YOU KNOW WHEN you’re feeling at your lowest? When the chips are down. When things just seem to be working against you?
Despite the noise around you, on-line and off-line, somehow you feel alone. You don’t seem to be hearing, or noticing the birds singing away outside so much. Things just go, well, blur.
Then, out of the blue, your smartphone pings. You pick it up and a friend asks: “How are you today?”
Please take a moment in your busy day – even if just for four seconds – of your seemingly precious time to think about that.
What does a question such as that mean to you?
I’m going to hedge a bet that it means a lot and, guess what? It didn’t even cost anyone a penny.
Life suddenly has some hope. Someone out there actually cares about you.
In fact, it gets a whole lot better.
You then notice other small but lovely gestures.
Someone likes a comment you made on-line. Another shares a blog you originally posted to benefit others. Another person retweets an article you posted however – wait a moment – it wasn’t just a retweet that took a split second, it was something you tweeted last month. They took the time to look back at some of your tweets and shared what they decided was the best. Perhaps they even think you are the best.
Then the phone rings. Another person says “Long time no see!”
Say hello to your Core Network.
These are not just your contacts. They are not even just your friends. They are your true friends, (or even members of your family), who care about you. They are authentic. They are not the ‘friends’ who just show pity, (or not) when things aren’t quite working out for you. They are people with hearts of gold who take positive action. They are the ones who truly have your back. They are the ones you realise deep inside you can rely upon, day or night.
They can be one, two or three people. Maybe just eight of them. Unless you’re kidding yourself, they certainly won’t be in the hundreds or thousands, no matter how wide your network. There’s no place for anyone’s ego here. We’re talking true friendship.
You may have over 4000 ‘friends’ on Facebook or LinkedIn. 50,000 followers on Twitter. 2,000 on Instagram. They are not your friends. They are your contacts. The difference is significant.
From a business context, members of your Core Network are like your best friends whom you can confide in, rely on, even cry on. Those you laugh with too. The ones and who you could also, and should, reach out to more. (Yes, it’s a two-way street. You need to show your care for them too).
Again, I ask that you please pause for a few seconds and work out what that means to you, not just in the future but today too.
They are the ones who deserve at least a phone call. Not just an e-mail or a Facebook or LinkedIn message. They are the ones you ensure you tell them how you value them. Don’t be all ‘stiff upper lip’ about it – Be as soppy as you like. Ok, don’t necessarily over-do the soppy bit. Just ensure they know they are truly valued! :)
When things are going great for you, never ever just assume things are going great for them too. It’s vital for all of us to remember to stop in our hectic world. The only way we will ever know is to reach out to them and also to stop making excuses for not getting in touch with them.
You know who your Core Network is. These are the people you may wish to partner and do business with or, if you think that may impinge on your friendship, simply exchange referred business. They are people you already trust and who will protect your reputation by delivering because they know you will too.
Applied well this, in itself, is where your return on investment can flow in, saving you a lot of time looking for others with whom you may be to expend a lot of time building credibility and trust with one another. However, it must be a genuine friendship first. Any potential business comes second and should not be expected. These are your true friends after all.
My point here is you may well have someone in your network who you, for whatever reason, didn’t value as much you should have. For example, alumni are ‘tribes’ of people where they may usually be found as trust and respect for people you knew may have already been developed from years ago and may be easily rekindled. Again, don’t expect that to happen. Relationships require nurturing.
Think of at least one person today and arrange to meet them. Don’t let this be another article that ends up in the ‘do later’ pile. Do it now.
The result? Bird song will be heard again. Believe me, it’s sweet music. Music which will help you and your business.