How many times have you been told, ‘you really have to network’? That networking is ‘essential for your growth and personal success’?
Do you jump up and down with joy at this idea, eager to get out there and meet new people? Or do you cringe with horror, thinking you’d much rather be spending your time doing something else you actually like, is more fun or seems more worthwhile than notching up a couple more friends on your Facebook page?
The adage ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ has significant more weight now more than ever. Jobs are taken before they are advertised and previously unthought-of collaborations appear out of nowhere to create new and competitive markets and steal market share.
Add to this, the challenges and pressure of coming up with new ideas to help us remain relevant and influential in a saturated business landscape and it’s no wonder most of us hide behind our computers and feel paralysed with fear.
But here’s the thing:
Who is really in your network and how much input or influence do they have in what you’re doing or trying to achieve?
How much do they really truly know you?
How much can they help you?
Or are they simply a “friend”, a “connect” and or heaven forbid a filed business card?
Now I agree that building a sales lead generation list is critical for the growth of any business endeavor, and there is no doubt the explosive social media scene has made finding particular networks easier – this at the end of the day is Networking 101.
But what about the network of you? You see, the right network of you is about having the right people and the right relationships in your professional and personal life. The ones that will help you grow and achieve your dreams.
Without a network of you, opportunities are missed, new possibilities aren’t presented, your thinking gets stagnant and the dreams and career aspirations you once had become unreachable. We change jobs, we move locations and suddenly you have to start out all over again. We find it hard to push through tough times, to get that job or that promotion, to sell that idea – to get noticed.
Here’s the bottom line – we don’t need more contacts, we don’t need more ‘friends’ and we don’t necessarily need to spend more time connecting online.
If all we needed was this, then every one of us would be basking in unparalleled success just from the sheer number of opportunities we have to connect.
It was leadership expert John C Maxwell who said, ‘Those closest to you determine your level of success, so choosing the right companions as partners in pursuit of your vision is an important decision. My advice is to surround yourself with talented people who will challenge you, help you grow and inspire you to maximize your potential.’
It’s time to create a new plan of action – one that puts you in control, identifies the right people for you and creates the right behaviours that will nurture your network for mutual success.
Get in control of your network and you will change your game, make the impossible possible and achieve your goals. You will find it easier to connect to people with ideas and dreams and to convert those ideas and dreams to action.
As Franklin Delano Roosevelt, former USA president and one of the greatest leaders once said: ‘I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues’.