Life is all about relationships. Whether it’s a family member, a work colleague or a sport team mate, the relationship you have with each will either add to, or takeaway from your enjoyment in life.
Are you a Solo Warrior?
Some people see themselves as solo warriors, fighting through life to reach success no matter what the cost. This can be a lonely place. Others lack confidence and look to their peers or elders for approval, which is rarely given. This can be a lonely place. Many find it easier to hide behind a computer screen or television. This can be a lonely place.
At a recent networking event, I met some high achieving business owners. Everyone was friendly, most who approached couldn’t wait to tell me about their product or service and swiftly moved on once they realised I was not a potential client. I actually liked quite a few of these people and wanted to find out more about them (not just their product).
We all know that we are not our job it is just one role we play as part of our varied lives. So why do we act like robots doing a job when at a business event? (One woman told me that her goal for the evening was to hand out as many business cards as possible). The only person to gain from that was her printer!
What means more to you: Money or Identity?
I remember when I worked for a large corporation in the 1990s and they had to cut costs. They asked people to volunteer for redundancy in return for a very handsome amount of money. Some took it but most didn’t. The money wasn’t important to them. They were financially stable and some near retirement. It was a lack of identity that scared them. Their confidence was built on their position within the company, their place in society was built on their position within the company, their identity was built on their position within the company, their skills and self-belief were built on their position within the company and they knew they would be lost without that mask, that shield, that brand, that logo, that position. This taught me a great lesson: it is important to discover who I am from the inside out and to discover who others are from the inside out.
So the next time you go to a networking event allow yourself to wonder about the person talking to you: what makes them tick, why are they in that particular profession, what other exciting or interesting things have they done? Start by asking ‘who are you?’ and ‘why do you do…?’ instead of just saying ‘what do you do?’
The interactions we enjoy most are with the people we get to know and make a personal connection with. These people are usually eager to help us grow our business and introduce us to their contacts. These are some of the questions I like to ask. Try them the next time you go to a networking event and be ready to hear people asking for your business card.
- When you are not working what do you like to do?
- How do you or your business make a difference?
- Why did you get into your line of work?
- What’s exciting in your life at the moment?
- Do you have children?
- Have you ever been to Scotland?