This client started off asking about her fear of the dark, but it turned out that what she was actually afraid of was the things that go bump in the night. She was having psychic experiences but interpreting them in a really scary way. By the end of the call, she felt read to take the next steps and learn how to allow a deeper connection.]
I remember, many, many years ago (ok, maybe not that many. A bushel. A bushel of years ago), I was working for a restaurant company as a manger. Even though I would go on to become pretty damn amazing at managing people and operations later in life (like, half a bushel later), this story takes place when I was still really green. I had no idea what I was doing and my rampant insecurity often resulted in a horrible kind of false arrogance. I don’t mind telling you, I could come across as a bit of a douche back then. I knew I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, and, being the driven little puppy that I was, I did everything I could to learn the ropes. I bought and read every management book I could get my hands on and tried out every technique I came across, much to the chagrin of my employees. Some tactics worked brilliantly, while many more failed miserably. Over time, I learned, but these were the dark days of incompetence *shudder*…
One of the skills I was told I HAD TO learn was networking. In order to be successful, one must learn to connect with more powerful and influential people. One must get a mentor, and hopefully one that knows what they’re doing. One should ideally be part of a master mind group. And it all sounded so great – get in good with the right executive, and your career will skyrocket. Self employed? Meet the right influencers and your business will blossom! Yay! I’m a natural talker. How hard could it be to meet people and maybe get them to remember me?
Well, according to the books, it wasn’t hard at all. All I had to do was get my elevator speech ready, a 30 second description of who I was and what I did, grab a stack of business cards, go to some networking or business function and start schmoozing.
And that’s exactly what I did. I was 19, full of piss and vinegar, and ready to make my mark. Off I went to a business function, where loads of company executives would be gathered, just waiting for me and my elevator speech, because obviously, they had nothing better to do. Full of enthusiasm and with bright eyes, I’d rattle off my carefully worded and memorized speech, about what my job was and how the crowd of battle hardened executives could help me. And you know what happened? I fell flat on my face. The nicer ones were simply condescending, treating me like they would an idiot child who doesn’t know better. The meaner ones decided to have some fun at my expense, taking apart my contrived and fake sounding elevator speech, pointing out in humiliating detail just how transparent my approach was. I was almost literally screaming “What can you do for me?!” In short, I came across like a total douchebag. And it didn’t work, no matter what the stupid books said.
Fast forward a few years
Over the years, I learned how to ask for help in a way that actually got results. I continued to read and get training (a lot of which was, quite frankly, the same old BS), and I paid attention to what did and didn’t get results. I dropped the robotic elevator speech. I learned that if I approached people authentically, and with the relationship in mind, they didn’t always slam the proverbial door in my face. I learned that if I acted like a helpless girl, older male executives would jump all over themselves to help (I’m not condoning this, and I’m not saying it became my modus operandi, I’m saying I noticed that it worked). But while I got the job done, networking with a goal in mind (as opposed to just meeting and connecting with people, which I did very well) was never my favorite activity.
Networking as a self-employed person
When I became self-employed a couple of years ago, the real source of my discomfort became more visible. I hated asking people for help. And I especially hated it when I was asking not for my department or my employees, but for myself and my own business. I felt cheesy and fake and I was afraid they’d think that I was just trying to use them. What’s worse, as a blog owner, I started to get loads of requests from people who wanted my help, who came across exactly in the way that I didn’t want to be perceived. Arrogant douches implying that they would be doing me a favor by letting me review their “best seller” (anyone can call themselves a bestselling author), or by allowing me to be part of the next big thing by peddling their crap. I didn’t want to be THAT person.
Networking = Success
But, the fact remains no puppy is an island, and no business is built on the back of just one person. We need other people to succeed: mentors who can give us advice, partners who can help spread our message, peers whose shoulders we can cry on. You can’t do it alone.
Over time, I’ve been able to meet some really great people, and I’ve developed a network that has helped me to achieve the success I’ve had so far. I’m absolutely convinced that one of the things I’ll need to do in order to keep taking my business to the next level (and the next, and the next…) is to evolve my network. It really is true that having access to an awesome network can make your business or career.
The power of a Network
Consider the advantage of having gone to an Ivy League University. The real power doesn’t come from the prestige of the school, but from being a member of the alumni association. Candidates are often handpicked from the graduating class of Harvard or Yale. If you’re not in that group, you’re not even in the running. An alumni association is simply a network.
If Donald Trump lost all his money again tomorrow, he’d still be ok (again). Why? Because he knows a bunch of rich and powerful people who will not only invest with him, but will help him get things done. You can’t call in any favors when you have no one to call. That’s the power of a network.
Creating a Network
But, how do you find these people? How do you connect with them? And even more importantly, what the hell are you supposed to do when you do connect? How do you get them to help you with your career or business?
Can you use the Law of Attraction to attract the right people to you? Of course you can! But, in order to do so, you have to be ready. You have to feel worthy of their attention, you have to feel confident enough in your idea to communicate your passion, and you have to be willing to ask for and receive help. And that’s what this post is really all about.
I’d like to introduce you to someone in my Network – Mohamed Tohami (you may remember that Tohami interviewed me a while back) – a man who used his networking skills to get Jim Cathcart, the world’s most award winning motivational speaker and author of 14 books (2 of them actual bestsellers), basically a total legend, to write the forward for his new book The Pharaoh’s Code. Tohami had never met Jim before, but was able to convince him to help, causing other big hitters to jump on board, and eventually leading to Tohami’s book being listed as the #1 Best Selling Book on Amazon. I’d say this guy knows a thing or two about getting influential people on his side.
Introducing Story Networking
Tohami’s approach is called Story Networking, and it incorporates the Law of Attraction, which I’ve not seen any networking programs do. Note, he doesn’t use the same language as I do, but the principles are well represented. Story Networking allows you to make real connections with people who can help you. This isn’t just about making friends. It’s about getting results, but without coming off or feeling like a douchebag. It’s authentic and ethical and it works.
If you’re in a job or you have a business, you need to learn how to network. The better you get at it, the more successful you’ll be. Granted, it’s not the only skill you need, but when you get good at this, everything else becomes easier.
Learn How to Get Influential People To Support You
Tohami and I will be hosting a Webinar this Wednesday, entitled “How to Get Influential People to Support You”. I like webinars – when done right, participants get an incredible amount of value and are then given the opportunity (not an obligation) to go further by becoming a client or customer. With that in mind, and true to my style, Tohami is going to drop a buttload (my word, not his) of knowledge on those who choose to join us.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- How exactly did Tohami connect with the world’s most award winning motivational speaker?
- How to avoid the 7 common limiting beliefs about connecting with influential people (Yes, we’ll be going through these beliefs one by one!)
- There are no influential people in my area/I have no opportunity to connect with anyone influential
- Influential people are way too busy to open mails from strangers. I can send a mail, but it’ll never get read.
- I’d love to network, but I have no idea who I should even contact!
- I have no idea how to determine who’s actually important and who’s just blowing smoke.
- Why bother messaging them – I’m not nearly important enough…
- I’m just starting out! I have nothing to offer them; really what am I going to HELP them with?
- I don’t want to try and network, only to be ignored or rejected…
Oh, and as a special thank you for signing up, you’ll get a copy of Tohami’s report 7 Colossal Networking Mistakes You Should Avoid, in which he dissects his encounter with a rather spectacular douchebag, and explains exactly what this person did wrong and what he should’ve done instead.