Ethan Lin is the founder of www.leadership-with-you.com and www.personality-central.com. He has a passion to empower and develop people. Professionally, he is a corporate trainer focusing on sales training, leadership development and team building with his company Personality Central.
You need a network. If you want to be a resourceful leader, you need a network. If you want the right doors open for you, you need a network. Leaders need networks with other leaders – both as a source of encouragement and resource.
Some people believe that if you’re capable, you can make money, become successful without building a network. That’s not happening. Your net worth is ultimately tied to the people you know.
If you want to become a leader of people, you need to have that network. The Chinese call it ‘guanxi’ or relationship. They value relationship so much it is often a basis for doing business.
Your network defines your reality. The people you spend time with will determine how you see the world. For example, if your network consists of millionaire businesspeople, your reality will be this: you’ll see and talk about new opportunities in the industry all the time. You’ll be looking at ways you can collaborate with each other.
If your network consists of students, your reality will be: you’re going to talk about how to obtain an A for the next exam. You’re going to talk about how to tackle the latest homework.
So how you think, act and behave is tied to who you’re hanging out. Whether you’re going to be a successful leader in your field or just another regular guy will be determined by this, believe it or not.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of five people we spend the most time with. So if your average is top leaders, then you’re going to be one yourself. If your average is mediocre people – then you’re going to be mediocre. Simple but powerful truth.
Maybe it’s time for you to look for new associates. If you want a change in your life, it first starts with you building a new network. Let’s look at some ways you can develop your network.
Get out there and meet people today! Don’t waste time sitting around and hoping that a network will drop onto your lap. It’s net-WORK, not net-SIT or net-EAT. You got to work at it.
This apprehension is especially true for Introverts, who are resistant to small talk. Get used to it. Learn it, and become great at it. Get over the inertia to talk to a stranger. Don’t let your natural preferences get in the way of your success.
Leaders should always overcome their personal fears and take control of their spirit - it includes the common fear of speaking to strangers.
I’m part of a BNI group, an international networking organization founded by Dr Ivan Misner. It’s a powerful networking group designed to help business owners find business through a word-of-mouth strategy. If you’re in Singapore, and you would like to attend one of these sessions, feel free to contact me.
Most people go into a networking session by hunting for businesses. They go to each person and spend the next 10 minutes pitching their business idea, hoping that someone will bite. They don’t bother building relationships with people, and hence their network is fleeting.
Look, if everyone goes into a networking session wanting to sell, who’s buying? No one wants to buy your product – Get over it.
Learn to give to your network instead. People want to hang out with givers, not takers. People want to be with someone that constantly adds value to their life.
Is there a practical way you can help someone in your network? Perhaps you can refer some business to those in your network. If you’re a real estate agent, perhaps you can constantly send updates on the real estate market.
Whatever it is, adding value is the key. Can you think of a creative method to invest in your network?
Leaders are resourceful. They know where they can get things done - their contact sphere is wide and deep. They seem to know everyone from the fruit seller, custodian to the real estate mogul or the IT guru. Whenever you need something, they know the right person to get it from.
If your network begins to see you as a resource person, they’re going to refer even more people to you. Your network is going to grow exponentially, and without much effort.
You’ll become a network leader. You will be leading, guiding and connecting people. Of course, this status does not come easy – it comes as a result of some years of hard work at networking.
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