30-second guide to successful networking

Here are two core concepts and strategies that should guide your approach to networking with other humans, regardless of your career or personal goals.

1) The time to build a network is before you need it. Don’t start networking because you need something from the world now.
2) The most effective way to build a network is by ALWAYS looking to add value: Connect two people who will mutually benefit. Recommend a business you love. Volunteer. Help someone get a job without the thought of payback. Mentor someone. Walk into a party or networking meeting thinking “how can I be helpful?”, and not “how can these people benefit me?”

Successful relationships are not transactional. Play the long game. Build relationships like you’re running a marathon, not a sprint.

Action breeds confidence

There is one outcome that cultivates intrinsic motivation: and that is progress.  Your psychology fundamentally changes when you believe you are moving forward.

Moving forward implies moving.  And moving means taking action, which breeds courage.  Your business plan or novel idea will not survive it’s first contact with customers or the public.

Contemplate less.  Do more.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll still get run over if you just sit there.”
– Will Rogers

What you want vs. Who you want to be

If you are motivated based on what you’ll have, you are much less likely to achieve a goal than someone who seeks to change who they are.

Researchers followed West Point attendees and found that those whose initial motivation was to “have” a prestigious degree were four times more likely to drop out before completion than those who envisioned themselves “becoming” more educated or valuable.

Focus on what you want to be first.  The “haves” will come. It rarely happens the other way around.

Happiness and Success

No matter where you are in the world, you’ve likely been led to believe that success – no matter how it’s defined – leads to happiness.  It turns out that the opposite is true:  happiness leads to success.

The question is: can “happy” be your default state – even before anything happens?

Sticks and stones

Let’s stop telling children the old expression about sticks and stones breaking bones but words not hurting. I barely recall my first broken bone, yet somehow I remember hurtful words that created long-term, negative self-talk early in life.

A few years back I made a New Years resolution that stuck:  I never keep an honest compliment to myself.  Provided it’s honest and positive, you will hear about it.

You are more powerful than you think.  Don’t underestimate the power of words to have a meaningful effect on people’s lives.