Future Focus

It had to grow this big.
 It didn’t start out this way.

Today I was working with my friend and business advisor, Jim Woods of LST Advisors, LLC. I really enjoy my sessions with him. For a couple of hours, I get to set aside the day-to-day requirements of working in my business in order to spend some time working on my business. Jim has a remarkable skill to help his clients focus on the big picture for a while — to try to understand why it is that we do what we do so that we can make sure we design our business to support those high level goals.

Well, today we were talking about my BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal). As he puts it, this is the concept which will inspire me when the hours get long and the demands grow seemingly without bounds. It’s that shining future that I want to bring into being through the process of growing my business. Needless to say, figuring this out is going to take a lot more than fifteen minutes of brainstorming.

Still, in our work today, I did come up with a few ideas that showed me some glimmers of the future I want to realize. One of them was simply to change the way people think about networking. Right now, many folks think of networking as just a fancy way of saying “sales”. They attend events solely for the purpose of schmoozing for clients. These are the folks who give networking (and sales, for that matter) a bad name.

My goal would be for people to want to network because they want to build powerful, interconnected relationships with a wide variety of people. People would create a network the same way they would seek an education — with the idea of creating success for themselves (both in their personal and business lives) and in the communities to which they belong. For them, their network would help them create a profitable business almost as a side benefit.

So, how will I know when I get there?

I’ll know when a prospect for my coaching business approaches me and says “I want to grow my network” and stops there instead of adding “so I can grow my business”. I’ll know when the phrase “He succeeded because of who he knew” is a compliment instead of a criticism. I’ll know when I address an audience and tell them that “networking is important to achieve success beyond just your business” and they look back at me, stifling a yawn, and say “but, of course!”

This could take a while. I’d better get busy.

Photo credit: Bert van ‘t Hul

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About Greg Peters

Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with trade associations on both the local and national level to create a culture of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at www.TheReluctantNetworker.com or gpeters@thereluctantnetworker.com.

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