I received a call recently while working in the coffee shop near my home office. I clicked the receive button and a slightly panicky voice of my wife said, “there is a cockroach in your bathroom.” “Really?” I said distractedly, still typing on my computer, “well then go in there and kill it.” This advice was not received well – as I knew it would not be.
I then spent the next five minutes in a childish game but one I enjoy. “C’mon, you know you want to kill it.” “No I refuse – I closed the door, it will be there for you when you come home.” “You realize this means we can never live in Florida?” “I can live with that.” “Fine don’t kill it – the next time you see that cockroach it will be under your pillow.” “I’m hanging up now.”
What, you might ask, does this have to do with networking? There are often tasks that we do not find enjoyable when networking. For you it might be the beginning: walking into a room full of strangers. It might be the middle: finding a comfort zone, small talk, uncovering reasons to like each other, creating rapport, finding a purpose to continue the relationship, finding a way to NOT continue the relationship. It might be the conclusion: forming a networking partnership, passing business leads, advice and help to the partner, creating consistent communication. Whatever is stopping you from being a great networker absolutely can be overcome. It’s just a matter of finding the right leverage.
After hanging up with my wife I went back to work. 20 minutes later I received another call which began with “You aren’t going to believe this.” My wife went back into the living room to play with our 1 year old child on the floor, which was littered with various toys, couch pillows and a sleeping dog, Zoey. During a pause in the playing activites a large cockroach crawled out from under the pillow and up Keira’s foot onto her leg. The scream that followed this unfortunate event sent Zoey scurrying out of the room with her tail between her legs, caused five car alarms to go off and the dogs in the neighborhood may never stop howling. But despite the initial reaction, woe be to any creature that threatens our child in her mother’s presence. Clint Eastwood in a black hat with a revolver strapped to his side would have been impressed with the speed in which the cockroach was removed and dispatched.
I ask again: what is your cockroach? What is the thing that you fear that is stopping you from becoming a great networker? And how do you get the leverage you need to squash it. In my wife’s case, the perceived threat to her child was enough leverage to send her bolting into action. What will you miss out on if you don’t take action right now? What pain can you create around NOT taking action. Then what pleasure can you imagine from taking action?
We are simple creatures. Build enough pain into the thought of not taking action and enough pleasure into the thought of taking action and you will absolutely take action.
Life is Short, Live Big,