253) Be Genuinely Happy For Others

This world has more than its share of envy and jealousy. None of this serves anyone. So, resist those feelings as they simply position you with the masses.

Rather, be extraordinary. Find it in your heart to be truly happy for others.

If someone gets a raise or promotion, become giddy for them as if it were your own.

When they get that great house, the one even better than yours, smile for them as they no doubt earned it.

When they find true love, share in their joy and let it warm your soul too.

After all, envy and jealousy will rob you of vital energy. But sharing in the joy of others will serve to lift you and stoke your passion.

Remember, the good fortune of others doesn’t diminish your opportunity for it. Rather it provides a beacon of hope that goodness is out there for you too.


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252) Contact Classification, Easy As 1-2-3-4

In his book, Who Do You Want To Meet, author Rob Thomas offers a simple way to classify your network. The purpose of this is to ensure that you make the highest and best use of your time in cultivating relationships: Start by rating your list of contacts on a scale one to four.

  • Ones are individuals with whom you are newly connected.
  • Twos are people you know. But these are people who you’ve had no real contact with for some time. The relationship is there, but it’s dormant until one of you takes action.
  • Threes are those connections where there is an active relationship, but the benefits are generally one sided. Either you’re doing things for them and them not reciprocating or vice versa. And…
  • Fours are those relationships that are mutually beneficial.

With this classification in hand, you’ll know best how to invest time and energy in your relationships. Plus, you’ll have a great understanding of how you can work to improve your network.  


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251) The Four Oxen And The Lion

One of Aesop’s Fables goes like this: A Lion prowled about a field in which four oxen dwelled. Many a time the lion tried to attack the oxen but whenever he approached, they would turn their tails to one another. So that whichever way the lion approached, he was challenged by a set of large and threatening horns. He had no hope in taking down any of the oxen.

Then one day, the oxen began quarreling amongst themselves. Frustrated with each other, they went off to graze alone in separate corners of the field. With this change, the Lion attacked them one by one and soon brought an end to all four.

Your network is much like the four oxen working in unity. When figuratively shoulder to shoulder with those you know, like and trust, you (and they) become more formidable than when you attempt to take on the world alone.

Remember: United you stand, divided you fall.


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250) Focus on What You Can Control

Let’s face it. Everyone’s life is full of uncertainty. There is no guarantee of business, employment or income. Any or all of that can be gone tomorrow.

Additionally, no one can say how their health will hold. Illness or worse can come out of nowhere. And every day, you’re getting a little older, increasing the likelihood.

And you can’t control the growth or dimension of your connections. People move. They retire. Allegiances change. Your network is prone to shift. That’s just life.

In short, you cannot be sure as to how anything will turn out. All you can do is double down on the things you can control. And all you can really control is your mindset and the effort you put forth.

So, work hard at whatever you aspire to and maintain a hopeful and positive attitude as you do. Focus on these things and then just let the chips fall where they may.


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249) Opportunities For Revenue

Adam Connors, speaker, social architect and founder of NetworkWise, is fond of saying that “Relationships are opportunities for revenue.” In short, Connors implies that from relationships comes revenue.

No, a relationship is not a guarantee of revenue. And some are not intended to be revenue-generating. But revenue seldom comes without some form of relationship. Sure, people might order books, flowers, or dog food over the phone or online. But serious purchases and long-time clients, well, they are all born out of the relationships that Connors is referring to.

Remember, the people who do business with you and the people who associate with you, do so because they have some level of relationship with you. Over time, you’ve done things to help them know, like and trust you.

So, if you’re looking to build revenue, double down on the one thing that creates opportunities for it. Invest time and attention to your relationships.


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248) Set An Example Of Action

Networking is a verb, an action word. Thus, you cannot network by sitting back and letting the world operate around you. You need to get out there and actively involve yourself.

At work, if there are extracurricular projects to tackle or committees on which to serve, be at the forefront of getting involved. In your business, take the initiative of finding an industry association to join. In addition to your work or business, actively involve yourself with local school, civic and charitable organizations.

What is so special about you being actively involved? Like magic, it transforms you into something special. People want to associate with you when you are actively engaged in something beyond the daily minimum requirements.

When you set an example of action, you project yourself as a doer and a person with achievement potential. And these prospects of success attract others to you. Your action gives others a much greater interest in getting to know, like and trust you.


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247) Brick Walls

What you do, whatever it is, isn’t easy, right? If you’re like most people it can seem like life conspires against you, and what should be simple gets complicated in a hurry. It can feel as though the “gremlins” of life have put obstacles in your way that prevent you from doing what you intend to do.

When you encounter these roadblocks, heed the advice of Dr. Randy Pausch. A computer professor at Carnegie Melon University, Pausch made an inspiring “last lecture” months before succumbing to terminal brain cancer in the fall of 2007. Pausch called these obstacles brick walls. He believed that brick walls are not there to prevent you from doing the things you want or hope to do. Rather, brick walls are there to simply assess how bad you want it.

So, the next time you face a roadblock or obstacle, don’t commiserate. Rather remind yourself of exactly how much you want what you’re after.


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246) The Two-Way Street

Michael Goldberg, author of Knockout Networking has a saying: “Networking is a two-way street!”

To elaborate, he then suggests a litany of questions to ponder in any relationship:

  • How can we help one another?
  • How can we work together?
  • How can we be resources for one another?
  • How can we refer each other?

These are great questions. And ones that you shouldn’t consider rhetorical. Rather, whenever you’re in conversation with someone else … whenever you’re thinking about contacts in your network … whenever you’re looking to add value to others …. you should take an active approach to finding reasonable answers to these questions.

As Goldberg will tell you, effective networking is an ongoing process of learning about others and then finding ways to help them. If you consistently engage in this thought process, the vast majority of the time you’ll uncover things you can do to help others. And once you’re consistently helping other, in time, things will come back to you.


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245) Weak Ties Are Strong Ones

Sociological research has shown that the vast majority of opportunities your network provides will not come from close ties, such as friends and relatives. Rather great career opportunities, new client wins, and groundbreaking information come from weak ties. These are people you know, but ones that you only see and interact with occasionally.

Why? Because close ties tend to occupy the same world as you do. Think about it. A spouse or close friend may share many of the same network contacts you already know.

Mere acquaintances, or “weak ties”, on the other hand, are much more likely to know people that you do not. While you might share a small overlap in networks, most of the people they know are completely unknown to you.

So, when it comes to job hunting or finding clients or generally getting ahead, there is much strength in connecting with weak ties.


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244) Returns On Networking Investments

Know this, everything you do with respect to your network will somehow, some way, come back to you. Referrals given work into referrals for you in return. Encouragement comes back as encouragement. Introductions made result in introductions received. Know that what you put into your network comes back to you.

With that, also know this. Very little (if any) of what you do for your network will come back to you tomorrow. Or even next week. Or, perhaps next month, for that matter. You simply need to trust that what you put into your network will eventually come back to you.

So, while you wait for these returns on your networking investment, remain optimistic about your networking efforts and simply keep contributing. And as you do, do whatever you can to keep from being discouraged. You’ve made an investment. The returns are coming. Believe that.


Like what you’ve read? Prefer to hear it as a podcast or daily flash briefing? Subscribe to the Networking Rx Minute podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.