because we think that we’ll never need them. We usually think that we should stop reaching out to other people and expand our network because everything is doing great in our lives. … This is the very reason why many of us feel awkward when we reach out to someone when we need them. That’s the reason why we hate networking and think that it’s a dirty thing.”
– Jordan Harbinger

By keeping your network and expanding it, you end up not only with social capital but good karma, too.

#2: Create Value for People

I would say that people’s most common mistake is thinking they don’t have anything to offer because they don’t have connections to a particular celebrity or a well-known person.

The thing is, your network’s unique to you. Despite possibly not knowing an important person, there are still many things that you can do to create value for them. Jordan enumerates these three ways to create value for people.

  • The first way is connecting other people to others in your network.  This means that you can introduce or recommend someone else to a person or friend who needs that person. 
  • Secondly, if you don’t have anyone in your network that you can hook them up with or already did that and want to help a little bit more, what you can do is to give some value to them. Send them some form of knowledge if you can.
  • The third tip, for giving people value aside from the introductions and sending them some knowledge, would be helping them form a presentation or get a talk of some kind. This is something that nobody ever really does cause it seems like either too much work or possibly giving you work that you don’t want.

Again, by networking, you can reach out to other people to help you rebuild lifeline relationships. Ultimately, by continuously providing value, you can also help maintain relationships.

How Honesty Can Alchemize Relationships

Whether you’re building or simply maintaining your current relationships, Jordan’s words point to one key factor in creating one’s identity — honesty.

Remember when he said that you could add value to others’ lives by connecting people within your network? While it’s right, it carries the risk that you can make a bad recommendation that can backfire at you. To avoid committing these so you can nourish your existing lifelines, Jordan suggested doing these things.

“First of all, it’s always good to have people’s reputations checked out. This doesn’t mean you have to hire a private investigator to know about the person you’re recommending. Ask or verify with those people who know them. … Most importantly, if you’re referring to somebody that you don’t know at all, you have to be very upfront about that.”
– Jordan Harbinger

You can also recommend someone without sacrificing honesty. Jordan referred to this as the “double-opt introduction.” This happens when you introduce another person to your network, only when they approve of it. This works better instead of just bringing that person directly to your friend to get them introduced to each other. 

Honesty can also help you turn down people without losing your relationships with them. Jordan believes that this won’t make you feel like you’re trying to get back in their good graces. He gave an actual example of how being honest can help you maintain relationships.

“Say something like, ‘Hey, I’m happy for your success. That’s happened in a short period. There’s a lot for me to learn from you right now, but I’m looking for people with a little bit of a bigger footprint. I have no doubt you’re going to get there in the next few months or years. Please keep in touch and let me know if I can help you in some other way.’ … You may not be a good fit for the show right now, but who knows in the future?”
– Jordan Harbinger

And the truth is you never know — the person you used to underestimate can always be the next big thing.

Be a Creative Alchemist With Jordan Harbinger

Alchemy is defined as taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.

With that being said, I define Creative Alchemy as using the process of creativity to create a lens through which to perform alchemy. These principles not only apply to artists and creatives in their own creative processes but to anyone who wants to make an extraordinary life in color for themselves. It’s essential to alchemize your thoughts, emotions, and other inner blocks to create life’s masterpieces.

Jordan has been an excellent guest, and I am grateful for his time with us. Not only did we learn how to create and sustain relationships, but we also received a few pointers on how to tap into our Creative Alchemy.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or just a person searching for ways to make notable changes in your life, make sure to connect with Jordan via his website. He’s also on Instagram, and his shows are available on YouTube, too.

If you enjoyed today’s show, please take a screenshot and tag me, @nickonken, and Jordan, @jordanharbinger, on Instagram. Please leave a comment on Apple Podcasts — I’d appreciate hearing from you.

Remember, never stop networking and providing value to other people. 

Until next time.

Nick Onken

”Reach out to the people that you know are going to say yes because you don’t want to end up at the end of your rope [feeling like you’re] out of luck everywhere.”
– Jordan Harbinger

Some things we learn in this podcast:

  • What happened to Jordan in the last three months that changed his entire career [3:20]
  • When is the best time to pivot and change where you are [5:00]
  • Jordan’s “layoff lifelines” drill for before you look for new work [6:05]
  • Why you should always operate under the assumption that you have something to offer [11:45]
  • How to ensure your network remains strong and you don’t hurt your or others reputation [14:55]
  • How to stay amicable when unwarranted introductions come your way [20:45]
  • The other ways you can provide value if you don’t have any new introductions in your network [23:30]
  • What Jordan’s process was when he had to start over finding his new job [28:50]
  • Why digging the well before you’re thirsty will pay off for you, even if you think it won’t [32:50]
  • What Jordan learned from his last show that has made his current show better [34:05]
  • Why you need to make your windshield bigger than your rear-view mirror [36:55]
  • Jordan’s all-time top three books [44:40]

Links mentioned:

Connect with Jordan Harbinger on Instagram | Twitter | The Jordan Harbinger Show

A FREE email series to create a personal visual brand authentic to who you are.

  • Accelerate your personal brand growth through the Identity Alchemy Method
  • Discover the authentic stories you want to share with your audience
  • Build your personal brand vision and crystallize it with a photoshoot
  • Learn how to ideate and create storytelling visual assets to enhance and up-level your personal brand
  • .. PLUS! You’ll get access my brand building book recs and favorite resources

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.