I got this inspiring comment from a reader yesterday.
|Hi Imtiaz! Your blog is awesome and it was super to see you on the #AshokaUonline call/twitter stream tonight! I’m really inspired by your determination and your willingness to take control of where you want to go and discover new things in such a productive and proactive way at such a young age! I wish you much success and all the best on your journey. Please feel free to contact me if you feel I could help you in any way! Cheers!|
More on that in a second. I have done a lot of reading in the past couple months. Learned A TON. Even more than I learned in school. From networking to entrepreneurship to speaking to programming, it never ended. (and I hope it never does.) I hope I never stop learning because when you stop learning, it means you have stopped doing. Stopped growing. I can’t let that happen.
Reading “Never Eat Alone” and “Enchantment” really changed the way I viewed networking. I used to think networking meant getting people to do what you want. Manipulation even. It seemed unethical. I would picture rich manipulative businesspeople at a lavish gala on a wealthy estate kissing up to other rich manipulative businesspeople to get a bigger lavish estate. Compliments flying in from every direction. Eyes darting behind heads and over shoulders. Handshakes and fake smiles perfected to impress.
When I think of networking now I picture two people genuinely trying to get to know each other organically. This is how I do it anyways. Most people do it wrong. They act selfish. They focus on themselves. All “me, me, me.” And “I this, I that.” Stop reading and look back at the comment above. Notice anything? If not re-read it. Anything now? If the answer is still no, re-read it again until you do.
Need some help? I emphasized some parts.
|Hi Imtiaz! YOUR blog is awesome and it was super to see YOU on the #AshokaUonline call/twitter stream tonight! I’m really inspired by YOUR determination and YOUR willingness to take control of where YOU want to go and discover new things in such a productive and proactive way at such a young age! I wish you much success and all the best on YOUR journey. Please feel free to contact me if YOU feel I could help YOU in any way! Cheers!|
She focused entirely on me and even offered me some help. True networking. Focus on others. Not on yourself. Just something I learned from my reading. One change makes all the difference. In a world where everyone is focusing on themselves, just one selfless act is greatly appreciated. Successful networking is counterintuitive. It’s all about being selfless and giving. Give in every way you possible can. Give skills. Give advice. Give connections. Give support. Give money. And if you don’t have any of the above, give time. Use this reader’s comment as a model when networking. Don’t be surprised when they reply.
I didn’t know how to thank this kind reader. But what better way than in a blog post?
The AshokaUOnline she refers to is a free online lecture series on entrepreneurship and globalization. The first lecture was on creating social value. It also mirrors some techniques from The Lean Startup. Brilliant resource. I met some amazing people, like the kind woman above. I also learned some valuable information. (of course, you can follow me on twitter and stay updated) The lectures are every Monday and Wednesday from 7:30-8:30pm EST. This lasts until July 18th. Count on me being there. At least virtually. I’ll be the one focusing on others.
[How do you network?]