If you’re like many people, you’re probably interested in making connections that can help you build your business, find a better job, work your way up the organizational ladder, or help you do a great job on a project. Or perhaps you’re new to a community and want to start meeting people and establishing a new social circle. You could even be searching for a decent date for Saturday night. Whatever your situation, it’s time to be more proactive (and intentional) and less random and reactive as you meet people and build your connections.
Here are three of my favorite tips that can yield amazingly good results.
Walk your dog (or simply walk). Think I’m kidding? After getting a dog eight years ago, walking her regularly all over my community, and going to various dog parks and events, I discovered she was a “connections magnet.”
I was meeting dozens of new, interesting, generous, high caliber, and of course dog-loving friends.
These new friends included an executive coach who travels the world advising Fortune 500 executives as well as authors, media people, philanthropists, executives, academics, creatives, entrepreneurs, celebrities, community leaders, athletes, and experts of all kinds.
How did my dog do this? Well for starters she is extremely cute. A regular show-stopper. What’s more, dogs in general are social creatures, supreme ice breakers, exude enthusiasm, love and positive energy, and bridge the gaps and inhibitions we can sometimes have when encountering strangers.
Don’t have a dog? Then at least get out for a walk in your community and talk to people who have dogs. Works almost as well. (Granted, not all dogs are friendly, properly trained, or socialized, so use your best judgment before approaching and petting someone’s dog.)
Decide to say “yes” more often. Life offers us so many opportunities to try new things and meet new people. But so often we hang back, play it safe, and stick with what we know or what feels comfortable. How dreary! This is no way to go through life or build a more powerful or interesting network.
You can do better! And all it takes is a “yes.”
Think about the things you’ve always wanted to do and the people you’ve longed to meet. Are you not acting on these because the mere thought leaves you anxious or overwhelmed? Realize that the hesitation, discomfort, or anxiety you feel (and is in your head) is likely far worse than the sensation of actually taking the leap.
Get out a notebook right now and create two ongoing lists: one that includes the things you yearn to do in your life; one that includes the people you’d like to meet. The latter can be actual names or simply descriptive words.
Next, set a goal of acting on just ONE item on each list a week and see how it feels. Not so bad, right? You’re on your way! And guess what? As you say “yes” to more things you will automatically meet new people. And likely some very interesting ones.
I did this when I started doing triathlons a couple of years ago. In training and at the events, even when my knees were shaking and I didn’t have total faith in my abilities, I met some incredible people. Many of them had similar fears (who knew?). As we talked and shared, we built each other up – and also built lasting bonds.
Note: Saying “yes” more often can be so powerful that I keep the word “Yes” on the bulletin board in my office as a reminder.
Practice pronoia. What? What’s that? Pronoia is the opposite of paranoia; the concept and belief that the Universe is actually conspiring to benefit and bless you and others. I learned about pronoia from a friend who has the most incredible outlook on life and enjoys a life that continually blesses him with amazing friends and experiences. He recommended I get a copy of Rob Brezsny’s somewhat wacky, but always fascinating book Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings.
While this book may not be for everyone, it’s loaded with interesting and sometimes even radical concepts, stories, facts, and quotes. It’s like the author dumped out an entire file cabinet of tidbits he had collected over a lifetime.
While sometimes the concept of pronoia is a little out there, it has merit and has strengthened my optimism. And once you have a more positive mindset and a clear picture of what you’re seeking and who you want to meet (which essentially calibrates a part of your brain called the Reticular Activating System), the right circumstances seem to fall into place naturally and the right people show up in your life at precisely the right time and in exactly the right way. Try it.
In fact, try all three of these tips. I’d love to know how they work in your life.
I’d also love to get your thoughts on the topic of my new book: How conversation leads to connection. I invite you to take my very brief survey here.
Get Patti’s book here:
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