I hear variations of the verse above all the time, from Theodore Roosevelt to Dani Johnson and, I have found that there is so much truth in that verse with regards to everything in life.
A lot of the time, people want to build their network and add a lot of ‘new’ people to their network but they forget that with great power comes great responsibility and most times, what we need is already around us.
What am I saying?
Remember the parable of the talents?
A nobleman goes on a trip and leaves 3 of his servants – A, B, and C with some money to trade with. To Mr. A, he gives 5 talents which at that time was equivalent to 100 days worth of wages (about $5000 today), to Mr. B, he gives 2 talents and to Mr. C he gave 1 talent.
This story always bugged me, I have wondered for the longest time why they were not all given the same number of talents, then I re-read the story and came across this “…to each in proportion to his own ability”
Long story short,
he gets back from his trip and Mr. A has taken his 5 talents and turned it into 5 more from trading, the nobleman is proud of him and tells him that he has been faithful and trustworthy with a little and he will put him in charge of more.
Mr. B has turned his 2 into 2 more, the nobleman tells Mr. B he is proud of him and will put Mr. B in charge of more too, then he gets to Mr. C who has done nothing with his, he takes out a handkerchief and pulls the 2 talents given to him and tells the nobleman how he is a mean man and likes to take what he has not worked for.
The nobleman gets upset, tells him how stupid he is because he could have put the talents in the bank and made some interest. The nobleman collects the 2 talents and gives it to Mr. A who now has 10…shocker!
And then makes this statement ‘For everyone who has, more will be given…so that he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have will be taken away’
What does all of this mean?
What I am about to say, may seem contradictory because I teach people to network and get value (clients, referrals, raving fans, cheerleaders, mentors, and mentees) from their network for a living but I am here to tell you the truth; you already have a network- we are not islands.
You have friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances. Granted, you may not have a Bill Gates or Tony Stark in your network…yet! But what are you doing with the network you already have?
- Are you actively keeping in touch with people you know?
- Do the people in your network know what you are working on?
- Do the people in your network know what you do for a living?
If you do not learn to get value from your present network, you will not be able to get value from a Bill Gates and Tony Stark network…honestly! You many get something, but you will not get all that you can get. It would be like driving a Bugatti at 40 km/hr on a racetrack.
If you’re reading this and feel like I am talking to you, don’t feel bad, a lot of us have the ‘shiny new thing’ syndrome too and I am here to help.
First things first, we have the network we have for a reason. Remember how in the parable they were each given talents based on their ability?
It’s easy to sit down and complain about how unfair life is, how absolutely useless your present network is…boo! hoo!
But one thing I have come to realize is most people in life decide and make their own way, most of the most successful people in the world have overcome some pretty steep odds.
If someone has a fantastic network and gets value from it, it’s probably because they have been working on it for a while and have been faithful with what they have.
The most important thing is to begin to learn to get value from and be faithful with your present network.
Before you go further, I recommend you download my Value Sheet, it has strategic questions that will help you identify and build the value-adding relationships you already have and, it’s FREE!
How to get value from your existing network:
1. Stop complaining and start doing
Accept that you have the network you have for a reason. Decide that you are going to build a valuable network.
2. Make sure you are not the leech of your network
Sometimes it’s really difficult to know how we come off. You may be a leech and not even know it. You may be that person that people run away from because you are constantly gloomy and complain a lot.
Tip: Start to be mindful of your actions, notice how many times you complain a day, make sure that you give more than you ask and strive to leave people better than you met them.
3. Make a value list
Make a list of the people you are frequently around, put a + or – next to each name. If you get value from a person, if someone is generally positive or if they leave you better than you met them, put a + next to their name.
If a person is always negative and always complaining, if someone on your list leaves you feeling sticky or upset after you leave them then put a – next to their name.
Tip: Some people will come up as neutral, neither here nor there or you may feel like there may be value potential there. In those cases, start to add value to them;
- ask them about projects they are working on,
- ask them about their goals and dreams and see if there is a book or article you could send them that would help, see if there is someone you could link them up with that would help.
- Listen for what people are struggling with and help without overwhelming yourself.
4. Stay away from the leeches
For the people that come up as (-) those that have a very strong negative presence, those that always complain, always ask, always take and never give, have a polite, gentle and respectful conversation with them.
If there is no change, steer clear. Avoid them as much as you can. If you live with that person, I suggest you limit your interaction with them and focus on building relationships with the positive people in your network so you can counteract the effect of that negativity
5. Look through your contact list
Look through your contact list and catch up with people you haven’t spoken to in a while. Do not take on your whole list in a sitting or two, you will be terribly overwhelmed and it is not sustainable.
Tip: Come up with a bite-sized way to keep in touch, instant messaging apps and the availability of internet connection make keeping in touch much easier than it used to be. Conversations don’t have to be long, just let them know that you haven’t heard from them in a while and you thought to check up. People are usually happy that you thought to check up on them.
6. Be purposeful
What is it that you want to get from your network this year? What relationships do you have to build to get closer to achieving the things on your list?
7. Do not take the value adders for granted
Most of the time, we take that friend who is always around, always supportive for granted. We feel they will always be there. Do not be part of the ‘you don’t know what you have until you lose it’ cliché.
Recognize the value adders in your network appreciate them and give them more attention because they deserve it.
8. What you have is plenty
You may feel like you just have 50 names on your contact list and you don’t know anyone. I suggest you start with family- who do you know in common? Who do those people know that you know? Then look through all the names on your contact list and ask the same question.
Get back in touch with old course mates and classmates, Facebook makes this pretty easy. If you just moved to a new town and you're literally starting from scratch, ask your friends if they know anyone that lives in your new city and start from there.
So, there you have it. I hope you got a lot of value from this article. If you have not downloaded my free value sheet, I recommend you do because simply reading this article will not build a valuable network for you, you will need to implement what you have read here. Remember that if you do nothing, even what you have will be taken away from you and given to the person who is doing something.
Get your free value sheet below:
P.S: If you would like to work with me to come up with a bite-sized strategy for keeping in touch with your network without bugging them or stressing yourself & If you'd like to start getting value from your existing network, click here to learn more out the 'Following Up Workshop Replay'
What action are you going to take to follow up properly with and get value from your existing network? I would love to hear back from you, so drop a comment below.