Twenty years from now, 99% of the people you know will have a life that is more difficult than the one they are living today. They will work harder and longer, have more responsibilities to worry about and will be stuck in a “this” and then “that” mentality. (”This” meaning a job that brings no fulfillment but is financially rewarding and “that” meaning the passion or dream that they can pursue once “this” is completed.) The problem is that they never get to “that.”
A mere 1% will figure out some way to make their lives easier and will not be stuck in the “this,” then “that” mentality. So how do we make life easier and enable ourselves to pursue a career that will leave us happy and fulfilled?
Ever since Melissa was a college graduate she has been fascinated with networks. She owned a word processor before they even hit the market! Her first job out of school was rewriting computer manuals for corporations, which to some of us, sounds like torture. Her fascination with computers, and their potential networking abilities, made her life much easier.
Twenty years later she is still fascinated with networks and has transformed her passion into a career. Her concept of “Networlding,” is named after her best selling book on Chicago’s Amazon for a year straight. Networlding is the science and art of making meaningful connections and leveraging those connections in new and powerful ways.
For most of us, we already have a sense of networking and have practiced it in some kind of way. But let me say right now that networking is not shoving your business card or resume into someone’s hand. Rather, it is based on growing relationships with others who have similar and complementary values and interests.
The main thing that we took away from this interview is that networking is so simple in its approach that it is often overlooked. We don’t think about who the ten people are in our primary circle. We often do not keep in touch with people that are somewhat weak ties. And why should we?
Melissa would argue, for many simple reasons. The whole concept is simple to understand, simple to implement and even more simple to execute. The only thing that you need is a desire to understand the importance of networlding and how to practice it. With that, I am going to do my best to convey what we learned from our interview with Melissa.
Melissa understood from an early age that networks make life easier. Networking is your life and your life is your network. This means the connections you make in the present will be to ones to help you in the future. Whether it is a reference for a job or a casual acquaintance, your contacts and connections will be the people you go to to make your life easier. They are your network and the life you lead creates that network.
Let me ask a question that Melissa posed to us.: “How many “Oprah’s” do you need in your network?” Before you answer, think about ten people you want in your network and what roles they will each play within your primary circle. Think about the qualities that they posses and how this will make your life easier. Now, how many “Oprah’s” do you want in your network?
As much as I’d like to have, maybe, 5 “Oprah’s” in mine, the answer is one. Most people say they don’t need anyone else in their network. Why? Because we can only connect with so many people regularly at one time in our lives. We also know about the need for a variety of characteristics and qualities of the people within our circles. Oprah is a great connector, but what about negotiation? Or what about knowledge? Accounting? These are also people that you would want in your circle because it strengthens the ability of your network and will make your life easier.
On the topic of weak ties, there is no excuse as to why you shouldn’t keep them with the tools that are available today over the internet. Myspace.com, Facebook.com, as well as Linkedin.com allow you to connect with people that you otherwise would not be able to connect with. Oftentimes, these people that you have weak ties with are the ones that can get you a job!
Also, researching useful ways to network will be beneficial to building your relationships. More information regarding these networking lessons are available by signing up for a newsletter on the Networlding.com website!
The lesson is that networking is the secret to making your life easier and work better. And if you want that freedom, start now.