Meet someone new every week

 

You do not rise to the level of your goals
you fall to the level of your systems and habits. 


James Clear

Without goals everything we do can fit loosely or neatly under the circus tent of life undefined.

But we underestimate the power of small habits. Taking even micro steps consistently can get us closer to our goals.

The key here is habits and systems. Discipline to improve. To practice. To advance.

Minor changes that yield bigger outcomes. It is intuitive but so tough to do.

I am reminded of several proven concepts.

Kaizen is a Japanese term that means “continuous improvement” and is a key concept in the Japanese business culture. It emphasizes the importance of making small and incremental improvements in all aspects of a business, from manufacturing processes to customer service.

The 1 % Rule proves that small differences accumulate into significant advantages. The 1 % Rule states that the biggest rewards will come from small adjustments to habits and systems. We don’t need to be twice as good to get twice the results.

In my work advising a company, we discovered that a 1% increase in customer retention would send $7 million to operating income (profit), a 5% increase!

Systems and habits are about a lifestyle of effort. Making the time to do the work.

Every Olympian wants the gold medal, but which athletes will have the habits and systems to maximize their potential.

I love the story retold by James Clear in his book Atomic Habits about the British cycling team.

Dave Brailsford was hired as the cycling coach for Great Britain in 2003. in 110 years of dismal world and Olympic results, never winning the TdF and only one Olympic gold medal.  His coaches began by making small adjustments to bike redesigns, seat adjustments, putting alcohol on the tires for increased traction. Electrically heated pants to maintain ideal muscle temperature.  Biofeedback sensors to monitor how each athlete responds to workouts. Tested various fabrics in a wind tunnel and had their outdoor riders switch to indoor racing suits, which proved to be lighter and more aerodynamic.

But they didn’t stop there. Brailsford and his team continued to find 1 % improvements in unexpected areas. They tested different types of massage gels to see which one led to the fastest muscle recovery. They hired a surgeon to teach each rider the best way to wash their hands to reduce the chances of catching a cold. They determined the type of pillow and mattress that led to the best night’s sleep for each rider. They even painted the inside of the team truck white, which helped them spot little bits of dust that would normally slip by unnoticed but could degrade the performance of the finely tuned bikes.

As these and hundreds of other small improvements accumulated, the results came faster than anyone could have imagined.
Just five years after Brailsford took over, the British Cycling team dominated the road and track cycling events at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where they won an astounding 60 percent of the gold medals available. Four years later, when the Olympic Games came to London, the Brits raised the bar as and set nine Olympic records and seven world records.

Continuous improvement is a system. It is scheduled. It is rigorous. It is measured.

I enjoyed Brian Grazer’s book on curiosity titled “A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life.” If you can navigate a few egotistical moments, this book shares his philosophy on the importance of curiosity as a driving force for personal and professional growth.

While he was an aspiring nobody, through today, Brian meets with someone new and prominent in their fields. In the beginning, he was very creative in getting his appointments. Now he has access to almost anyone.

But it was the habit of meeting people every week that contributed greatly to his perspective, his film interests, and his powerful network.  

Here is a habit, a system, that anyone can adopt that will advance your life and your career.

Set a goal to meet someone new, interesting, and/or “prominent” every week.

Dating does not count. 😊 Prominent does not mean famous. But an emerging player in a field. Someone you follow now, again not celebrities. Could be an influencer, a 2nd tier connection on Linked-in.

Or just someone you met at church, on the golf course, or at a zoom conference.
 
If it is easier go back through your contacts and reconnect with people you knew. Former professors, colleagues, neighbors.

One meeting a week, with Zoom, say 30-45 mins. 3 hours max a month. About 1% of your free time!

52 new connections a year that are connected to thousands of others as your network expands.  

Yes, this is networking. But it is a habit that is not propelled by your unemployment or to make sales. It is networking to become a better you and to reconnect you to the world.

Your agenda is to trot out your ideas and your interests. To get feedback on what you are working on. It is also to obtain new thoughts and perspective on the world you don’t know.

We must hone our identities, not who we say we are, but who we really are.

Networking will improve our frames of reference.

Some of these connections will take you on adventures of the spirit and the mind. It will energize you. It will get you out of your mind and into new mindsets.

Plus, you will be mainlining a dosage of connection and community into your increasingly isolated and individualistic world.

We accumulate new case studies, models, new perspectives to improve ours. Refine what we think and say. What we read and what we follow. What shows we watch. What restaurants we patronize. What books we read.

Our journeys can be lonely and not entirely unique, and we can learn from what others do and think.

Each insight gained, micro advantages, turns into a new part of our system, our model and our identity.

I have practiced this habit almost my whole life. Meeting with new people every week. It has yielded so much for me and my network. It has redefined my goals as much as helped me achieve them. And it has expanded my community and my horizons.

It can feel like you start from a standstill. Then every meeting will yield one or more new meetings and referrals. There is a flywheel effect. The idea that small, consistent actions can lead to significant momentum and growth over time. When we consistently invest time and effort in activities that lead to opportunities for career advancement, increased visibility and influence, and greater job satisfaction and fulfillment.

It’s never enough to make one big effort and expect significant results; rather, success is built through small, consistent habits that gradually build momentum and drive career and life development.

So set your lofty goals but form the habits and systems to pursue your goals. Small 1 % changes that will revolutionize your journey.

Put it on your weekly to-do list. Start with one meeting next week.

The answer to everything. 

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