Networking. Just the word can make any businessperson groan. For most people networking isn’t something they do for fun, it’s something they have to do to keep their products and services in front of other people. It’s the necessary evil so the doors of your business don’t close. When most people think of networking they envision a room full of people trying to sell each other stuff.
However, networking is bigger than just promoting business. It’s necessary for improving life! It isn’t just for selling products and services, it’s also for people who want to make a change, learn about something new, become more focused, become better at what they currently do or just find people like themselves to spend time with.
If you want to achieve something, hang around people who currently do it: network!
Your worst enemy is normal. Normal is what you are doing now. It’s what you know you can do; it’s what you have always done. More than likely, you hang out with normal people: people who are like you.
When the day comes when you want to improve your job situation, your financial outlook, your beliefs, or anything else, normal activity will drag you back down to…. well, normal; where you have always been. It’s hard to make a change when everything around you is normal.
Now, I am not saying you have to give up all of your friends, but you might have to give up a few of them. When I became a police officer I was informed that I was no longer allowed to hang out with felons. (They told ALL of us that, not just me!)
Why? Because we were to uphold the law, and we were to be an example of how to follow the law. They knew that bad company corrupts good people. When I became a police officer, my network changed; it had to! For me to be the best officer I could be I needed to live in that world, not just show up there on occasion.
The most important part of your network is the people. A negative comment made about your dream by a friend can wreck weeks of effort. Make sure you are spending time with “like minded people.”
If you can’t find anyone locally that does what you want to do, maybe you can start reading and commenting on someone’s blog, attending events, or sign up for a class. Do what you need in order to find a group of people that are doing what you want to be doing.
I was at a networking event last week and met a man named Eddie. He and I had some things in common and we decided to meet for coffee to get to know each other better. During a short email exchange Eddie revealed he was self publishing his first book next month. So was I!
Eddie and I met for coffee just this morning and spent two hours over coffee encouraging each other and sharing best practices. We both left energized! We also agreed to meet on a regular basis because we were on similar paths and we both need the accountability to finish our projects on time!
It’s amazing how easy it is to find like minded people when you decide to start looking for them. Sometimes the people you already know will introduce you to people in their network that are doing what you want to be doing. Other times you will just hear certain buzz words in a conversation that will inspire you to ask a specific questions.
With this in mind, take a look at your goals for the next 1-5 years. What do you want to achieve? Take a few minutes to write them down.
Now examine your current network. Who do you spend time with? What events to you attend? What books, magazines or online blogs and articles are you reading? All of these are a part of your network of influence.
Do you need make changes to your network? Do you need to remove some negative influences that might keep you from achieving your goals? Do you need to add people to your network?
Take control of your future. Decide where you want to be and start aligning yourself with others just like you. You will be amazed at how it will supercharge your efforts and help you achieve your goals faster.