Success From A Thousand Acts

Recently, I attended a panel discussion related to using social media in corporate America. Afterwards, I had the good fortune of talking with one of the panelists, Douglas Davidson with Jacadis (, a Columbus, Ohio based IT security firm. In our conversation, he made a remark that stuck with me: “Social media success and networking success is like the notion of ‘death from 1,000 cuts,’ but only in reverse.” Interesting, and incredibly insightful.
As background, the term death by a thousand cuts refers to a form of execution used in China from approximately 900 AD until its abolishment in 1905. Under this form of execution, the condemned person was not killed mercifully or quickly. Rather the condemned is executed by using a knife to methodically remove portions of the body over an extended period. Often this term is used as a metaphor in politics to describe the political tactic of making gradual changes over time so that nobody notices or those that do notice do not raise much of a protest – ultimately resulting in the complete loss of property, freedom and rights.
Networking success is truly the reverse of this. We do not achieve networking success in the same manner we might hope to win the lottery – one day seizing upon the perfect combination of things, which leads to incredible wealth. We achieve networking success through the consistent performance of small, but meaningful, acts towards those around us. Success from a thousand acts comes from us doing lots of little things over time … performing dozens of acts of random kindness … giving dozens of referrals … contributing our time, talents and resources dozens of times.
Networking success never just happens … it is slowly created over time. What small, meaningful act are you doing today?

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