I’ve been thinking lately about people who complain that networking really doesn’t work for them. I’m thinking that perhaps it’s really them who is not working at their business as effectively as they could. I’m also thinking that many of those people I meet have lost the spark that drives their business. Their flame for what they do is but a flicker. They have become discouraged, disappointed and are not quite sure what they should do about it.
It’s time we change that. Turn up your “burn!” Light a fire under yourself! Give yourself a good kick in the pants (or panties), get off your butt and do what is necessary to get back in the game. There are many effective proven ways to regain the burn. Doing nothing is not one of them.
Discouraged, disappointed or whatever, you have to take the first step while you are floundering around in the dodo. It’s call starting fresh. Beginning again. Starting over. You must rediscover the desire to excel. The desire to excel is an amazing flotation device. It keeps you from going down for the third time. The uncertainty of discouragement and disappointment can take its toll.
You have to learn to be a trail blazer again. To get excited about the career path you have taken or jump ship and do something different. Get back the sparkle in your eyes. Move forward on instinct. Never let them see you sweat. Demand that extraordinary become mandatory!
How do you turn up your “burn?”
1. Unclutter your mind. Let go of those thoughts that keep you stuck. How do you do that when you are discouraged and disappointed with the way things are going? It’s simple. . . not easy. You change your thoughts to what you want instead of staying on the destructive path that leads you in an endless loop – getting you nowhere. It’s important to have clearer thinking if your want to be successful in business networking. Think something different. Make it a habit to change your thinking to what you want whenever you catch yourself backsliding.
One of the biggest obstacles your business faces is the way you think. Never say, “This isn’t working!” Instead focus on a solution instead of the problem. This take strong mental discipline. Are you afraid of failure? Ask yourself, “What would I do if I were not afraid?” then do that! Or, “What would I do if I knew I could not fail?” Give yourself some brain food – fresh thoughts that make you feel good and help you to move forward. Quiet your mind – think only of what you want. Test some positive thoughts. If things have been stagnate for a long time, this won’t happen overnight, but you must stay on track.
2. Go back to school. Maintain your brain. Begin to study the success traits of those who are doing what you want to do. Find a mentor. Follow a leader in your field. Read a good book that energizes your mind and stimulates your thinking at least once a month. My friend and professional speaker, Larry Winget, reads about 50 books a year. You’ve probably seen him on A & E, and national television or heard him speak somewhere in the U.S. If he can do all that and keep as busy as he is, so can you. Never say, “I don’t have time to read a book!” Perhaps you may want to consider “making” some time to read. If you only devote 15 minutes to reading everyday you can read no less than 15 books a year (you probably spend that much time in the bathroom each day). A commitment to read everyday takes strong mental discipline. When you stay focused your attitude changes from one of self-defeat to one that has you begin to feel good about yourself. It jump starts a good attitude. And you know what they say, “Attitude is everything!”
3. Improve your relationships. Studies show that your relationship with your significant other or spouse has a corresponding effect on your business relationships and your success. What happens in your day-to-day private life, especially your close relationships has the potential of intruding subtly, and often not so subtly into your daily working lives. When it comes to the workplace, in the past many managers have tended to ignore the personal, and private emotions of their staff in situations of conflict at home.
Novus Card Services (the Discover Card people) hired me twice to come in a talk to their people about the importance of having a good relationship at home. The HR person told me that “if things weren’t working at home it was noticeable in their productivity at the office.” Bravo for Novus! The stress of conflict at home follows you to the office. It’s important to do damage control when things at home get out of balance – and do it quickly. Express love for family and it spills over into your business relationships. If you are bankrupt in the relationship department at home, your business relationship may follow suite.
4. Truth rocks! Maintain a high level of integrity. Treat others with honesty and respect. The Golden Rule of Engagement is: Always tell the truth. It sounds simple, and it’s really important. If the customers trust you, they will come back. If others in your network trust you amazing things happen. Honesty pays great benefits. Winston Churchill once said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.”
5. Hang with the right people. If you don’t you are susceptible to boredom. Successful people associate with people who are like minded, focused, and supportive. Like attracts like. Smart people usually hang out with other smart people. Be a smart person. (See #2 above). People who are smart are fun to communicate with. I admit that not all of the people I hang out with are smart (you know who you are… ;-)) however most are not into trying to impress me with who they are. Smart people usually don’t do that. Half of being smart is knowing what your dumb at! If you have been in the business for any length of time you know that many people around you are content to live mediocre lives. Not me! The point is: you can learn a lot from people who are doing what needs to be done. They are disciplined and decisive. They focus on being productive, not just being busy. Most work outside of their comfort zone. They take calculated risks. They maintain a positive outlook as they learn from their mistakes. You can learn from that.
6. Love what you do. It is important to “love” what you do. If you don’t love what you do you should find something else to do. Doing what you love doesn’t feel like work. There is a sign in my office that reads, “If it feels like work, you must be doing something wrong!”
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” ~ Steve Jobs, Apple
7. Repent! Forgive yourself for all your past bad business and networking habits and begin again. There is no shame in starting over. Turn over a new leaf. Make some new choices – choices that you promise yourself to maintain. No excuses. Green lights and straight ahead!
Money is often the center of conflict if things aren’t working at work. (Note: To me, that pretty much proves that, “What happens in our day-to-day private lives, especially our close relationships has the potential of intruding subtly, and often not so subtly into our daily working lives.” Interesting isn’t it?
One of my mentors, Keith Belknap, (Tulsa, OK) used to say, “You gotta have a burn!” Be on fire with what you are doing. Following the guidelines above will help you make the adjustments needed to get you back on track money-wise, networking-wise and help you to move yourself forward to more success that you can imagine. It will help change your way of looking at the world and, most important, your attitude about yourself and business networking. It will also help to to be inspired to do and be better in all that you do.
Okay! It’s time. Give yourself that “kick in the pants (or panties)” and get busy!
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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