Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Don't Wait Until You Need It Because By Then It's Too Late

"I never saw it coming."

"I spent every waking hour working for THAT company."

"I never had time."

"I thought that was for sales people, not me. I'm a (insert profession here)"

I recently was looking at my calendar for the past year or so and the probably hundreds of appointments, coffees, lunches with the "hey Steve so and so said I need to meet you" or "I heard you could help me" meetings.  It's quite humbling to see how many great people I've had the pleasure of interacting with and at the same time, a bit sad.  Sad because so many of these people were facing a layoff or had already been through one.  And none of them, and I'm talking a ton of people here people, none of them had a network that they could reliably fall back on for help.

Lots of different people.
Lots of the same old lines.
Excuses?  Perhaps.
Signs up frustration?  You bet.

You see when we are gainfully employed, signing that lease to expand that business or just plain putting in an honest 8 hours at a job that isn't quite our passion but it pays the bills, we never see the importance of it:

Building, growing and maintaining our network.

See previously stated excuses above.

Who has the time?

Simply put people, you and I don't care who you are, what you do, how secure in your job you think you may be or how profitable your company is today, YOU NEED TO MAKE THE TIME.  So many of these people that have come to me for help are out of options.  In fact they were out of options before they even started.  Aside from a few friends, a few professional colleagues and perhaps the people they knew through their job, their network was pretty empty.  And usually when push came to shove, the network that they did have, they found was largely unreliable because they hadn't spent enought time to develop and grow real relationships with those people.  Cue sad and slightly desperate music maestro.

I can not tell you how many audiences I speak to that I ask this powerful question and hear puckering and not the good kind:

"How many of you have at least 10 people in your network that if you called them right now to tell them you needed a job they would help you get a job within 1-2 weeks?  I mean people who would come out guns blazing and would not stop until they helped you secure your next gig."

I usually hear crickets chirping as eyes widen and pupils transfix into that deer like state of oh shit reality.

I then say, "If you don't have those 10 people on speed dial then your network is not strong enough."  Usually about that time, people start pulling out something to write with, straighten up and come to the edge of these seat.  The message has hit home and now it's time to start doing something about it.

Don't wait until you really need your network to realize you don't really have one.  Start taking steps to build real, powerful, and reliable relationships with the people who can and will help you if you first take the time to build something of meaning with them.

Want to learn more about how to get your network built the right way, let me invite you to check out The Ripple Effect: Maximizing the Power of Relationships For Your Life and Business.  This powerful second edition is chalk full of great ideas, relatable stories and practical strategies.  I highly encourage you to pick up a copy, get a pen or highlighter and get to work.

Order your autographed copy at or via  Also available for your Kindle or iPad.

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