Who are your Allies in your 10K HP Journey?
In an interconnected world that thrives on relationships, the importance of networking can’t be overstated. Yet, often, we limit our networking endeavours to specific groups or events, thus potentially overlooking a plethora of valuable connections that exist all around us.
Each individual we encounter—be it a barista at our favourite coffee shop, the mailman who delivers our packages, or the mechanic who fine-tunes our car—has a unique life story, a different set of experiences, and potentially, vast untapped knowledge. Treating each person we meet as a potential networking connection isn’t just an excellent career strategy; it’s a way of embracing the diversity of human experience and fostering a culture of mutual respect and shared growth.
In this blog post, we will dive deep into the importance of networking with everyone around us. We will explore why and how we should broaden our networking horizons beyond industry events and LinkedIn connections, to include the wide range of individuals we interact with in our daily lives. The journey towards becoming a truly universal networker begins here.
Your Existing Contacts: Friends and Family
Our existing connections, which predominantly consist of friends and family, typically form the core of our network. These are the people who have journeyed with us over the years, sharing our personal milestones and experiences. They tend to be our most loyal advocates, often genuinely invested in our well-being and success.
The essence of networking isn’t simply about extending your contact list; it’s fundamentally about nurturing and sustaining relationships that already exist in your sphere. Engaging with our existing contacts, therefore, is as critical as establishing new ones.
The good news? You’re already an expert at maintaining these relationships—after all, these individuals are already part of your life. Now, it’s just about integrating the networking values and principles we’ve discussed into these existing relationships.
The fundamental rule to remember here is to ALWAYS KEEP UP-TO-DATE CONTACT INFORMATION. Think about all the acquaintances from your past—elementary school buddies, middle school companions, high school friends. Even if not all of them have accomplished great feats, each one of them possesses unique knowledge, experiences, and networks that you don’t have. The wealth of potential connections lost by not keeping in touch is quite staggering.
Consequently, the next essential step is to consistently reach out and touch base with your contacts. Depending on the relationship, sending a friendly email or making a catch-up call once a year or so could suffice. This doesn’t have to involve deep, lengthy conversations; the goal is simply to let them know you’re still around and still care. Over time, you’ll also have a better understanding of how they might assist you should the need arise.
During this process, it’s crucial to uphold the 6 core networking values we’ve outlined earlier. These values should become second nature, forming the backbone of your interaction style. Always strive to create an atmosphere that reassures your contacts that they can count on you for support. The focus should be on offering assistance to others—a mindset that often brings about reciprocity.
In essence, being a reliable, caring friend often translates to reaping the rewards of solid friendships.
As for family, they form an enduring part of your life network. They are your lifelong support system, typically willing to extend substantial care and help. It’s easy to take this unconditional support for granted and only foster these relationships when we need assistance. However, it’s essential to continually invest in family ties without any ulterior motives. After all, the goal is not to be the family member who only shows up when in need but to be an integral part of the family network that values and respects each other’s individuality and contributions.
In the Work Environment: Coworkers, Superiors and Janitors
The workplace presents a dynamic landscape teeming with diverse individuals. However, our perception of these individuals often extends only to their designated roles: “the person who shares my cubicle” or “the one who’s always on loud phone calls.” By viewing them merely as part of the office backdrop, we fail to acknowledge their worth as individuals.
In a company comprising 50 employees, most individuals tend to interact closely with only around ten coworkers. Just because you naturally gravitate towards a select few doesn’t mean the others cease to be human or undeserving of your attention. It’s crucial to foster positive relationships with everyone in your workplace, whether through casual conversations or a simple, warm greeting. A genuine smile can work wonders in a stress-laden environment, offering a much-needed breath of fresh air.
This approach extends to your superiors and subordinates alike. When interacting with higher-ups, exhibit confidence and approachability, apologizing respectfully for any mistakes. When dealing with subordinates, eschew arrogance and display the same confidence and empathy. A leader who can admit faults will likely earn more respect and inspire greater effort from their team.
Prove your mettle through your work. Instead of resenting your current role or responsibilities, strive to excel at them and demonstrate your capabilities. Request additional tasks, as your enthusiasm can inspire a positive work culture among your team, thereby boosting overall productivity. Remember, in the workplace and beyond, attitude is everything.
Maintaining relationships with peers requires a tad more finesse, as they may view your hard work as a strategic move to win over superiors. However, consistently exhibiting integrity and offering assistance can allay such suspicions. They will recognize your dedication and accept your work ethic as part of your character.
Remember, authenticity is paramount. Display genuine work ethics instead of merely pretending. In the event of colleagues disliking you despite your best efforts, recognize that as their personal issue. You can even offer advice to colleagues, guiding them towards better performance and reduced complaints.
Referring back to our pit analogy, if you support your coworkers in their upward trajectory (even if they surpass you), you earn a supportive superior who values your contribution. They may recommend you for opportunities or provide glowing references to prospective employers. Over time, you find yourself achieving your career goals, surrounded by a network of positive relationships.
In your pursuit of growth, focus on uplifting others as well. Competing yields short-term victories, whereas collaborative success paves the way for long-term accomplishments.
Let’s not overlook the often-undervalued roles, such as the janitors. People in such positions possess a wealth of experiences, networks, and potential opportunities that you may not be aware of. Moreover, they’re typically easy to connect with—a simple smile, greeting, or inquiry about their day can brighten their spirits. This connection can yield unexpected opportunities, once again proving the power of being genuinely nice in all interactions.
Harnessing the power of random networking requires a certain flair, as it involves creating connections in the most ordinary places – the library, the elevator, or even while waiting for a bus. These spontaneous interactions can be the catalyst for remarkable opportunities. Rather than passively awaiting chances, proactive networking enables you to create a myriad of possibilities for yourself.
Initiating these interactions need not involve a profound conversation; indeed, the beauty lies in its simplicity. Recognize that there’s no risk involved—fear of rejection, or the “harmless dragon,” is often exaggerated in such scenarios. A simple comment on your surroundings, the weather, or any shared experience can break the ice. Once this initial contact is made, introduce yourself, always accompanied by a warm smile and a handshake, if it feels appropriate.
The individual may reciprocate, or they may seem slightly taken aback. Regardless, remain respectful, confident, and cheerful. After introductions, facilitate a light conversation by asking about their life or sharing bits about your own.
As the interaction progresses, you might form an opinion about the person (and vice versa), which can dictate whether this will be a fleeting encounter or the beginning of a lasting connection. If you enjoyed the interaction, express your interest in staying connected by suggesting an exchange of contact details. An empathetic approach like, “It’s been really great meeting you. How about we exchange contact info and keep in touch occasionally? I’d love to hear how your project turns out,” can pave the way for future connections.
Most individuals, having comfortably conversed up to this point, will readily agree to stay connected. This interaction can then be recorded in your networking database. In the era of digital networking, LinkedIn or Facebook can be effective platforms for maintaining these newfound connections. Simply knowing their name can establish a link, ensuring you’re virtually connected.
After your conversation concludes, express your pleasure in meeting them, while reinforcing their importance by remembering and mentioning their name.
Though random networking may seem unconventional, many successful business partnerships and employment opportunities have sprouted from these unexpected interactions. Projecting confidence and competence can make others perceive you as a valuable addition to their network. Stay optimistic and approachable to ensure others have a positive impression of you. After all, strong networking stems from these fundamentals. Remember, no matter where you are, there’s always someone new to meet.
Professional events constitute a pivotal arena for establishing and expanding your professional network. At these gatherings, you encounter individuals who are proactive, focused, and most importantly, as interested in networking as you are. These events, encompassing speaker events, trade shows, and networking sessions, attract individuals intent on furthering their professional journey.
Attending as many professional events as possible is highly recommended. Ensure to carry an ample supply of business cards for these occasions to help people remember you.
Being proactive and exuding confidence is paramount at professional events. As attendees are often on the lookout for new connections, portraying yourself as a viable networking opportunity is crucial. At this juncture, discard any lingering fear of rejection—the “harmless dragon.” Approach potential contacts, introduce yourself, and engage in mutually beneficial conversations. Your aim should be to form a few solid relationships rather than superficially connecting with everyone. This approach enables you to naturally follow up with a greeting email later.
Each interaction should ideally last 3-5 minutes, mirroring the dynamic of random networking but with a professional slant. As long as you don’t come across as arrogant, people will generally respect your confidence and treat you as an equal, irrespective of your age.
While exhibiting confidence, also display admiration for others’ achievements and be open to learning from them. Complimenting someone’s noteworthy accomplishments can be highly impactful. Most people appreciate acknowledgment of their abilities and achievements, particularly if they’ve been yearning for recognition. However, ensure your compliments are genuine and not sycophantic.
During speaker events, it’s wise to network before the presentation begins. Introduce yourself to a new contact and exchange business cards. Sitting next to this new acquaintance during the event can strengthen the rapport you’ve established, despite minimal interaction during the presentation.
Post-event, if you haven’t exchanged business cards, offer to share contact information. Assuming you’ve followed the recommended networking practices, they’ll likely be willing to share their details, paving the way for a budding friendship.
The event speaker also offers a valuable networking opportunity. After their presentation, approach them, express your gratitude, introduce yourself, and ask for their business card. Speakers often participate in these events to expand their own networks and are usually open to sharing their contact details.
Following the professional event, ensure to send follow-up emails to the people you’ve newly met. A brief note expressing your pleasure in meeting them and validating their email address is sufficient. Mention who you are and express your interest in staying in touch. If you’re emailing a speaker, reference points from their speech—this is appreciated as it shows you were attentive and value their insights.
When sending these follow-ups, don’t necessarily expect a prompt reply. Depending on the importance you ascribe to the connection, you might consider sending a second or third email after two to three weeks. Persistence, combined with sincerity and politeness, can eventually prompt a response, facilitating continued networking.
Conclusion for 10K HP Step 5: Build Your Alliance
In our 10K HP Journey, Step 5: Build Your Alliance, is the linchpin that unlocks substantial growth and opportunity. Networking is more than just meeting people; it’s about fostering genuine relationships that can propel you towards your goals, and in turn, help others reach theirs. The alliances you build can become your mentors, collaborators, or supporters who provide invaluable insights, resources, and opportunities.
By mastering the art of networking, you master your life’s game. Each person you connect with holds a piece of the puzzle to your success, whether it’s the knowledge they hold, the network they introduce you to, or the opportunity they present. Thus, mastering networking can open doors to uncommon success, far beyond what can typically be achieved in isolation.
Furthermore, networking amplifies the joy in your journey. By sharing experiences, struggles, and victories with your alliance, you transform life into a collaborative and enjoyable endeavor, rather than a solitary pursuit. You’ll find that success becomes even sweeter when it’s shared, and challenges more manageable when faced together.
In conclusion, networking, as part of your 10K HP Journey, is a critical catalyst that propels you towards mastering your life’s game, achieving extraordinary success, and maximizing the enjoyment in everything you do. It’s not just about who you know, but also about who you grow and succeed with, creating a synergistic alliance that accelerates your journey to the apex of accomplishment.
WOULD YOU LIKE YU-KAI CHOU TO WORK WITH YOUR ORGANIZATION?
If you are interested in working with Yu-kai Chou for a business project, workshop, speech or presentation, or licensing deal, please fill out the form below..