We live in a period of unprecedented opportunity. The secrets of enduring advantage are available to anyone who wishes to climb to the very pinnacle of achievement. Each article in this series highlights two critical attributes from our book, 101 Keys to Achievement and Fulfillment. This is the thirtieth installment. Determine your favourite key as you travel this incredible journey. Enjoy the read!!!
Networking versus Opportunity
A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together – Johann Von Goethe.
Social capital has come to the fore as one of the most important assets in career success. Today, the highest paid people in many organisations are those with social intelligence or networking skills; the people who can get on very easily with others and cooperate with a wide array of people to achieve excellent results. Networking is universally regarded as one of the most important attributes of entrepreneurs seeking business success. In that regard, anyone seeking to enhance their career or opportunities in life must build a solid network of relationships that they can leverage at different times for different purposes.
Networking is about interacting with others to exchange information and develop useful contacts. It may be in a formal setting or group like an old students’ association, business club or a social group like Rotary International, Lions Club or the Journalists Association. This type has rules, regulations and a well-defined code of association. A network could also be informal; like a group of friends who periodically meet to drink up and discuss opportunities. It could even be a virtual or e-mail group that exchanges ideas or chats about issues on the Internet.
Commit yourself to cultivating healthy relationships that can add value to your life and career. As a first step, you must have an eye for spotting important interdependencies. You must be able to determine which people have something to teach you or provide to help you achieve your dreams. You must easily identify people who can complement you in your areas of weakness when you see them. Networking is not just about knowing people; it is more about people with shared interests linking up for the purposes of synergy. The focus in networking must not only be on receiving but also on giving and investing in others.
Your key to successfully building your network is to focus on providing value for others. That gives you more leverage and ensures that you are remembered and appreciated in the group. When you meet people, make a good first impression; listen with rapt attention when they are introduced or when they speak. Show genuine interest in them and make it a point to compliment them on any notable achievements of theirs you may know about. That easily becomes a good starting point for building a synergistic relationship.
People who are pushy and try to force themselves on people they have just met for the first time often fail to make a good impression. Allow relationships to develop naturally. Be conscious of your interest as well as the other party’s sensibilities. A sense of appreciation, consistency and a willingness to share can help keep those important relationships you will need in order to achieve your dreams.
Key Thought: I will consistently improve my people skills and build a strong network of synergistic relationships.
“Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison.
An old farmer became excited one day after hearing from a travelling merchant about men who had travelled to Africa, discovered diamond mines and had become fabulously rich. He decided to sell off his farm and head off into Africa to grab his share of the diamond wealth. For many years, he combed the interior of the continent looking for the diamonds. Eventually, he ran out of money, was abandoned by all and committed suicide in his desperation.
Meanwhile, on the land he had sold, the new farmer was out one day watering his donkey by a stream that ran through the farm. He suddenly saw a stone reflecting sunlight in an unusual way. He took it home and kept it in his fireplace. One day the same merchant stopped by for the night and happened to see the stone. He immediately got excited and asked if the old farmer had returned from Africa. As the farmer explained the origin, the merchant just kept shaking his head in unbelief. That was a huge diamond of really great value. They ran together to the stream and found to their surprise that there were many more diamonds littered around.
“He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he had failed.” – William James.
The story of Acres of Diamonds, first told by Russell Conwell and repeated thousands of times, typifies an important aspect of opportunity. Many times we tend to look everywhere else rather than inside our own lives in the false belief that there are no opportunities there. It is said that the grass always looks greener on the other side. Several people in developing countries line up at embassies of foreign countries and sometimes even pay thousands of dollars illegally to conmen just to help them get visas to travel abroad. They often end up doing the most menial jobs under the illusion that it is the only way to become wealthy and successful.
Similarly, many people are steeped in prejudice about the career options that they believe are financially more rewarding. They therefore easily abandon whatever they are building systematically in order to migrate into what is supposed to be far more lucrative. Like the old farmer in the story, these travellers and economic migrants often end up disappointed and disillusioned by the results they get. They sometimes find out when it is too late that they were better off staying where they were. Sadly, people like that often fail to learn the important lessons from their experiences and therefore keep repeating their mistakes.
Opportunities in life are like mineral ores. They often look rough and dirty and show very little promise when they are first discovered. It is only when they are refined and polished with time and effort that they become the finished article that everyone craves for. Of course, by that time, those who had the foresight to see the opportunities from afar and buy into them will be far ahead, and rightly so.
The difficult assignment everyone seems to be running from could be your last test for your long-awaited promotion. The diligent, honest young man whose business proposal you may be stalling on because of his present financial challenges could become the millionaire partner you have always wanted. The small business you have painstakingly grown for the past couple of years may be a multinational conglomerate in the making. Have a keen sense of judgment and don’t miss your opportunities when they come.
Key Thought: Lord, open my eyes to see the opportunities that lie all around me. Give me the courage to dig up the raw ore and polish it till it becomes the pure gold of success.
“101 Keys to Achievement & Fulfillment” by Albert & Comfort Ocran
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“God gives every bird a worm, but he does not throw it into the nest.” – Swedish Proverb.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Albert & Comfort Ocran are Executive Coaches, Authors and Media lEducators. Their extensive list of corporate training clients can be found in the mining, petrochemical, banking, insurance, finance, telecommunications, manufacturing, public sector and not-for-profit agencies. You can reach them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call, SMS or Whatsapp 024 9999 000.