Building a Great Network

It is widely known that other than your accomplishments and abilities (your brand), the most important game-changer is your personal network.

Want to know how to build your personal network? You need to network with people who are going where you are going, or are at where you are headed. 

It is that simple.

If you are, or are destined to become, an over-achiever, you are abnormal.  If that sounds bad to you, call it exceptional. It is the same thing.  Playing life and career at the highest echelons is not average or normal. You want to build your personal network with people who perform at that high altitude.

Here is some advice from some notables:

  • “You need to associate with people that inspire you, people who challenge you to rise higher, people that make you better.  Don’t waste your valuable time with people who are not adding to your growth.  Your destiny is too important.”  -  Joel Osteen
  • “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”  -  Jim Rohn
  • “To change yourself, change who you hang out with.”  -  Reid Hoffman (Reid ought to know about networking, he founded LinkedIn)

Not only will engaging with the ‘right people’ put the wind to your back, but it will also not drag you down.  Often when you set your sights on big dreams, you intimidate others. I call it, “Slow down, you are passing me by and I don’t feel like walking any faster" syndrome.  I don’t think friends, colleagues and loved ones do this on purpose but they, like most, are uncomfortable when they are challenged. You being close to them and moving at that tempo or aspiring to those heights often challenges others. You might hear:

  • You need to slow down and smell the roses
  • There is more to life than…. (Insert whatever)
  • Do you think that that is really realistic?
  • You are working too hard
  • You’re not ready for that
  • It’s too soon
  • It’s too late
  • It’s too risky
  • What happens if you fail
  • Etc…

I am not saying to jettison your current circle of contacts, but I am saying you need to consciously build your personal network in a strategic way, with beautifully abnormal contacts.  And once you connect, know that networking is the notion of building, nurturing and serving that network.

If you lead with the notion of service, you are actually helping those very people who can help you.  With this in your heart, all will be well.  The late Zig Ziglar often said, “You can have everything in life that you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”  Wisdom indeed.

One other point: interacting with those who pull YOU out of your comfort zone inspires you to hyper-personal/professional growth.  If you play tennis with someone who is far more accomplished than you, you over time play a much better game.  Play music with someone who is at a higher plain, you take your chops to the next level.

Work in companies and organizations that are full of sprinters, not pedestrians.