I go to a weekly church service where the topic of choice is “self care”. In this weeks lecture, the discussion was over how you need to not look for the next step in life but rather enjoy the present. Life is an infinite game and we can’t help but look at the next steps. We focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do, and the infinite power we have to create. Thinking “if I had XYZ, then I’d be happy” is allowing something external (money, sex, attention) to fill a void that only true relationships with other people and your faith can fill. Self care in this sense is done with the network of people that care for you.
Relationships take time and effort to build. To make a robust network of solid, intimate relationships it takes effort to reach out to those you haven’t talked with in a while. You can make it easier by doing things like: making the first move and texting/emailing first, connecting them with someone you know that can help them on whatever projects they are working on, give something of yourself and what you are up to as a sign of vulnerability. Make it a habit to go through your list of text messages at the very bottom of your list and reach out to a few people per day. Some may get back to you, others may not. Get comfortable with making the first move with a dormant connection. There’s a reason why you have their number in the first place, whether you met them at a place of mutual interest or they intrigued you when you first met. Use the reengagement to build a personal CRM that you’ll be able to use in the future when you expand your network. The balance of quality and quantity of relationships is what makes a successful business and person. You get what you put in.
Think about the “friend groups” you have and how they intermingle. Personally, I have a group of friends I know from personal training, my school career, my professional career, and from my hobbies such as dancing and sports. Be involved with as many types of “genres” of friends as you can to maximize the serendipity of connecting people of seemingly unrelated industries together. My roommate, a work friend, met my former/current strength coach and have become the best of friends. On paper they would not seem to be compatible, but the quirks of each complement each other that they get along in a great way. Granted this is not the case for every interaction, but the social proof of having you as a mutual friend is enough to make the connection. Realize that you are interesting (read: not boring) to your friend groups and by association any friends that you have outside the group are interesting enough to take a chance to meet. Making these connections allows you to learn more about the people you already know and allow the different “worlds” of your personality to link together. This is the ultimate free networking event.
Creation of content is king. Document and allow the media to form the message. This connects why writing and publishing is so important to developing your ideas. There are many options of creation with video, audio, writing, designing, etc. You can’t pontificate forever. Publishing your ideas gives the opportunity to update them with feedback from your audience. You can then repurpose, refine, and redistribute it to get more attention. A single video or blog post where you outline an idea or attempt to explain your view allows the message to reach people you would never interact with a few decades ago. Writing forces you to make your point clear concise and relatable. Practice with all types of media to get a taste for what works and what doesn’t. Observe what people pay attention to and create content that mirrors it. Add your own opinions into the content to maximize serendipity. Know that you’re going to suck at it before you get better. Let the sandbox you’re playing in be the place to experiment with new ideas and welcome feedback that you can use to further refine your message.