Falling and Diving Into Your Network

Most of us have done some sensitivity training where we fall into the arms of our colleagues to test and build our trust with others. I have never done crowd surfing by jumping into an audience. But authentic networking is always about jumping, always about trusting, and always about being vulnerable–if you want to foster a sense of community, mutuality, reciprocity, and commonality. Most people misinterpret networking for getting something. But the lifestyle of networking and mentoring is give first, ask questions later. You dive into your network to assist and to be assisted. You seek to help and seek the help of others. You reveal your true questions, challenges, and dreams and encourage others to do the same. 

In the sushi world there is the chef's choice or omakase. It is literally called Trust Me on some menus and in some higher end sushi establishments. It is tantamount to saying, "Do your thing!"You trust the chef to give you the best, the freshest, and often his most artistic creations. So you trust the chef. I am talking about two-way omakase. Trust We. Networking and mentoring start with mutual trust. When you fall into the network, the network will be there. When I fall into the network I will be there for others.

Amanda Palmer's powerful Tedtalk about the art of asking is really about the art of giving and receiving. It is about trust. She is an extreme crowd, couch, and life surfer, but the lessons are powerful reminders of what it takes to build a strong network. 

Some of us are looking for the needle in the haystack. We think the needle is the answer. The haystack is bigger and more complex today. When you are obsessed with the needle you miss the hay. We can treat others, even those close to us, as so much straw that we toss aside in our quest for the elusive needle. You realize that looking through the haystack alone is crazy and you enlist others who know the hay and other needle seekers. Then you realize that the needle is really part of a life compass and it was giving you direction. The needle was a catalyst for the quest not the destination. You help others find their needles. Once you fall into the haystack, you realize it is fun and it is more fun when you do it with others. New thoughts, goals emerge, your network expands and deepens and your life path is revealed through the process of self discovery. Surrender to the haystack not the needle. 

When you really see each other, we want to help each other.  Amanda Palmer

There are so many reasons to doubt the sincerity of others. We have become so cynical that we don't even trust ourselves. I am talking about YOUR network. Now if you built it by adding FB friends or Linkedin people who you don't know or care about, these network are not built on trust. But you have a circle of friends, confidantes, colleagues who you trust and would trust them to connect you to trustworthy humans, then you have a network worth diving into. I said dive, not skim, not dabble, not experiment–but fall and then dive! 

Yes yes yes, this all takes time. I apologize, but successful people (those would be the busiest people) know that these investments are not only advisable but essential. Investments in the Trust We network have to be made. 

Lazy and uninspired people say, "I don't have anything to offer others." "My network is weak or ineffective." "I don't know anybody who can help me." These are lame excuses. It is amazing who you know but don't know.

Trust yourself. Trust others. Start re-connecting with your network but lead by helping others. Fall into your network and let them help you. Let the needle guide you without passing the needs of others. Let your fall become a dive into an adventure that your network will reveal. It will lessen your cynicism, it will strengthen your confidence, and it will empower WE. 

Thanks for reading. John

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