Everyone has a network of people around them, but not everyone has a network that can help them achieve their goals. The beginning of a new year is a really great time to take a moment to look at the network that you currently have.
What I’ve learned is that the difference between a network that does very little and a network that transforms your life is whether or not the people in the network are as committed to your success as you are to theirs.
So how do you know?
One of the things that works really well is to make a small request. This could be asking for a LinkedIn recommendation, a retweet on Twitter, or even just asking for them to answer one question for you about a piece of sales copy. If the person ignores you or doesn’t help in any way, then they may not really be as supportive as they say they are.
The fact of the matter is that you are going to meet a lot of people who are happy to take referrals and introductions from you, but not nearly as many who are going to ask you about what you need and actually help you with it. By asking for something small and watching the response you can see how interested these people are in helping you achieve your goals.
There are plenty of people out there who say that you should just give as much as possible and the universe will reward you. What most of these people fail to mention is that the universe is on its own timeline. Sure, you may be rewarded, but who knows if that is three weeks or three years from now?
I made the mistake far too many times of blindly giving and never asking for anything, and it caused a lot of challenges in the growth of my business. In some cases I was sending people hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business while wondering where my next meal was going to come from.
Now, I pay attention to who in my network will help when I reach out and I focus more of my time on the people I consider my advocates.
A healthy network is one in which there is a balance of giving and asking among the community and you all benefit together.
This month, take that time to ask who really has your back and who has been giving you lip service. Your network will become more effective, you’ll be spending time with people who help you move the needle, and you’ll be clearing out those who will drain you and hold you back.
The more you prune the weeds, the faster your flower will grow.