Do you know someone who just gets their network to do stuff for them all the time?
One of those people who pretty much gets everything they want from the people around them even though they don’t have an impressive network?
You know...the ‘surround yourself with people who support you’ kind
Starts blogging? Wins a blogger of the year award
Writes a book? Gets the biggest brands in the country to sponsor the book tour
I do, I know a couple.
What do they do that’s so special?
What’s their secret?
Today, you get to find out...
Not very long ago, I was seriously overwhelmed with how much it took to keep up with everyone on my contact list and frustrated because I was never able to keep it up.
Now, I stay up to date with those who matter to me, I no longer struggle with guilt and overwhelm, and have leveraged on my network to solve problems and get huge opportunities.
If you’re wondering why your network doesn’t work, and how to make it work for you, keep reading…
It starts with looking at networking, not as one thing, but two:
Building is all about new: meeting new people and starting conversations with strangers; while maximizing is about nurturing the relationships that you already have.
When is building necessary?
move to a new city or country
get a new job and need to make office friends
decide you’d like to switch careers altogether but realize you have little or no contacts in the new industry
You might say, ‘I don’t have a network.’ That’s not quite true: unless you literally live by yourself on an island (like Tom Hanks in Cast Away), there’s no one without a network. Proof? Pull out your phone and count how many contacts you have on your list.
I’m guessing what you want isn’t a network, but a ‘better network’, and just so you know, if you feel you’re stuck because you’re surrounded by people just on your level, keep in mind that peer-to-peer mentorships are powerful: the most impactful people in my network right now are my peers.
But what if the majority of the people around you seem to continually take and never give? Well, even then, just ditching your old network for a new one isn’t necessarily the answer.
Why? Because people treat you the way you let them treat you and if your network has a problem, you need to consider that maybe the problem is how you build networks and if you don’t fix that, you’ll simply build the same kind of soul sucking network again. Treat the disease, not the symptom.
Two types of people to remove from your network:
· The person that has really high expectations and is an expert emotional blackmailer; they expect you to come for every party they’re throwing and to call them daily .When you don’t you become the most horrible person that ever lived (I can’t deal with these ones – they suck up too much of my mental energy)
· The extremely negative person that’s constantly complaining and believes the world is out to get them; the ‘why do bad things always happen to me’ kind. They leave you feeling sticky and not in a good way.
When should you maximize your existing network?
1. When following up is tough: When you’re struggling to follow up with the friends you already have, do you really want more?
2. When you have arm-length relationships: you realise you have a pretty good network but either don’t know them as well as you should, or you’re not sure they have your back, because they don’t promote you or send opportunities your way.
3. When you keep on giving but you get nothing back: Not necessarily because you’re surrounded by leeches, mind you: maybe you just don’t know how to ask, you’ve never asked or you don’t even know what to ask for.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR NETWORK WORK FOR YOU
If you’re like most people I work with, your network is probably much more amazing than you realise, and can give you both answers to your biggest challenges and access to new opportunities. You just need to know how to really make it work.
1. Decide what you want from your network; what challenges do you need help with? Are you feeling lonely and looking for a people to have over for for pizza and a movie? Do you want people to bounce your business ideas off? Are you looking to become an expert in your niche?
We all know that if you aim for nothing, you get nothing. How can you hit a target you're not aiming at?
2. Pick and choose, research show that we can only maintain about 150 relationships at any given time (Google: Dunbar’s Number). Think about the people who can help you meet that goal or solve that challenge then focus on them because if you try to follow up with everyone you’ll be frustrated and overwhelmed just like I was not long ago.
3. Add value while following up with them – just because someone can help you, doesn’t necessarily mean they will. It’s sad but true.
How many times have you been asked for help but thought ‘what has this person done for me lately’ or ‘helping you right now is not my priority, I’ve got other things that require my time’ but on the other hand, have you ever pushed aside important things to do something for a friend?
There are people that add so much value to me that once they ask for something I happily help. That’s the power of following up while adding value.
4. Asking & Receive – sometimes people help us without us asking, other times people can’t help us because they don’t know what we want or need. They’re not mind readers after all. Learning how to tell people what you need/want in a way they understand is extremely important.
Learning to ask, is one of the most important skills you’ll need to learn if you truly want to make your network work for you - unless you want to keep sitting on a gold mine of a network or you want to start/keep feeling resentful because you constantly give and people don’t return the favor even when it’s extremely important.
Your network will only start to work for you if you first get clear about what you want from it then focus on a few people that can help and have a system for reaching out to them.
Get clear on what you want >>> focus on the select few/key resource list >>> have a system for following up
I look at networking as farming...
When you meet people, you’re planting seeds. Some seeds grow while some die - just like some relationship will grow to be more and some will just fizzle out.
When you follow up with people, you’re nurturing those relationships, think of it as watering the seeds you've planted and just like relationships, some seeds require less maintenance; it’s a huge mistake to follow up with everyone in your network the same way because doing that will leave you stressed and overwhelmed just like I was.
Only after you have planted and nurtured those seeds/relationships do you start to reap the rewards - free tickets, opportunities, referrals etc and some seeds bear fruit faster than others.
Meet new people >>> planting seeds
Following up while adding value >>> watering those seeds
Results >>> fruits
Following up with those key people is by far the best way to get them to give you solutions to your problems and send opportunities your way. By following up with my network and adding value, I’ve been able to get international collaborations, speaking gigs, free tickets and solutions to my biggest headaches.
Now I’m on track to double my results! It’s not impossible: you just have to be smart about it and most importantly, provide value!
If you want a ridiculously in-depth, step-by-step guide FULL of practical strategies for making the network you already have work for you, then Maximize Your Existing Network is your new best friend.
In the program, you’ll learn exactly what to do to stop feeling overwhelmed by all the people you have to follow up with but instead learn how to find and pick the select few in your network who are important to helping you achieve your personal & professional goals (even if your goals/needs/wants/challenges change constantly) and have a proven system of reaching out to them in a way that motivates them to help.
Comment below and let me know WHY you want a network that works.