Didn’t I just clean this yesterday?

Just cleaning the desk isn’t enough.

I have a number of friends who are professional organizers. They help people who have challenges dealing with the clutter of modern life. The mistake that most of their new clients make is just wanting help to get things organized. That’s part of what happens, but it’s not the most important one.

The real trick is coming up with systems and processes so that the newly organized client stays organized.

There’s not much point in cleaning up someone’s messy desk if they keep the same disorganized attitudes which made things a mess in the first place.

Networking is the same way.

Usually what happens to most people is they run into some difficulty in their life or business. They lose their job or they need a new client or their child needs a connection to get into a good school. When that obstacle crops up, they get busy networking. They spend a lot of time and effort connecting and reconnecting to build a network sufficient to meet their need. Then, when they no longer have that need, they return to their old ways and let that network start to evaporate.

Until the next time they need help.

A better way to approach this is to stop thinking so much about the end product — getting the client or getting the job, or getting the child into the school — and think of it more as a process. What behaviors do we have to maintain in order to have a powerful resource that we can call upon when we are in need?

If we focus on sharpening the ax, then we’re ready when we have a tree that needs felling.

My Karate instructor, Grand Master Keith Hafner tells us that it’s easier to clean something that’s already clean rather than wait until it gets dirty. Maintenance is cheaper than repair.

Maintaining your relationships is a lot easier than building new ones every time you need them.