Just because you can, doesn’t mean
you should

I don’t know if anyone else is like this, but I know I, at least, have a bad case of Do-It-Yourself. If I think I have the faintest chance of being able to take care of the situation without asking someone else for help, I will — even if it makes absolutely no sense for me to do so. This can make networking a bit challenging. After all, while part of networking is finding ways to serve your network, the other half of the equation is being willing to accept their help in return. After all, isn’t that what a referral is?

So, as they say, the first step is acknowledging you have a problem. Here are a few warning signs.

  1. When someone asks how they can help you, you don’t ask for what you need, even if they are the perfect person to ask.
  2. You spend hours of your time (which you could be billing at $100/hour in your business) on a task which you could hire someone to do for $50.
  3. You would rather have an “underwhelming” website that you built yourself instead of paying to have a Web designer build a truly professional site (that might convince prospects that you are actually serious about your business).
If this describes you, then, trust me, I understand. Now it’s up to you to break yourself of the habit. Sit down right now and come up with two or three responses to the question, “How can I help you?” They don’t have to be particularly big things. Maybe you are going on vacation and you’d like to know what the best restaurants in Montreal are. Perhaps you are looking for a venue to hold a kids birthday party. Maybe you just want to find some speaking opportunities. Whatever it is, pick something. Then, the next time someone asks, be sure to let them know.
Yes, we’ve grown up on the myth of the rugged individualist, and I guess that’s still a path we can take. The challenge is that we’ll spend a lot of time working on things which could be ours for the asking if we just let our network know what we seek. If you really want to succeed, the next time someone asks how they can help, do something that will really make you stand out from the crowd…
…actually tell them.
Photo credit: Randen Pederson