Steps to Networking – Step 38: Get yourself there

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 7th, 2010

STEP 38: Get yourself there

Put your self in places and positions where the magic can occur. As Woody Allen said, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.”

“Schedule yourself to be in the right places where you can meet the targets you seek,” Jeff Kahn, the Chief Strategic Officer of Ruder Finn, Inc., advises. “I’ve met at least a third of the people who became my good friends or people who became my business customers in the first class airline lounges or in business class plane seats. Choose the gym where you work out not just because of its equipment, but also factor in the people who you will be there that you interact with.”

Kahn, who is in public relations, works out in a gym frequented by celebrities and policy makers. “The interactions at the gym forge bonds that are stronger than those created at terse business meetings because they’re based on shared experienced. They go beyond just transactional or business dealings. Every choice you make—where you work out, where you eat lunch—creates opportunities. If you have an idea where you want to go in life, then those choices will create better opportunities for you,” Kahn stressed.

Get out of the office or the house and expose yourself to people and experiences that can move you in new and exciting directions. Relinquish some of the control that may keep you languishing in the same old place, repeating the same task and making the same mistakes. Expose yourself because you never can predict what might happen.

NETWORKING NUGGET

Personal branding expert Karen McCullough had just closed the retail business that she ran for over 20 years to become a speaker. As her new career was starting to pick up, Karen’s friend Mary invited her to accompany her to Jazzfest in New Orleans, which was to be held the last weekend of April. Karen agreed and bought a ticket, but a few weeks later, she was asked to speak at a major event. However, the event conflicted with Jazzfest so Karen decided to forego Jazzfest, stay home and worry.

When she called Mary to cancel, Mary reminded Karen that she had worked day and night, weekends and holidays in retail. Karen had blamed retail for her empty life and now it looked like she was repeating the same mistakes. “The first thing you have to do in life,” Mary explained, “is show up.” So, Karen heeded her advice and agreed to go to New Orleans.

Jazzfest was an absolute blast! Great food, drinks, music, people and fun in the sun. On the final day, Sting was the headliner. Although Karen had never seen him in concert, she fell in love with him that night.

At 6:30, Karen had to leave to catch her flight home. She said goodbye to Mary, waved up at Sting and I sadly left the fairgrounds. The thought of returning to work the next day sent pangs of fear deep into the pit of her stomach; after all that jazz, Karen had a bad case of the Sunday Night Blues.

In line at the airport, Karen spotted a guy in front of her who resembled Sting. As they bent over to pick up their bags, she still wasn’t sure if it was Sting. Karen didn’t want to ask him if he was Sting, but she really wanted to know. Then it hit her. As his ear passed by her mouth, she started singing, “Roxanne you don’t have to do do do do da.” She didn’t know the words. Then he looked up, smiled and softly sang, “Turn on the red light.” It really was Sting!

Sting and Karen walked down the jetway, talking without stop like old friends. He walked her to her gate, said good-bye and began walking away to catch a flight for Los Vegas. As Karen watched him leave, she suddenly heard a voice yell “Sting.” It was her voice. As he turned, Karen ran to him, grabbed his face and kissed him.

That’s when Karen understood why they call him Sting!

Watch out for comfort, being comfortable can be a trap. It can keep you in bed, in the house and in the same old same old where it’s hard to progress. Comfort can stymie growth and keep you treading water. Although we all work to be more comfortable, comfort can be a trap. So, break old habits, break the mold, take chance, do something daring and try something new.

(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)

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