264) Life Is Choices

“Life is choices. We are constantly making decisions, and the decisions we make today determine who we become tomorrow.” These are the words of Matthew Kelly, New York Times bestselling author, speaker and a business consultant.

Kelly is right. Every moment of life is a choice. You choose to listen to this program. You’ve chosen to continue. You’ll choose whether to take action on what you hear or not. Every moment is a choice.

But also remember that each and every choice leads to something. Good choices raise you up and lead to better opportunities. And these opportunities offer you better options to choose from.

On the other hand, bad choices lead to objectionable challenges. And these challenges present you with undesirable options to choose from.

Remember, success comes from a string of great choices. One by one they build to something wonderful. With that, endeavor to make good choices.


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263) Courageously Forge Ahead

Know this, if you don’t already: As you embark upon success, not everyone will be firmly behind you.

There will be well-intentioned people holding you back because they don’t truly understand what it is you are after. They’ll say things like, “You better not; you might get hurt.”

And there will be people pulling you back because they are so afraid that you are going to achieve something that they won’t. They will attempt to assert peer pressure to deter you with criticism, such as “that’s a waste of time” or “you’re such a workaholic.”

Sure, it can be difficult to forge ahead in the wake of these detractors, especially when some of them are family and friends. Nevertheless, put on blinders, insert earplugs and courageously forge ahead.

Success is a special thing. And it’s special, in part, because you’re willing to take on challenges even when it feels like you’re all alone.


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262) Network Building From 1,000 Acts

In China for the better part of a 1,000 years, the government practiced a form of torture known as “Death From A Thousand Cuts.” Under this form of execution, the convicted person was not killed mercifully. Rather the villain was executed by a series of daily small incisions. These collectively over time spelled doom for the condemned.

Establishing a strong network is truly the reverse of this. You successfully build a network by consistently performing literally thousands of small and seemingly insignificant acts.

You flash a big, happy smile thousands of times. You perform thousands of kind acts. You exhibit reliability with unfailing consistency thousands of times. No one smile, or single kind act, or individual demonstration of dependability has any significance in and of itself. Collectively, however, they have an immense power to build your network.

Knowing that it takes thousands of insignificant acts to build a great network, continually ask yourself, “What seemingly, meaningless network building act am I doing right now?”


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261) Magnets And Pushers

As author and consultant Paul Edwards says in his popular book, Business Beyond Business, “The difference between a pusher and a ‘magnet’ is that magnets create gravitational ‘pull’ that draws people towards them.”

Edwards goes on to write that “pushers see people more like transactions to be carried out.” The pusher believes that someone has money and they seek to get it. While the exchange is generally fair – money for a product or service – the pusher mindset is one of “what can this person do for me right now?”

Edwards indicates that magnets are different. They see people as untapped reservoirs of knowledge, ideas, passion, dreams and connections, in exchange for similar resources and energy.

With that, today, stop and look around. When you see someone new, see a wealth of long-term mutual potential. See a person with whom you can exchanges contacts, thoughts and opportunities. If you condition yourself to do this, you’ll have the power to attract people to you.


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260) Airplane Maintenance Mindset

While air travel is faster, more efficient and safer than ever before, we still need to contend with gravity – the Earth’s unrelenting pull on all physical objects.

Therefore, to keep air travel safe, those in air transportation vigilantly maintain aircraft. While they might never change the engine in their car, you can be sure they replace aircraft engines on a routine basis … whether it needs it or not. After all, being stranded on US-41 is no big deal but being stalled at 10,000 feet is.

So, as you cultivate the relationships within your growing network, care for them as you would maintain an airplane. Don’t wait for a relationship to be broken before you tend to it.

Never chance that something might go wrong. Rather, routinely reach out to the important people in your life, whether personal or professional. See how they’re doing. And in so doing, you’ll show that you care. That will serve to keep your entire fleet of relationships airborne.


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259) Own Your Failures

If you’ve been at this game of business long enough you will no doubt experience failures and setbacks. Some will be relatively small, such as not upselling a client at the 11th hour on the last day of an already record month. Others will be large, such as not getting the promotion or losing that big client. And a good many will be somewhere in between.

Whatever the case, these moments will leave you feeling a degree of disappointment. And that’s okay, as that’s part of being driven and goal oriented. What’s not okay, however, is blaming others or circumstances as you ruminate on your shortcoming.

Whatever the “would have’s”, “should have’s” and “could have’s” might be, in the final analysis on some level it’s your failure. Own it. Commit to doing better. Then move forward with your pride and the respect of others.


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257) The Hunchback Prince

Centuries ago, a kingdom had a prince with a hunchback. Though it was his destiny to be king, he was so tragically deformed that even the most loyal of subjects dreaded the day he would ascend to the throne.

Undeterred, the Prince ordered the royal sculptor to carve a statue of him in a manner that looked exactly as he would look if he had no deformity.

When the sculpture was finished, the Prince would approach it each day and try to bend his back straight up against the back of his statue. Then one day, bending upward, his shoulders touched the statute.  He now resembled the statue he’d ordered constructed.

Your life today is riddled with imperfection and deformities relative to where you want to take it. In your mind, carve a statute of your perfect future self. Then each day bend a little more towards it. Like the Prince, one day your imperfections will be cast aside.


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30-Second Commercial: Part 2 of 8

To build a strong network of contacts that give you referrals, contacts and information, you need to have a concise, yet very compelling, 30-second commercial. The problem is that you have SO MUCH to say and 30 seconds is really not a lot of time.

So to conquer the challenge of conveying lots of information in a short period of time, it is helpful to have a framework to work with. Here is an effective one:

  • Start with a basic introduction for yourself (this addresses WHO you are) …
  • Add to that a Message (which addresses WHAT you do) …
  • From there, you need to Inspire Confidence or create credibility (which tackles WHY you over all the other choices) …
  • Then you wrap this up with a Strong Definite Request of what you need (this is HOW they can help you).

Now, if you carefully draft each of these sub-parts and then piece them together with your own personal flair, you end up with a very effective 30-second commercial. For more, see Part 3.

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.  


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.