Why Connecting Now Matters For Your Future
3 Powerful Reasons to Stop the Excuses and Start Meeting People Today.
I sometimes talk with people (consultants, entrepreneurs, sales professionals) who say they are having a hard time finding the time to network. The more I move along in my professional life the more that reminds me of people who say they wished they had spent more time with their children when they were young.
I actually can relate. When I was early in my career, I was in a marketing role (web marketing specifically). I believed that my future success lay solely in the results I got for the company over the internet. I rarely took the time to "get out of the building" and meet people… people in my same profession, clients, future clients, industry people etc… I must also admit that still today I can rationalize my way out of a networking opportunity.
As I’ve shared before, it was only after some self reflection on my career path that I recognized a more suitable path for me. I realized that to achieve the success I desired it could only come with and through other people. It was with this in mind that I choose to go into the sales and business development profession. My time behind a desk went down, and time connecting and communicating with others went up. Nowadays I spend a small fraction of my time in the office with most of my time is spent with clients, potential clients, fellow sales/business development professionals, independent contractors, industry leaders etc… If I am not doing this I feel it and see it…. BIG TIME.
No matter what your profession you need to make time for connecting. Skipping networking to solely focus on the tasks of your day to day job is like trying to spend more time with your family but constantly looking at your iPhone when you are out for supper with them.
It seems like the right approach when we are taken up in the day to day activities. But it is an obstacle that becomes increasingly hard to overcome as time moves along and most times cancelling the networking opportunity in favour of getting that small task completed never actually pays off. And we miss out on the long-term benefits of a growing a thriving, mutually beneficial network.
Here are 3 powerful reasons growing your network of connections is important, and why staying in the building is only shooting yourself in the foot (for life).
1) It will ensure you bring value to the market for the rest of your life. If you want to control your future, lower your stress today, become a mentor to others, bring value to the market, then networking is the answer.
Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone. —MARGARET WHEATLEY
2) It will keep you younger as you get older. As your network grows you will be challenged.
I get emails all the time from people in my network. Just last night I got one from a former co-worker. He is changing careers and his new career has a business development element. He is looking for advice on how to get started. I am there to help him. I hope he challenges me.
I look at an Atlantic Canadian icon by the name of Gerry Pond. Gerry retired from the telephone company in New Brunswick, Canada and invested in a couple of startups that spun from his connections while working. He later sold those companies for a handsome sum of money and is now in more demand than he ever was.
3) It Might even Make You More Money. As your network grows you will meet new people who will introduce you to other new people who will introduce you to even more new people. Who knows what collaborative ideas and projects might come out of these connections. Look back through the history of most successful endeavours and I can guarantee they formed from two or more people connecting and falling in love with an idea.
Success in Life = (The People You Meet) + (What You Create Together)― Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
There are plenty of reasons to avoid connecting. But if you sit back and think objectively most of them aren’t very compelling, especially when we realize the costs will catch up to us in the form of diminished value to the market, diminished contribution and self worth as we grow older, and even diminished income.
The good news is that it can all be turned around with a simple decision that you can make today… I am going to make and take opportunities to meet new people.
Question: What would be possible in your life if you had a larger, quality network of connections? Share your answer below.