People are more connected than ever, and building a network is easy if you focus on learning and relationships.
We live in an age of social media and the Internet; go find people who are succeeding and talk to them. Young entrepreneurs love talking to budding Initiators and old entrepreneurs yearn to mentor the young, to give back the same way people gave to them. Take advantage of this. Send emails to people you think you could never meet: their contact info is on their website. Tell them you want to learn about them and what they do, and schedule a time to call. If you ask the right way and you don’t come off like a dick, most of these people would love to talk to you. More than that, most of these Initiators, these game changing entrepreneurs, most of them would love to introduce you to their friends.
After a week or two of phone calls and meetings, you will have a network, a large gathering of people committed to helping you succeed. This lowers the bar on failure and will mitigate your risk.
In this world, where everybody else is moving forward at constant speeds, you fall behind if you do not move. Investing in yourself is a lot like investing your money.
Buying power goes down at a rate of 4% per year, so if you don’t make at least that, you’re not taking enough risks. The same is true with your life. If you are not pushing forward: making new products, figuring out which markets to break into, actually taking action to move yourself forward, inflation will pull you behind your past self. Your stories are worth less and less each day, so if you don’t start making new ones, pretty soon you’ll start to sound like the high school football star, lovingly retelling how he got the winning goal.
Achievement is your ticket to not looking like a has-been. Everybody loves a journey, and each time you achieve something great, you will have the chance to share your struggle. People love to hear NFL quarterbacks talk about how great they were in high school, while the same people will pity your forty-year-old uncle who does the same. The difference here is that while the NFL player’s story is part of a larger narrative: how he got to where he is today, your Uncle’s story is just a sad retelling of the glory days. The crazy thing is that it is not too late, even for your drunk uncle. If, instead of getting drunk and talking about scoring the winning touchdown, he decided to put his head in the game and start working, soon he’ll be at a similar party, regaling everyone about how he used to be the drunk loser uncle talking about his glory days, but now he is the head of a successful company.
What stories can you tell?