Many people view networking as a once in a while activity. The truth is, you need to apply yourself to the process to gain momentum and referrals. Here, we review some guidelines to make your networking mindset and your marketing plan more effective!
Keep Making Mistakes
My son, who was nineteen at the time, posted something on social media. He must have been down on himself. He asked for forgiveness for making mistakes and not being perfect. My response was that I was proud he had made so many mistakes. I explained the only real mistake would have been for him to sit on the couch and do nothing at all. I encouraged him to keep going and make mistakes as fast as he could make them.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
In my mind, there are no mistakes if you are taking a risk outside of your comfort zone. Even after failure, we are victorious on so many levels. Every challenge, whether you win or lose, provides experience, wisdom, and knowledge.
In Networking, Everything is Relative
Keep your perspective. A good batting average for a professional baseball player is thirty percent. In other words, they fail seventy percent of the time! In fact, the highest batting average in MLB History was in 1941 when Ted Williams finished the season with a .406 batting average. This statistic means he was missing almost sixty percent of the time. Today, top players are paid millions of dollars to “fail” most of the time. What language does the MLB use when discussing batting averages?
From the MLB Website. [Batting Average (AVG) Definition – One of the oldest and most universal tools to measure a hitter’s success at the plate, the batting average is determined by dividing a player’s hits by his total at-bats for a number between zero (shown as .000) and one (1.000).]
Notice that they do not use the word FAIL. They say, “at-bats.”
In Networking, Attempts Matter
It’s all about the attempts. When coaching community basketball, we would tell the ten and eleven-year-old girls to take as many shots as they could. We would cheer madly every time they took a shot. Even though nine of ten shots missed, we all reacted with positive reinforcement. “Good shot, good shot!” All of the parents cheered for each attempt. And, if a shot happened to go in, the auditorium erupted!
Instead of labeling yourself as failing or failure, try using different language. You took a shot. The attempt was made. You tried. There are no failures, only experiences. The biggest mistake you’ll ever make is not to take a shot, make an attempt, or give it a try.
Thomas Edison, when inventing the light bulb, said: “I didn’t fail, I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”
Don’t Wait… Act Now!
“…an imperfect plan implemented immediately and violently will always succeed better than a perfect plan” ~ General George S. Patton.
Take the opportunity, be imperfect, get out there, and make it happen. Often creating a perfect plan is one’s way of hiding from committing to action. “We should wait; it’s not perfect,” or “Not yet, I have to do X first.” Let’s face it, more often than not, you are giving yourself an excuse to hide in your comfort zone.
We rationalize, which is the same as telling ourselves “rational lies” or worse yet, “a ration of lies.” This rationalizing is continually convincing ourselves to stay in our comfort zones out of sheer fear.
These words are a call to your accountability! Get your butt out there and start moving. Focus on your end goal and get going TODAY!
Brush Your Teeth
It amazes me what we choose to allow to go by the wayside. Often we start new routines hoping they will become habits. Maybe you wanted to start working out in the morning before work. Perhaps you wanted to start journaling in the morning. Or, maybe you wanted to eliminate snacks after 7 pm. Many of these habits would greatly improve our lives, yet we often fall off the wagon and have a hard time getting back on track.
We still brush our teeth. If we wake up late, we don’t skip; we brush our teeth. When you stay out late and forget to brush before bed, amazingly we start right back to brushing our teeth in the morning.
Why do we keep some rituals, yet give up on so many others that are beneficial to our future? Take time for yourself. Make time to journal. Be sure you exercise. Respect yourself enough to spend a few minutes on YOU first. If you want respect, you must show respect… to yourself.
Stay On Track to Achieve Your Networking Goals
“Don’t let the distractions become the attraction.” ~ Casey Coven. Let’s talk some more about distractions. The fastest way to a goal is a straight line. In reality, real-world problems are bound to occur, causing you to adjust, restructure, and plot a new course of action. There is even a coined phrase for such occurrences, “Murphy’s Law.” These distractions are obvious.
1. Some Obvious Distractions
How many times have you spent too much time on your cell phone when you could have been working towards your dream? Have you binge-watched a Netflix series, when you could have been taking steps towards your passion? Are relationships
distracting you from your goal? Distractions are the ultimate killer of dreams!
2. Negative Distractions
“You are the sum of the average of the five people you surround yourself with the most.” Many of us encounter negativity in those we interact with personally and professionally. Some people are constantly trying to rob us of precious time to dwell on their behaviors and actions.
“Go where you’re celebrated not where you’re tolerated.” – Unknown
3. Let’s point out some not so obvious distractions
Back to eating your vegetables first! Or, as Brian Tracy said; Eat That Frog! Too often we are very productive, but not on the most direct track to our ultimate goal. “There is always work to do” as many mentors are prone to say. In your daily journey, you will encounter more distractions than you think.
Countless times I should have been writing this book, but instead, I was doing something else. Great stuff too! Creating great marketing for my company and going the extra mile for a client. Took meetings I didn’t need to. Started cleaning around the office. The list is endless. All the while knowing that writing this book would propel my career to the next level faster and more efficiently than all of those other activities combined.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of FEAR
Fear! Often, we skirt our responsibilities out of fear. Being scared of achieving. Frightened of not knowing what it looks like past that glass ceiling. Fear of leaving our comfort zones. As I write this very paragraph, I envision myself on stage speaking in front of the biggest room of my career. Not a hundred, but hundreds, or even thousands. Talk about scary! Even though it is where I want to go, the fear of failure is so great it has often kept me from finishing this very message.
Don’t Sweat the Competition
Why would you want competitors around you? You should love the competition. Competition can help create the best you. Let me explain.
Ever been left out? Have you been picked last? The third wheel? Have you been bullied or been a bully to someone else? How did that feel? Why would we want to exclude anyone and make them feel the same?
People are like magnets. Sometimes there will be an instant attraction, and sometimes you will repel. We are all made up of energy with an electrical current running through our nervous systems.
Competition is Good for You!
In fact, competition is very healthy and good for not only our success but the success of the network around you. When faced with competition top performers will thrive tremendously.
Allow me to bring up a few examples. Look at your cell phone. What did your cell phone look like five years ago, ten years ago? When Apple went to market first with the iPhone, it started a smartphone war that we all benefited from in the end. Two major competitors, Apple and Android, started competing for market share. Six or more phone makers ended up duking it out to have the next big thing for the consumers.
One of the greatest promoters of all time, Vince McMahon of the WWF took advantage of competition every time it presented itself. He loved the surge in ratings that the competition created. Ultimately, Vince won each time and ended up consolidating his competition, WCW, and forming the WWE. I argue that he was able to win each time because he welcomed the competition and knew how to use the situation to his advantage. He envisioned the end before it even began.
Think of the advancements in industries surrounding you. Automotive, television, online shopping…. Competition has allowed these industries to thrive and benefit us all.
In the ’90s and early 2000’s many rejected the use of computers, saying they did not need to use them. They had lived all their lives just fine without computers. Within a decade, computers boomed, the internet happened, and now we all walk around with supercomputers in our pockets. Those who rejected computers were left behind in many ways. Competition and technology have completely changed the playing field for today’s professionals. People who resist technology end up out of jobs. Companies that fail to evolve with technology go out of business.
There are NO DAYS OFF
You’ve got to work after work. Work before work. Pursue your passion. Is it even “work” if you love what you’re doing?
If you hate your 9-5, what are you doing from 5-9 to get out? Some are thinking 5 pm to 9 pm, but it can also be 5 am to 9 am. We’ve just identified eight hours that you can work on yourself so that you can get out of your self-described eight-hour hell hole. Don’t be a slave to the grind… a rat in the race.
Your passion is like a hobby. You’ll want to work on it all the time. You will think about it constantly. People stuck in a 9-to-5 mentality are not going to understand. The clock-punching mentality is too strong within their paradigms. Be ready for them to challenge you.
Some people say they want to sit on the beach for the rest of their lives. Others want to avoid having to work a grind. Not me, I just want to be free! What do you want?
A sure sign of your happiness is how you get out of bed in the morning. Do you wait until the last minute before getting out of bed? Or do you sit on the edge of your bed and wish you didn’t have to go to work? Are you mulling around and deliberately take too long getting ready, making you habitually late? These are all signs you are not happy. It may be time to start looking for a new path.
Invest in Your Education and Success
The rule of thumb says that you should be investing three percent back into personal and professional development. When you learn this, you immediately think of money. While it takes some cash to learn and grow, consider that you also need to allow time for all of this to take place.
Some methods that you might explore to achieve this growth and forward movement include classes, workshops, networking events. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks, and do some reading. Business Expos are a great way to meet people in local markets.
Be consistent about making this investment in your development. It will pay huge dividends in your business efforts.
Say Yes To Networking Opportunity
Saying yes to opportunity and maintaining a positive mindset is key. Things are easier than you think, once you move past your initial hesitation and get moving.
Life is like a box of… Legos! Did you play with Legos or puzzles as a child? Some children build houses, and now they are our architects. Many children build cars, and they are our auto mechanics. Others even built jets and spaceships who are now our pilots.
Everything is as simple as a few Legos! What if I told you that you could build or repair your own computer? If you brave enough to open the case, you will find that there are only a handful of components and they often only go together one way.
How about that oil change? Did you know it can be done in less than half a dozen steps? Most of the time we are simply too scared to look under the hood. Is the Lego analogy making sense now?
You can build anything with a box of Legos. All you have to do is get out there, roll up your sleeves, look under the hood, and do it.
The possibilities are endless if you don’t limit your thinking. You can change the oil in your car or build furniture. You can master technology. It’s possible for you to construct a plan for moving your business forward.
Once you get past your initial hesitation and learn to say YES, YES gets easier and easier to say, and you will make a habit of being able to accomplish things. Conversely, if you get in the habit of doubting yourself and saying NO, you will be unable to move forward the way you had planned, and saying NO limits your ability to achieve.
Say Yes, Get in the Habit
Saying No to networking opportunities can become an easy habit to adopt, and hard to break. Don’t succumb to this bad habit.
Momentum goes in both directions. The more you say No the easier it becomes to say it again. The more you decline a networking opportunity because you are afraid, the easier it will be to continue your losing streak. Each loss becomes easier than the last to accept. Eventually, you will feel like a loser.
Good News! That same momentum can help you succeed. When you say yes to opportunity it creates a feeling of empowerment. Each yes will lead to bigger and better opportunities. Even when difficult challenges present themselves, saying Yes will come with ease.
Most importantly, say YES to all networking opportunities that align with your ultimate goal – no matter what skill level they require, or what knowledge you may need to succeed. Things are much simpler than they seem. Just remember, everything is built from Legos.
Take Easy Wins, Measure At-Bats, not Home Runs. Take the next 365 days as 365 opportunities to say yes to success with local marketing.
Use All These Tools to Grow Your Positive Networking Mindset
We’ve given you a lot of tips in this installment of Success with Local Marketing. When you apply these ideas to your networking mindset, you will discover a difference in your results. If you need help in strengthening your mindset, or your overall marketing plan, reach out to me at Hawk Marketing Services, and let’s sit down for some real talk soon!