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. 


  1. I couldn't agree more. And you're spot on when it comes to Twitter. #ihearttwitter
    Each time I get a new follower I ALWAYS look at their Twitter page and, if they have one, their website. If the new follower's Twitter feed is nothing but self-promotion, I don't return the follow because it's clear they have no interest in building a relationship, but rather marketing themselves (which I know is important) but I'd like to think my small following came orgainically. Maybe I'm just weird like that. :)

    Great post, Jeanne!

    C xx

  2. Thanks, Cathleen. I always look at a person's Twitter page too. If I see something in their bio or tweets I can help with, I try to start the connection that way. It's not always easy to find the time to help others, but it's definitely how I prefer to conduct myself online and in real life. Sappy, I know, but I've been like this since I was in diapers... and imagine I will be until I'm in diapers again - haha.

  3. Great post. We need more kindness online!

  4. I actually have some amazing kindness among my followers. The selfish ones tend to weed themselves out because I simply don't engage. I think the trick is finding the right network. Once you do, the kindness and supports grows. If you're looking for some new peeps, check out my #FF page. I have people categorized so you can find the ones you might like faster. Hope it helps!

  5. I agree! Sometimes I wonder what I have to offer anyone else as a mostly unpublished writer, but then I realize: I cheer when my writer friends are down, I critique to help improve people's craft, and I share what works for me. All of us can pay it forward (or around) somehow.

  6. You can only influence kids so much, life is mostly an uncontrollable river sweeping them along, but there are two things I keep working at with them, be happy and be kind. And I don't think you can truly be one without the other. When people call you the #pimpangel, they really mean the #reallykindpimpangel, but that uses up to many characters for Twitter!

  7. (seems weird to call you that, but alas, I don't know your name), you have it dead on! It's not about buying someone's book or supporting their indie project financially as much as its about just being there for them. I can't tell you how much I have come to rely on my Twitter writer friends for the support only other writers can give.

    Rog, "be happy and be kind".... I think you found the Holy Grail :) Thanks!

  8. Spot on Article Jeanne. Nearly all of my work has come from giving away lots of help and advice for free. Sometimes years later people come to me for paid help.

    Money can never replace the feeling you get from knowing you've really helped someone.

    That said, ideally I like to feed the stomach as well as the soul :)

  9. Most don't get the whole givers gain mantra.


  10. Mike, I definitely give away a lot for free in between paid gigs, but in the end, I'm hoping it evens out. One thing free article I wrote ended up in an exchange of LinkedIn recommendations... which then inspired me to proactively ask the ones I had helped in the past to recommend me too. Now I have a pretty stellar list of quality recommendations on my resume. That is priceless. There are many creative ways to give to each other, that hopefully, someday will increase all of our revenue.

    RedEvo, totally agree. Most don't get it. Sadly.

  11. I received my copy of writer's digest today. Your article was the first one I read. Thanks for explaining the hash marks. Now to join the fun.

  12. I just found your blog from reading your article in Writer's Digest. I immediately got online to check it out. I like what I see. Life is such a balancing act, but 'giving' always outweighs 'getting' when it comes to filling our hearts. I want to write, but I am still mostly all about my morning pages and reading everything I can about writing....won't get me too far.

    Thanks for your energy:)

  13. Congratulations on the teaching gig Jeanne. It's a lot of fun and a bit of a rush, isn't it? The very first time I met you was through a blog post about giving some love to a homeless person on a curb in NYC. That has always stuck with me and its a story I've shared close with, well a couple hundred people by now, through my travels. It's just a shame that so many people can't understand that giving comes back to you in ways that are not always readily apparent and that the person giving their time, love and energy always benefits the most from the transaction.

  14. Very cool that I have new friends from Writer's Digest! I'm delighted you stopped by.

    David, you are one of those generous people on Twitter and in real life. You practice what you preach well. I'm honored we met.

  15. Jeanne, Today I read your excellent article in Writer's Digest. And I love your tip today. I'm a screenwriter in the inspirational market and attend the Gideon Conference in Asheville, N.C. The climate at the conference is all about helping someone else achieve their dreams. Thought some of your readers might like to know.

  16. Such a great tip, Jeanne. Networking by trying to "get" is backwards and one of the reasons so many people instinctively shy away from it. As soon as you think in terms of "give" it becomes more palatable.

    Loved the WD article!


  17. Jeanne - it's an honor to come upon your blog today. I first discovered you in the Nov/Dec Writer's Digest article, Confessions of a Tweetaholic. Your honest desire to help comes through, and I look forward to telling more people about you.

  18. Beverly, Martina and Terrence, I'm delighted you found the Writer's Digest piece and enjoyed it. I had a blast writing it. Let me say, Jane Friedman is the most generous publisher I've ever met. She encouraged me to write with my own voice and not worry about fitting into a mold. And talk about generous. That woman created the word!

    Victoria, "pimptastic" - *giggle* :)

  19. Seems I've heard that phrase often - It is in giving that we receive. Amen!