Everyone has a story.
The goal of these posts is supposed to be weekly inspiration. Life has been hectic these last couple weeks though, so my writing has not been as consistent as I would have hoped. I’m always preaching consistency, but I think a more important message is that it’s okay for life to get in the way as long as we’re doing our best. Perfection is not the goal.
Finally had a moment this morning to catch up, so here are some thoughts that have been on my mind that I want to share for this week’s inspiration…
To anyone in Austin, if you haven’t experienced SXSW, you should! There are a bunch of events going on and lots of opportunities for learning, networking, and having fun. For a list of all the free events going on follow this link —>>> SXSW 2018 FREE EVENTS
Speaking of SXSW and my “networking” theme, this week I am reflecting on two important actions that have helped me in social settings over the years:
- Be kind to everyone, no matter who it is and what the situation.
- Everyone has a story they deserve to tell. Give them the time.
I am a huge believer that if every person in life was able to do number 1, this world would be a completely different place. If there is one thing we can all be in life, it is KIND. Even to those who have slighted us, LET IT GO! There is too much space on this planet, and not enough time to be worried about others. Let them do them, YOU DO YOU.
How does this apply to networking scenarios? Who has the friends that always ask who is going to be at different events or gatherings? We all do. And sometimes those friends decide not to go certain places because of other people. What they are not thinking about is how much energy they are spending, time they are wasting, and power they are giving to that other person that they don’t care to see. Meanwhile at the event or social gathering could be their future soulmate, best friend, or business partner, who knows. Instead of thinking in the negative, LET IT GO, focus on the positive and just be KIND. And if your friends consistently do this, go find new ones — there are great people out there!
Now onto number 2. This is something I have actively been trying to improve every time I step foot out of my door. I am a talker (thanks mom) so when I get to talking it is hard for me to stop. While this has been a great tool in many scenarios, the skill of listening has turned out to be the most powerful and useful. Life is a big conglomeration of people, problems, and lack of attention. For any person or business looking to expand their network, I highly recommend putting your head to the ground and listening. There are so many consumers out there, so instead of trying to sell to the wrong ones, LISTEN and you just might find the right ones. People buy from people, not from “salesy” guys/girls.
Even if you are not networking for business reasons, it is important you still listen. I remember a specific instance where stubbornness to conform got in the way for several of the people around. A few months back, I was at an Amazon Web Services event and towards the end we had a chance to meet all the speakers. There was a catch though, we had to stand in long lines to maybe get a minute with the speaker. The engineer in me cringes at lines because I know how inefficient they are, especially in today’s world of social media where we can contact people in so many different ways. So I had a thought. Why were we all waiting there to talk to this one person as if only he had the answers? What about everyone else around us? We were all there for a reason, why not make conversation amongst ourselves, and who knows what kinds of answers we’ll find. It occurred to me in that moment that these people did not really need the speaker’s attention or some “miracle advice,” they just needed someone to hear what they were saying and meet someone who could help. All they needed was someone to listen to them.
When I consult on this attitude, I like to remind others that we can learn something from EVERYONE. Either how to do things, or how not to do things…the latter is almost always more important. The ONE guy on stage probably only has time to tell you how he got rich, successful, etc. while hundreds around you can tell you stories of how to save your time and implement strategies to speed your own process up. All you have to do is be willing to LISTEN.
To THRIVE this week, be kind to everyone you interact with, and listen more than you speak. It may sound easy, but it is a tall order to fill – give it a try!