Networking Lessons From a Cockroach

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,

Mark Hiatt

About Mark Hiatt

Over 10 years ago I began to learn the leads group and relationship networking world and I fell in love with it. Today I create leads groups, put on networking seminars and write books on the power of networking. Business is meant to be fun, uplifting and satisfying. Anything less is unacceptable. Networking is the way, the means and the path.
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38 Responses to Networking Lessons From a Cockroach

  1. lesly says:

    Hm… interesting analogy. Certainly taking action is the key to experiencing any actual outcome. I agree with that .. your story will stay in my mind now!

  2. Mark, love your writing…. was torn between “eeeeeewwwwwwwww” and laughing out loud….. best still is that the analogy is a strong one and one that I will likely thing of anytime I find myself considering postponing work that needs to be done….. Not sure if I should say “thank you” or “thanks alot!” LOL….


  3. Maggie Lancy says:

    Love the analogy.

    It is like bugs on the windshield when Tim Sales speaks about distractions!
    If more people would put their teeth into their business and go with the flow with forks in the road and journey of success more people would be successful!

  4. Nelson says:

    Well Mr Warmth, Let hope there was Literary license here in a very fun read with strong advice or I’m afraid Double Beds may be in your future.

  5. Hi Mark ~ I enjoyed how you told this story to make your point! Yes, I believe it is human nature to sometimes put off doing something that makes us uncomfortable (or we just plain ol’ hate doing) until we realize that a pain far greater has or may occur by not taking action. Christine

  6. Mark, I really like how you used being afraid of killing the cockroach to explain how that relates to our fears in network marketing. We all have had them and we just have to just kill our fears much like your wife had to kill the cockroach. Enjoyed this!


  7. Bill Hartman says:

    Interesting analogy, apparently YOUR bathroom and YOU were not a motivating factor for your wife. LOL But her child is a different story!


  8. Loic says:

    That’s funny and interesting at the same time. I guess i have several cockroaches to fight right now. But i have a good advice to start with. Thinking of the pain i will go through if i don’t fight my fears is a good boost to take action

  9. Bill Cowan says:

    Thanks Mark, I live in Florida and they are huge and numerous! AND they FLY …….. facing our fears is important. We need to be over-comer’s and run through the gate to success. We tend to let things bog us down and the fear of that thing can waste many of years…. So thanks for the reminder my friend!

  10. I like that analagy. Cockroaches also seem to go over, under and around things. That’s how we need to approach obstacles in our business.

  11. Mark,

    Thanks for writing this post , i find the information that you have shared of great value to the people that i connect with and going to pass this on to my tribe. I look forward to reading more from you.

  12. Hey Marc, love the story and the analogy.

    What is my cockroach?

    I think mine is in the closing. I can talk in front of a room of hundreds or do a presentation one on one. I am good at listening to people. What I hate is getting to the end to do the invitation. I always hope they will step up and say “where do I sign up”.

  13. Your title made me read this because I hate bugs.I felt for your wife.But I agree with your point.Thanks for a great post.

  14. Mark,
    Great metaphor for finding those “what-for’s” that will motivate us. It’s the cockroaches and spiders that give us the creeps that we must face to be successful.
    Thanks so much,

  15. Clint White says:

    Wow! I really enjoy the way you incorporated humor and a great lesson for us networkers. Keep up the good work.

    Entrepreneur Extraordinaire

  16. Mark,
    What a great story. One of the current obstacles was not having opt in boxes in place. Then i was thinking about needing 52 autoresponders ready. Then today, a new person signed into my new opt in – and I have no autoresponder messages ready. I was so focused on wanting 52 messages, and not getting started, that I didn’t even get a few ready. Tomorrow I will be taking some action on this cockroach, getting it out of the way.

  17. Hi Mark!

    I’m glad to have a chance to be back on your blog! You always have such solid, practical advice. I love this analogy because it really capturesthe essence of what we are all about. In many areas, we don’t take action, because we are not in enough pain or our reasons are not yet at a level to motivate us. Funny how we can overcome in an instant when our motivation is high enough. I hope that I don’t have to be overrun by cockroaches before I act on some of my issues!


    Mentor Mama

  18. Wendy MacKay says:

    Hey Mark, I hope your wife finds your banter as humorous as you do or you may be needing my services at lol Isn’t it amazing how the motherly instinct gets the “call to action”.
    Keep your sense of humor it adds the spice in life.

  19. Mark,
    Love the analogy…why wait til the threat is that big…do it now…

  20. Matthew Neer says:

    Ahh you make a great point Mark, taking action is the determining factor in creating success in Network Marketing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how a cockroach and interpret that message 🙂

  21. LOL … great story with a great message. I really enjoy your writing style.

    Wendy Hewlett

  22. Kathy Jodrey says:

    Humor, a great story, a valuable lesson, and emotions that every parent can feel on a gut level…..what an awesome post! You’ve hit a home run with this one. I can’t wait to get to know your blog better 🙂

    Kathy J

  23. Great post Mark. I to have the same feeling about many bugs as your wife, but I agree when it threatens your kids something inside you just takes over. Your right we need to always be looking what our cockroaches are in our life’s that stop us from taking the action or the next step. Thank you.

  24. I have a terrible fear of cockroaches but my dog likes to help me track them when we are hear alone. We actually have fun together hunting the occasional cockroach down and sending it spinning down the toilet. I don’t think she understands the triumph of the swooshing sound. Just goes to show that some things are better enjoyed with a team around you.

  25. Susan Davis says:

    Interesting….. I have to applaud you for sharing you actually had cockroaches in your space. Most people would never admit that! It is a great analogy for sure and I totally related to the story. I have killing those nasty bugs but you let one get near me or my kids when they were little and buddy, they were toast! I would much rather have a strong man near by to do the dirty work of killing the demons, but since I am a strong willed independent woman… I guess I can tackle those fears myself for the time being!

  26. Angela says:

    Great post! I was very interested to see where you were going to go with that when I read the title. I agree that all of us have things we don’t want to do. We have to get out of our comfort zone sometimes if we want to take our business to the next level.

  27. Angela says:

    Great post! I was very interested to see where you were going to go with that when I read the title. I agree that all of us have things we don’t want to do. Thanks for sharing this!

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  29. AHHHAAAHHHHH! Great analogy!

    There is no money to be made in the comfort zone, if there was we wouldn’t need to learn and stretch, and get better at what we do. It would encourage complacency and stagnation.

    Fortunately stagnation brings death so we are forced to learn and get better all the time which is what makes life worth living!

    Thanks for the ideas. My site talks about networking as well so I look forward to being a repeat reader. Maybe you and I can collaborate on something in the future.

    Have a spectacular day!


  30. Vanessa says:

    You are so right, it’s all about the leverage we are able to apply. That’s also the reason that your first question when starting a business should be “Why do I want to build a business?” When the why is big enough, we will figure out the how.

    Live with passion and purpose,

  31. I wasn’t sure where this was going by the title, but I really like the analogy. Your story is proof that if our why is strong enough any how is possible. You’ve given me things to think about. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Gary Young says:

    I think your talking about putting out fires vs to being systematic. I suppose that goes for networking too.


  33. Boy can I relate with your wife on that one – that’s for sure. Reading your story gave me the shivers – I HATE bugs. I’m so glad you didn’t include a photo LOL

    I absolutely love what you said “Build enough pain into the thought of not taking action and enough pleasure into the thought of taking action….” Great analogy Mark – Thank You!

  34. Great analogy Mark and a fun way to put it. I have learned to approach cockroaches by imagining how I will feel having pushed through it. The feeling drives me forward.


  35. Hi Mark,

    Presented with the choice nothing happened. Then instinct took over. To be able to harness that every day would be very powerful indeed…

    Thanks for the story. My kind of humor 🙂



  36. Hey Mark!

    Living in Arizona my wife got bit by a scorpion after about 6 months of living here…ouch! She was not a happy camper. I love posts that are stories like this Mark. Even though your wife probably wasn’t happy with it on her leg, I can relate to the network marketing angle. Mine is picking up the “2 ton” phone.


  37. Great lessons can be learned from even the most mundane events. Your cockroach story paints a picture I can relate to. Living in Florida, I’ve learned, albeit reluctantly, to protect my offspring (now grown) from various critters that just pop up and have to be dealt with on the spot. I call it the Mama Bear Syndrome and it kicks in every time. Sometimes I’ve been amazed at myself, how fearless I can deal with things that just have to be dealt with. 10 stars out of 10 for telling your story openly and honestly – and 10 more stars for making it a humorous one.

  38. Success in network marketing comes from daily, consistent efforts. We must face our fears and overcome them. A price must be paid for success. We all have to pay it if we desire success. Let’s attach our “cockroaches” and conquer them!

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