Entry for March 20, 2008
For the past few weeks I’ve taken you through several success principles. Most of those principles require individual action. We need to define success, dream big, set good goals, get rid of assumed constraints, and commit to continuous learning. The next principle takes some help. You’ll find it nearly impossible to have personal and professional success without the help of others. Networking is a major key to success.
We can have all the dreams in the world and educate ourselves past a PhD, but we’ll only get results if we leverage the power of others. Left on our own, we have limited capacity. There’s nothing wrong with individual effort, but if we can’t reach out to others to connect us outside of our circle, we’ll simply grow huge in a tiny pond. Success comes from venturing out.
So what is networking? Simply stated, it’s engaging and connecting with other people. It means talking to others about our goals and asking for their assistance. It also means doing the unthinkable and actually meeting strangers. Here’s where so many people fall short. Networking can be quite scary. So why do it? You need access to as many networks as you can. You’ll get your power through the power of others.
In 1967, a researcher named Stanley Milgram performed what he called a “small world study” to test the power of connectedness. His experiment requested 160 people in Omaha, Nebraska to get a letter to an obscure stock broker in Sharon, Massachusetts. The results reported that “chains varied from two to 10 intermediate acquaintances, with the median at five.” Any person appeared to be able to reach another person with an average of six jumps–the empirical basis for the famous phrase “six degrees of separation.” Now this study has been subsequently poo poohed by other researchers and scientists, particularly since its renaissance by the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” (where all Hollywood actors are linked somehow with Bacon through a maximum of six connections) and Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, but I’m still convinced using networking is a key factor to success. Why?
You can’t possibly succeed without the help of others. Others will not succeed without the help of you. We have to connect to each other if we’ll ever achieve our goals. We need access to the people others know and they need our connections as well.
We know that 60-80% of jobs come through networking. Most of us are now My Space, Facebook, or Linked-in users. We join professional associations and attend Chamber of Commerce meetings. All of these are designed to connect to others. Even if we don’t do it intentionally, by default we reach out. Why not make a concerted effort at it?
This week, make it a goal to connect with at least 10 new people. Get to know them, and, here’s the best part, ask how YOU can support THEM. It’s so much easier to contact strangers when you have something to give. Build new relationships based on serving others and you’ll reap the benefit of the connection. Don’t be surprised when your efforts are reciprocated. Zig Ziglar’s most famous line is “You’ll get everything you want in life when you help others get everything they want in life. I firmly believe that and have not yet ever been disappointed. If Milgram is correct, and I believe he is, we truly live in a small world. Let’s all work hard this week to get to know it.
To your Total Career Fitness,
ps. I enjoyed seeing many of you at the Corporate Gray Job Fair last week. If you missed it, be sure to go to the MOAA Career Fair in Washington DC on April 17. I’ll be speaking there as well and will be reviewing resumes and signing copies of my book.
pps. If you enjoy a good read and like animals, particularly horses, check out my friend Bonnie Burnett’s new book “Halfway to the Moon” which you can get now at http://www.halfwaytothemoonbook.com. This by the way was Bonnie’s dream project and she made it happen!!!! Celebrate her getting the BHAG by buying her new book today!
Need to Write a Resume That’ll Land You Your Dream Job? Get my FREE 35 Page report How to Write a Winning Resume today at http://www.resumeguidefree.com
Malcolm O. Munro
The Career Fitness Coach
P.O. Box 1820 Germantown, MD 20875
Toll Free: (866) 575-2231
Metro/DC Area: (301) 576-0684
Visit me online at www.careerfitnesscoach.com
Just got a layoff notice? I can help! Get my 30 Day Career Jumpstart Program at www.30daycareerjumpstart.com