Friday, October 15, 2010

Succeed by Giving

#PIMPtipoftheday: When you network, ask what you can do for THEM, not what they can do for you.

That was today’s tip.  I sent it out and wondered what the reaction would be. 

Networking:  the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business

Do you see the word “selfish” in the definition?  I didn’t think so. 

I witness so many people on Twitter “network” by solely promoting themselves or asking,  “What can you do for ME?” 

Maybe they don’t directly come out and ask that question, but the subtext in their actions screams it.  When my DM stream gets clogged up with “gimme, gimme, gimme”, I shake my head in disbelief. 

Pondering this selfishness made me take a look back at my own networking strategy.  Where had I achieved the most success?  Why had those connections succeeded and not others?  The answer didn’t surprise me. 

I helped them first.  Proactively.  Happily.  Without obligation or expectation.  Just reached out and helped simply because I could.  Period. 

Through an intertwining series of networking opportunities, I landed a gig teaching a screenwriting webinar for Writer’s Digest.  That class was yesterday.   I learned from teaching.  The participants learned from listening.  But we all connected on a selfless level. 

My email inbox was pinging like mad after the class with exclamations of gratitude and declarations of a break in their writer’s block.  You can’t imagine how great that felt. 

Teaching is just another way of helping people, bringing them joy, and giving them skills they need to succeed.  I hope to do it often.

So, as your Twitter Pimp Angel turned teacher, here’s your homework assignment:

Do something selfless for someone in the next week.  Don’t expect a thing in return.  Just reach out and help.  I double-dog dare you not to enjoy the rewards.

Does this mean you can never ask for help?  Absolutely not.  It just means you need to give back too.  Don’t be a Hoover, sucking all the energy out of your relationships.  Nurture them and give something first. 

You really do get back what you give.