Taking it to the next level: Building the network of others

As you build your own network, your circle of influence will grow. How will you use this new found influence to benefit those around you? Here are a few ways to leverage the people you know to support others.

1. Build a network with all kinds of people. Talk to those looking for jobs and those with jobs to offer. Talk with executives, students, managers, and individual contributors in all industries/business sizes. The more people you know in various categories, the better you can connect others to people outside their own circles- the ones they don't know, but would most benefit from knowing.

2. Your second meeting with someone, bring along a third person. You’re expanding both of your contacts networks and maximizing your time by getting a chance to see both of them. If you’re not comfortable with that yet, set up your meetings back to back and make sure your two friends get a chance to briefly meet, then you can introduce them over email afterwards to encourage them to meet up!

3. Create a mind map for the individuals you meet. A visual representation of their interests, involvement in groups, family members and ideas you associate with them. This will help you easily make connections to what they could need.

4. If you have an idea for how to help someone based on what they shared with you, don’t offer it right away in the conversation. Instead, make a mental note and reach out later with an email saying: "I was thinking about our conversation and wanted to offer this introduction, resource etc" This gives you another touch point and makes an impact as it appears more thoughtful. 

5. The obvious one...Introduce people to each other! Send each individual an email letting them know that you would like to introduce them to this person (because of xyz reason.) Include that person's LinkedIn profile so he can put a face to the name and read up on their background/experience. Then ask if they would be interested in the connection. 

6. Set up a "Friends of" group event. Chances are, your business contacts will like each other. It's also highly likely you don't have time to meet with everyone as you start to know too many people. Instead of "one on one" coffees, set up a quarterly event "Friends of Bethany" where you invite your entire network to come out and see you, while also meeting the rest of the people you know. 

My wish for you this year

I wish for you Joy. A deep, abiding gratitude for the life you are privileged with.

I wish for you Peace. For the moment and for the future.

I wish for you Patience. With yourself. Your shortcomings, insecurities, and failures.

I wish for you Kindness. Towards those who haven’t earned it, don’t deserve it and certainly won’t appreciate it.

I wish for you Goodness. Integrity of Character through and through.

I wish for you Faithfulness. To your duties and your promises.

I wish for you Gentleness. A tenderness towards others, coupled with the strength of wisdom and understanding.

I wish for you Self Control. To avoid fatal flaws that would trip you as you chase your dreams.

I wish for you Love. And this I wish for you most of all.

How to build a power network part 2

Building your network starts with building rapport. Here are some tips for starting to establish trust and respect with individuals you've just met.

1. Research people before you meet them. Let them know you did! It’s flattering and then you’ll be able to ask lots of questions around their life and work without it being awkward. This will give you lots of fodder for conversation and they will be appreciative that you took time to understand them and their world.

2. If you meet someone at an event, take a moment to find them to say goodbye. That extra touch will show that you truly valued the conversation and they will be honored by that. It also gives you a second interaction with that person so they’ll more likely remember you.

3. Be completely engaged and invested in the conversation you chose to be in. Use your eyes and body language to say you are present to the conversation. If you started it, see it through and finish it well. Lean in, repeat what they said for clarity to make sure you understood what they said.

4. In conversation, be careful on the affirming. “uh huh, yeah, that’s awesome” this makes you appear eager to jump in with your own thing to say, even if you don't have anything to contribute and can start making the other person feel rushed. Give people space for their thoughts and keep your affirming to a minimum.

5. Practice your handshake. Bad handshakes leave an unfavorable impression.

6. Talk with passion! If you’re going to share about yourself, share what you are passionate about. People connect and are energized by passion. So share your interests with others. Chances are, they would rather talk about your scuba diving (even if they don’t like the ocean) to hear your excited about it then falling asleep as you tell them where you're from and what you do in a monotone voice.

7. At a networking event, it’s much easier to strike up a conversation with an individual and not a group. Try to catch people as they’ve broken away from a group (to get coffee etc) or those who have yet to enter a group conversation. It’s difficult to build rapport in a group because you have to stick to general topics that everyone can appreciate and it’s too many people to try and connect deeply with. 

That's all for now. Keep building!

How to build a power network

In my experience there's been two crucial pieces to establishing a strong network of people who care and are actively involved in each other's success.

1. The Mindset

Work not just to make money or advance personal interests, but to build something of value for others.

Choosing to see my work this way has helped me bring a genuine passion and interest to supporting people with my skills. I'm invested and engaged out of a desire to see them succeed. This focus on filling business needs while caring about the complexity of the individual has helped me build long lasting relationships. 

Books that influenced this way of thought for me: 

Linchpin- Seth Godin
Conscious Capitalism- Raj Sisodia
How to win friends and influence people- Dale Carnegie
Give and Take- Adam Grant

2. The System: 

Just having the right mindset isn’t enough. You need to also create opportunities to connect with others and build relationships.  Having a system to do that helps create good habits and keep the momentum of growing your network. 

Here are a few of the things I do to expand my network and circle of influence. 

  1. If traveling, I’ll reach out to a few contacts and let them know what city I'll be in and that I’d love to meet interesting, influential people while I’m there. They often know someone there that I don't and will facilitate an introduction.
     
  2. I'll attend conferences and spend the entire time meeting the attendees rather than attending the lectures and sessions.
     
  3. I'll reach out to people I met, let them know I enjoyed talking with them and want to hear more of their story. I'll then set up a coffee meeting to get to know them. 
     
  4. If someone mentions they have an event coming up, I'll put a note in my calendar to ask how it went.
     
  5. I'll make introductions for other people.
     
  6. I'll write handwritten thank you notes after meetings with people.
     
  7. I'll find reasons to get in touch with my contacts. New things going on in their business, or if I think of them when I read an inspiring quote.
     
  8. I'll keep a google document on every person with notes about them so I can remember details about their lives. 
     
  9. If I meet people but don't build enough rapport to ask for a business card, I'll write down their name and then connect on LinkedIn later and start the conversation there. 
     
  10. I build personas, What kind of person am I looking to meet? Where do they hangout? Who else knows them? What do they value? What kind of personality do they often have? 

Books that influenced this way of thought for me:

Never eat alone - Keith Ferazzi
Networking is not working- Derek Coburn

Having a combination of the right mindset and the right systems can help you build authentic, trust based relationships that will make great things happen both for you and the people in your network.

What are you surrounded by?

You are a product of your environment. Don't be fooled, it's nearly impossible to resist immersion.

Be deliberate about where and with whom you find yourself.

Ask- What is this environment producing in people?  Who do I want to become? What is the likelihood that this environment will support that ambition? 

 

Martin Luther King Inspired

Does a man know he is making history? How does one find himself leading a movement? How many others saw the hurt, the need, the injustice and chose not to get involved?

Why this man, this time?

What makes a man defy overwhelming opposition with no guarantee of success; Where the moments of victory are overshadowed by endless days of doubt and defeat. How do you carry on when you don't have the end of the story like we do flipping through the chapters of history?

The courage a man needs to face hardship and setbacks must come from a strong belief and obligation to fulfill the cause he champions. A desire for personal glory is not enough. Conviction is an important ingredient to achieving great things. 

 

 

 

I mean you no harm

"I am not malicious or trying to hurt you. If I do hurt you, it was unintentional. Perhaps thoughtless or selfish but not calculated"

"You mean me no harm. You are not malicious, or trying to hurt me. If you do hurt me, it was unintentional. Perhaps thoughtless or selfish but not calculated "

My little sister was ranting about a friend who had upset her. She was adamant that this person was “mean, awful, cruel” You get the picture. I asked her a question which dissolved her rant almost instantly.

“Do you think she meant to hurt you? Is she just delighted you feel this way? 

Most people don’t wake up planning ways to make your day miserable. Really, they don't.

What would our world look like if we believed this about each other? 
 

 

 

 

How healthy are your relationships?

Awareness. Trust. Honesty. Communication. Teachability. Selflessness

These are pillars of a thriving relationship, and each virtue plays a role in good conflict. If even one is lacking, it will be a longer, more painful process to deal with problems. Which is why:

"The health of a relationship can be measured by the time it takes to identify, address and resolve a problem."

This is so important, I want to say it again, just differently. How long does it take from when a problem started for you to see and then resolve it? The shorter the time it takes, the healthier the relationship! Here’s how this all fits together: 

Step 1. Identifying the problem quickly and accurately

Awareness: To resolve an issue, you have to be aware of the problem. This seems simple but for lack of awareness, most issues are overlooked until they’ve grown into a big deal. A 4 year old tells you “No!” you laugh and say “how cute” but when that 4 year old is 14, the same rebellious streak isn’t so cute, it’s a problem. A problem which started a long time ago and wasn’t identified as such.
The other important piece is being aware of what actually needs to be addressed. It’s not the symptoms (which are often the source of your frustration) but rather the root problem causing the symptoms. 

Step 2.  Addressing the problem with truth and love


Trust/Honesty/Communication: To have the courage to address the problem you’ve now identified, you have to trust your partner/friend/spouse will hear you. Many issues are left unaddressed simply because you’re afraid to speak up. There isn’t enough trust that you feel safe to have a difficult conversation and to know you will walk away with a relationship still intact. So you shove away the feelings and hope the problem goes away on it’s own. 
Or, If you do have the trust, you have to care enough to be honest about what’s going on and present the truth in a way that creates a safe space for good dialogue (clearing up miscommunications, hearing each other and sharing your feelings) You have to present your frustrations tactfully so the offender doesn’t feel the need to become defensive. 

Step 3. Resolving the problem with regard for the other person.

Teachability/Selflessness: Once you’ve addressed the problem, You need to be teachable; willing to hear another side, willing to change your assumptions and willing to come to an agreement. To truly resolve a problem, you both have to want what’s best for the other person.Then the issue can be handled and the relationship continue in it’s healthiest state. 

Each of these steps in dealing with an issue can indicate what areas you or your partner may need to improve in order to deal with problems in the best and quickest way possible. 

Here’s to better conflict for healthier relationships!

Be a five star client

You rely on others to help you with your business... are you giving that person the tools and environment to succeed? Or have you tied his hands behind his back, made his life difficult, demanded unreasonable things and been unsure of what you want?

Good business works both ways. Approach being a client with the same level of excellence you would leading your team, and you’ll get better results. 

A few key areas to focus on: 

Clarity -What are you hoping this project will do for you?
Tell your service provider what you hope to see happen from this project. Give him an understanding of how this meets your goals so he can partner with you on that. What are you assuming? Be over-explicit in your directions. Are you sure? Don’t constantly change your mind in the middle of the project. Be sure of your decisions and give him changes all at once.

Support- To accomplish your project, you won’t be able to completely let go and forget about it. You'll need to support and encourage the outcome. Be available for questions and ask how you can help with the project. A partner approach will keep you on track and moving in the right direction. 

Expertise- Be available, but also willing to let go of the controls. Sure you took a class on accounting and maybe have a working knowledge of the field, but do you really think you know more than your CPA who spent years in school? Have some respect for his expertise and give him the space to do his work well.

Checkpoints- All projects need course correction. Even if you love his previous work he'll probably get off track at some point just because he can’t see inside your mind. So set up consistent check points to review what’s been done so far and what pivots need to be made. This will ensure you get what you actually want and you'll save yourself resources and frustration. Have those meetings with the expressed purpose of making changes. When it’s part of the process, your service provider won’t feel that he’s failed when you make necessary changes. 

Feedback- To ensure even better service next time, provide project feedback. This will teach you how to give credit where it’s earned and constructive criticism where it’s needed.
Sample Questions:

  • Here’s what went well
  • Here’s what could be improved upon
  • For next time, it would be so much better if…


Promotion- Your service provider did a good job right? So you should promote him and share his work. Offer to write a recommendation and send a few referrals. You want to see him be successful and make sure he’s still in business when you need something else!

If you put a little thought into how you work with those who make you successful, you’ll find yourself with service “partners” who support your business and care almost as much as you do to see it thrive. 

How do you work? Part 2 (with others)

In my last blog post I talked about the four different types of workers

1. Meaning 2. Structure 3. Caring 4. Action

Oftentimes you’ll have different types in your team and with differences, frustrations will occur. Here's a cheat sheet so you can start to understand the relational dynamics within your team.

Meaning with Action: common frustrations

Meaning gets upset because Action cuts off his process and doesn’t value his intellectual discussions. Wanting to jump in without much thought is insanity to Meaning and completely disconcerts him. When he doesn't understand why, he feels there is no point to the project and he will dig his heels in until he gets an answer.

Action thinks it's foolish to waste time sitting around talking about the project when they could be half done with it already. He sees Meaning's resistance to moving and he feels like Meaning is trying to undermine the project.

Meaning with Structure:  common frustrations

Meaning struggles to converse and get on the same page with Structure. Meaning wants everything to make sense based on the vision and goals. And Structure doesn’t talk in those terms. Meaning feels Structure is asking the wrong questions. Meaning wonders... Why ask how when we don’t even know why? Or even if this project matters at all.

Structure doesn't know why Meaning has to talk so loftily and conceptually. It's all hot air to him. He wants data and a decision made so he can make a plan.

 

Structure with Action: common frustrations

Structure wishes Action would stop to think before diving in. He would be so much more effective and not waste time doing things without a plan or direction. Structure wishes Action would stop shooting and aim first.

Action feels like Structure is too slow to get moving. He wishes Structure would plan a little less and do a little more.

 

Caring with Action, Structure, Meaning: common frustrations

Action doesn't want Caring to be asking if he's okay and whether he has any thoughts. Of course he's okay! He just wants to work.

Structure is looking for someone to stand up and make a decision. He's annoyed that Caring is trying to get a consensus in the group, it's wasting time and he just wants a decision. Who cares if everyone likes it as long as it's the most logical.

Meaning doesn't like that Caring isn't concerned with the purpose behind the decision, but rather the feeling that the decision evokes.

Caring only gets upset (with any of the above people) if he feels hindered from taking care of the needs of the group, or that everyone's contribution isn't being valued and considered.

 

How to avoid these frustrations:

1. Be aware that Meaning, Structure, Caring, and Action, all have different agendas. 2. Recognize the role each plays and why each agenda is valuable to the group and needed for a successful project. 3. Have stages to address each person’s agenda and role. First a stage to talk about why we’re doing the project, then a stage to talk about how we’re going to do the project, a stage to make sure everyone is in agreement, and then finally give it to Action and let him take it away.

How do you work? Part 1

There's four types of "business personalities" important to know if you're like most people and have to collaborate or work on a team. The four types (meaning, structure, caring, action) Meaning people don’t necessarily care if the work gets done until they understand why it needs to be done in the first place. They seek to understand the value and meaning of the work before doing it. They always go back to the goal and will ask questions like:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • Why are we taking this approach?
  • Why don’t we try this instead?,
  • Why is this important?

Structure people don’t care so much about why they want to know how. They want to know the path and will ask questions like:

  • How are we going to accomplish this?
  • Whats the best approach?
  • What are the different strategies or angles we could take to conquer this?
  • How long, How much, and what’s my role

Caring people don’t care if the work gets done as long as everyone is satisfied and heard. They ask questions like:

  • Are we all in agreement?
  • Is everyone happy with this approach?
  • Did we make sure everyone got a chance to voice their opinions?
  • Any concerns?

Action people. Don’t care why or how, or who. They care about GO. As soon as a project is presented they’re off to do it. No questions asked.

Obviously each person takes an entirely different approach to starting a project. And since differences often create conflict, you'll have to be able to understand all sides in order to fight fair. So in the upcoming blog post I'll be talking about how the personalities interact with each other. But first...what type do you think you are? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Prisms

A prism reflects sunlight and sends it shooting off in every direction. It channels the beauty and brilliance of the sun and then redistributes it.

A clear, easy lesson for us...

We should be like prisms of God’s love- Receiving it and sending it out in as many directions as possible to create a glorious display for the world to experience.

Give and Take

Sometimes you give love - sometimes you reciprocate affection already offered Sometimes you give gifts - sometimes you appreciate as you receive them

Sometimes you serve - sometimes you say thank you as you’re served.

Both sides of the equation are important but one has to come before the other. My hope is that you take initiative to create more love and joy in the world while still benefitting from what’s already there.

If life were a game...

It wouldn't be a game where you roll the dice, cross your fingers and hope that you succeed. It would be more like a game of cards- you take the hand that was dealt and skillfully execute it, knowing that with the right strategy in place you can win with any hand. 

You can't run...

We are each locked inside our own personal cage of fear. Fear that “I’m not worthy, or not enough. Fear that I’ll miss out, that I won’t be loved, that I’ll fail” These fears are self imposed and self destructive. They will hold you back more than any circumstance.

  • Fear is powerful. It can lock you up for years. Many souls that were once brimming with potential are now leading lives of quiet desperation sitting paralyzed in their cages of self doubt.
  • Fear is the opposite of love. (not hate: hate is a manifestation of fear) fear will rob you of your ability to love.
  • Fear is deadly. It will stifle your purpose and kill your dreams.

You can’t run from your fear, but you can fight it. Don’t remain a prisoner to fear any longer. An unfulfilled life is a cost too great.

The world's only...

The pink star diamond. One of the world's rarest gems. Worth 8.2 million. Clearly rare things are valuable, we all know that.

But did you ever stop to think that you're the rarest of all?

You're the only one in the world! The only person with your exact experiences, personality, feelings, and outlook on life. You’re the only one with your precise handprint, facial structure and form.

So if you are extremely rare, and rare is valuable... then well,

you. are. priceless.

Help Wanted: Cheerleaders for Adults

Little children have many cheerleaders in their life. They are showered with affection and words of praise when they have even the smallest victory or breakthrough. We encourage and love them with our words and actions all the time. We know how to be excited for kid’s accomplishments, but somehow we forget to transfer that encouraging attitude to adults. ‘Big people’ don’t need praise to that extent, but every small improvement (work life attitude etc) should at least be noticed, and appreciated. Be generous with your words of praise. Cheer on some ‘grownup’ today who deserves a little extra recognition.  

Limitless

Someone else's vision should not be limited to what you think is possible. We can’t put restrictions on the future. Anything our human mind can dream up, is possible, we just have to find a way.

So don’t miss the opportunity to believe in other people’s dreams, and when they become a reality, you will have had the privilege of helping to create and support that vision.

Would you just try?

Pushing a weighted sled at the gym, with 585 lbs on it, wasn't what I woke up that morning to do. In fact I was just going to get in a quick workout and leave. But my trainer friend had other ideas for me... so as I was struggling with the weight, digging my heels in, and straining every muscle to move, I heard a "wow I could never do that" from a fellow gym person. Something clicked in my brain. Like the last piece of a puzzle, locking in perfectly; for a moment I wouldn't forget.

I never could have done that either.... except I tried.  

Things become impossible, only when you decide that they are. I opened up my mind to the possibility that my slender frame could indeed move that weight, and I asked myself -Can I do this? My answer was "maybe, let me try" the result was a feeling of elation as I surprised even myself when I could and did.

The simplest truths are often the most profound, and we don't give them justice. "You can't unless you try" is a cliche that lost its novelty a long time ago, yet we still haven't learned the truth from it.

You are capable of SO much, but you will never know the extent of that, unless you explore the outer edges of "impossible".

Do something that feels unconquerable, put your heart into it. Give yourself an opportunity to prove what you can do.