Life is an Affiliate Program.


I have often been asked for advice about how to succeed in life. Most answers to this question speak to hard work, focus, and diligence. This is good advice, but over the years I have come to realize that maybe the best advice is not telling others what to do, but rather providing a perspective change. I want to introduce you to a new perspective: “Life is An Affiliate Program”.

What is a traditional Affiliate Program? You introduce clients to a company that provides a service or a product then you become an affiliate and you earn a share of the revenue. This is great because it provides for passive income. Earning money while you sleep sounds like a dream.

Let’s assume that each of us has a bank account of achievement. When we succeed on a project, we earn achievement. The goal of life is to ultimately overflow with achievement. I think we can all get behind that.

Now, when we help another person achieve, and add to their bank account of achievement, we enter an affiliate relationship with that person. The more we empower people, teach skills, provide opportunities, and set them up for success the better able they are to earn achievement. And here is the affiliate part of the story: At the same time as they are achieving, you earn a commission on that achievement! The more people you assist, the more passive achievement you earn.

There is even a second-order affiliate relationship because your affiliates establish their own relationships, and you get some of this commission as well. However, you can also break these affiliate relationships!

Imagine your colleague has a great idea and instead of acknowledging their contribution you decide to pretend that it was your idea. This way your achievement account gets a big credit, but you have lost an affiliate relationship! Even worse, when the word gets out about your stealing achievement you start to lose other affiliate relationships as well!

If instead you credit your colleague, their achievement account gets credited, and you get a smaller share of that achievement now. However, over time as your colleagues’ achievements grow you continue to get a share. Over time this adds up.

Everyone wants to work with a person with great affiliate relationships. When you work on teams and help others to become successful, then everyone wants you on their team. When an exciting opportunity comes along, you will get pulled in. Not only will this position you to make further direct deposits into your achievement account, but you also get to create more affiliate relationships.

I was once asked what my greatest achievement in life has been. I have been blessed to become a husband and a father. Creating a family and making massive investments into these relationships – this has given me joy beyond measure. However, I have also been blessed with a broader family. Building Synthesis has given me so many opportunities to create wonderful new affiliate relationships. It is clear to me that most of the business-related achievements I have ever attained are from my affiliate relationships. And for that, I owe all of you a tremendous debt of gratitude. However, I think the most rewarding thing is seeing people whom you have assisted in life, those you have given a leg up to succeed and flourish and go on to become an inspiration to others.  

Life is complex and it is often difficult to know how to behave or what decisions need to be made. Knowing that you need to grow and nurture your affiliate relationships will always make it simpler to make good decisions. So, the next time someone asks you for life advice, give over the life hack that “Life is an Affiliate Program”.

Jake Shepherd, Synthesis Co-founder and Technical Director