Stop being anti-social: How Networking helps the future you

Stop being anti-social.  I get it, people suck a lot of the time, and you might be to the point where you say “It’s just easier to avoid people all together” or “I’d rather stay home than mingle with people I don’t really care about”.  While this may seem like the cool edgy thing to say, this same mentality will put you at a disadvantage in the future.

Being an outgoing person most of my life, I’ve found that networking with people comes easier for me than others, and I have also taken note of the side effects of both personality types and I can say with full confidence that I’m happy with my natural social disposition. 

For some, being social doesn’t come easy, and that’s OK, but I think it’s less of a lack of personality/skill and more of a lack of understanding of why being social is important.  Some people will see making an effort to be more social as “trying to be popular” or “waste of my time when I could be doing what I really want to do”, when they really just have no real motivation to do so.   Let this article be your motivation. 

Have you ever been with a friend or family member when a situation comes up or someone asks “I wish I could get some firewood right now, but I don’t know anybody who has any.”, then one of your friends, or that weird Uncle, says “I got a firewood guy” and proceeds to call them and solve the problem.  Simple instances like this one are one of the many reasons why networking is important.

Another reason to get out there and meet more people is how it opens doors for your potential future.  It’s not hard to understand how the more people you meet, the more experiences you’ll have, and the more opportunities that will be made available to you.  You can’t possibly expect to win the lottery and never buy a ticket. 

I can imagine some of you introverts are thinking “Well I’m not one to “be fake” just so I can get hooked up with things here or there”, but that’s not the point of being more social.  Anything you are not used to doing often is going to feel strange at the beginning, but over time you’ll find you can be just as real as you ever were with minimal effort on your part and maybe even start to enjoy it. 

Another motivation is that you don’t end up like the crazy cat lady or the weird old guy who lives down the street that nobody knows and or trusts because you didn’t develop enough personal and or professional relationships earlier in your life.

Below are some ways I think you can start being more social and pump up your networking game to give future you more options than you have now: 

Methods to help you socially network: 

  • Say yes to the invitations you get
    • I know, I know.. it would seem staying home would be the better of the two options when invited to go out to a function or a party, but you never know who you might meet or what unknown doors you might open if you do go.  Take the chance and you might not regret it. 
  • Make an effort to reach out to old acquaintances and family
    • Staying in touch with people you’ve already met is key, not only for their perception of you when you might need something they have access to, but also to be viewed as a “valuable resource”  to people in your life.
    • Go through your apps or old messages and ping the people you haven’t spoken to in a while.  Sometimes just a simple “Hey how’s it going” is enough to start a conversation and then you can blow them away when you’re not just reaching out to ask something of them. 
  • Make an effort when you’re already in a social situation
    • We’ve all been to a function or event and all you can think about is when you’ll have the opportunity to leave, but you can easily turn these seemingly negative situations into positive ones by forcing yourself to meet with or talk to specific people that would help future you out.  Yes it requires a little effort, but anything worth doing is worth doing right. 
    • You can even make it a game in your head to talk to at least 5 people or to get just one phone number or make plans with somebody for a future get together.  No matter how you go about it, someone is bound to take notice that you are not just a lump on a log and may have some value to them in one way or another. 
  • Be genuinely you
    • Most of us can tell when a person is being fake and it’s always off putting, so don’t be that person.  It’s ok if you don’t become best friends with everyone you meet so just be yourself.  When you’re networking the goal isn’t to like 100% of every person out there, it could just be the 20% of a person that you get along with and it’s ok to enjoy them only for that 20% and that number could improve over time. 
  • Don’t be a flake
    • This is my final and probably most important aspect of being social.  People hate, and I mean HATE, a person who makes plans and cancels at the last minute.  You may think your excuse of “My kid is sick” or “I had an emergency pop up” is going to cut it, but they know you’re just being a flake and they will be less apt to make plans with you in the future.  
    • Part of social networking is also building your own personal brand/reputation and being a flake does no good for it. 

Making simple changes to your social behavior can have extremely beneficial outcomes ranging from new job opportunities, new friendships or even finding the love of your life, but none of these doors will be open to you unless you put in the effort.   People can be terrible sometimes, but we can also be amazing and you are one of them, so be the best version of you that you can be. 

Becoming more self-sufficient: Getting started and staying motivated

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or so, you can probably see for yourself how unpredictable the world has become.  The COVID pandemic woke a lot of people up to the cold hard fact that you can’t just rely on consumerism to provide and feed yourself consistently.   

It may seem like a minor inconvenience to show up at the grocery store one day and not be able to get a few key items that you need, but it’s telling of what it might look like during a more serious situation that can very well happen to anybody. 

Venezuela is currently experiencing the scenario that I am talking about above due to a mix of political and economic stress brought upon by their adoption of socialism.   Their money devalued to the point you can find it in the gutters,  food shelves mostly barren and if you can find it, it’s prices have inflated to the point only the wealthy can afford it.   What would you do in this type of situation?  

In lieu of recent events my wife and I have recently decided to start becoming more self-sufficient.  We live in a small neighborhood about 30 minutes outside of St Louis, Mo.  Our home is almost the stereotypical one family house (minus the picket fence) with a front/back yard and a garage.  The rest of this will be applied to similar settings so if you live in an apartment or have other arrangements you’ll need to adjust your methods, but there’s still some good thought provoking parts that might interest you. 

For my home I have some grand plans that my wife may say is a bit lofty, and she’s probably right, so we’ve decided to take it slow, not only so we don’t overwhelm ourselves, but to also use this as a learning experience for us both.   If society really starts to break down and you have a long period where you need to provide for yourself and your family, the knowledge of how to do so will be the most valuable thing you have, considering the internet may not always be available to you to pull information from. (keeping physical books on hand is one of my backups to work around not being able to access the internet). 

Below are some steps that I recommend to get you going in the right direction, taking into account resources, cost, time and labor. 

Planning: Not only do I consider this one of the easier and funner parts of the process, but it’s also one of the most important.   At this state you can really envision what you want and what is actually possible for you and your current/long term situation. 

You’ll want to ask yourself questions like: 

  • Do I have the time and space? 
    • Whether you have a farm or if you have an apartment, there are ways you can start becoming more self-sufficient.   There are plenty of articles and books on how to do just that, but you have to set aside time to learn the methods that others have worked so hard to record.  
  • What would really benefit me and mine if resources become hard to get? 
    • Here you should think about how you’d start to save water, grow food and what things YOU can build or create that just might save your life when you need it most like Water collection, a garden that produces a good amount of food or simply shelter and heat if you live in an area that gets cold for months at a time. 
  • Prioritization
    • Now that you have an idea of what you need and where you’re going to put these plans into place it’s time to prioritize your work.  The more time you spend planning the greater this list will grow.  It may seem daunting at first, but this is why taking the process slow is so important.  Not only is the work you’re doing potentially life saving in an emergency, but it’s also A LOT of fun, so enjoying yourself during the process is key for my wife and I.    
    • You wouldn’t want to start buying seeds and plants for your garden if you haven’t even tilled up your yard yet and if you’re on a budget prioritization will be key in ensuring you don’t break the bank during the process. 

Getting started: Again, this process should be fun for you and anybody else that is helping you.  If it feels forced or if you’re stressing out too much about it, you’ll be less apt to doing it regularly.  Remember, motivation will get you started, but habit keeps it going.  

  • Changing your life habits is an important part of this process.  Lot’s of people like to claim they “don’t have time” or “I’m just too busy” when in reality there’s plenty of time, but you may have to cut some “less important” aspects out of your life like going out with friends every weekend or bing watching T.V.  Once you get into the habit of getting out in the sun and dirt you start to realize how fulfilling it is to do work that benefits you directly by your own hands and going back to binge watching T.V. or going out drinking will not seem as important.  
  • Set aside specific times that can/will become regular habits.  My wife and I use weekends for this.  Instead of saying “I’m bored, what do you want to do today” we are already excited to head out to the backyard to weed our garden or plant new plants.  Not only is it healthier for the both of us, but it’s also been great for our relationship to spend quality time together and build something together that will benefit our family. 
  • Start small.  As I said before, it can be a daunting task, so stick to your prioritization list.  One example could be “This weekend I’m going to till the plot that I plan my garden to be” or “I’m going to purchase the wood to build a raised bed”.  With each small step you complete, the closer to your self-sufficiency goals you will be.   

Keeping it going: Like I usually say, I’m not an expert on any of this stuff, I just have an active passion for it and I’m extremely excited to produce and maintain something that is completely my own and for my family’s well being.  This passion of mine is my motivator for keeping it going and repetition becomes habit.   

  • Start thinking long-term.  Once you get going, whether it be a large garden or a water collection system you should start thinking of how you’ll store this stuff for practical use.  Do you plan on canning veggies for use during the winter?  What happens when my water collection tanks freeze up?  Do I need a fence to keep out critters from eating my crops?  There’s lots of problems to solve, but if you get into the passionate mindset about your plans it becomes not so  much a problem, but a learning event for you to experience.  

The process of becoming more self-sufficient is an ongoing process that never ends, so get used to learning new things, but keep in mind that the things you’re learning is knowledge that fewer and fewer people possess that can be invaluable when/if the time comes.  You may find yourself listening to podcasts on homesteading, watching youtube videos on gardening or simply collecting “How To” books for reference in case of a disaster.  Many people have different hobbies, but learning to become more self-sufficient becomes less of a hobby and more of a skill the longer you practice it.  Good luck with your future projects!

Our Bucket-List: Things we should all do before we die

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes people ultimately happy as well as myself, and that can be a pretty diverse subject given everybody has different goals, passions and things that they want out of life.  With that in mind I wanted to put together a list of things that I believe would give nearly everybody some memories to look back on with fondness as they ponder their life in their final days.  Some will be more specific and others will be broader, but all will be important in my opinion. 

Leaving something behind: 

  • Making your mark on the world before you go is a goal for many people, but it can also come in many forms.  For some their “mark” is their company they started that grows and becomes successful beyond themselves, for others, it’s a novel they spend years creating and for some it’s simply just raising a family that can carry on your traditions and values to the next generation.   No matter what your mark is, make sure you know it, make sure you aren’t left with no time on the clock wishing you could still leave one. 

Knowing you at least tried: 

  • One fear of mine and many others has been the fear of “what if”.  I don’t want to be that guy on his deathbed who looks back at his life with regret, especially regrets that I could change right now in this moment where I currently exist.  Do you have a business you want to start? THEN START MAKING PLANS AND STOP MAKING EXCUSES.  Do you want to travel more?  THEN START MAKING PLANS AND STOP MAKING EXCUSES.  Reference the “Getting out of your comfort zone” bullet below as I feel it goes well with this topic and remember, you’ll only be answering to yourself in those final days. 

Impacting other people:

  • This one is HUGE.  Think to yourself, when you look back on your life in your final days, will you get more satisfaction out of the money you made, the things you collected or would you get more satisfaction out of the fact that you know you directly helped or influenced others to help people who need it most.  This doesn’t have to be directly related to charity causes or homelessness, but it can be as simple as being genuine and honest with people who need it.  I was an Army recruiter for a few years as well as a tech recruiter and I helped people either get away from a bad home life or get started in the career they were aiming for resulting in their success.   The fact that I was able to influence these people and others positively makes me feel more fulfilled and happy with my performance as a human in my short existence.  

Pushing yourself: 

  • There’s levels to this one.  When it comes to “pushing yourself”, whether it be physically, emotionally or otherwise, it’s subjective and depends on your own perspective.  What is considered “pushing oneself” for one person, might be easy for another depending on how hard you’ve been “pushed” in the past.  So this will require an honest analysis of yourself and your own capabilities.  For me, I served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a Paratrooper.  I had to push myself running many miles, sleep deprivation, many months away from friends and family.  I will be able to look back on this and other times of my life knowing that I did indeed push myself in life.  Have you? 

Getting out of your comfort zone: 

  • We all get comfortable, and when we get comfortable we don’t want to ruin it by shaking things up, but you can still be stagnant in life even being comfortable.  The best way I’ve found to do this is to take a chance and just DO IT!  An example I’ll give is after I get home from work, I’ll eat some food and as soon as I relax on the couch a friend texts me and says “Hey lets hang out tonight”, “have a fire”, “go pick up that thing we were supposed to get” or something similar.   It could be easy to justify staying on the couch and some days I do this for sure, but I’m trying harder and harder to say “YES”, get my butt off the couch and DO SOMETHING and since I’ve been doing this, I’ve noticed that I NEVER regret doing that other (usually more productive/memorable) thing. 

Traveling:

  • One of my favorite quotes about travel comes from Mark Twain “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”  This quote alone explains why it’s healthy, but for me, traveling let’s you see and appreciate the world you live in without stagnating in one country or area.  I have many great memories and experiences that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.  Travel more.

Family:

  • This might come as an obvious for most, but there are a large number of people out there who say things like “I’m never getting married or  having kids” as they think that “freedom” will give them happiness.  From what I’ve observed in my own life and looking at others I can say I would never want to live a version of my life where I didn’t have a wife, children and family that I care for, this alone is the biggest item on my Bucket-list.

I hope this article at least helped put you into a new frame of thinking when it comes to your bucket list and what you want to get out of life.  Life, no matter your experience in it, is still Amazing and to waste that experience would be the biggest regret of all. 

Planning for 2021: A practical New Year’s Resolution

2020 has been a wild year.  From COVID, to the election and everything in between 2020 will be one for the books and most of us are looking forward to the next year, like we do every year.  “[insert year] will be MY YEAR” or “[insert year] is the year things start to change for the better” are some of the posts and comments you’ll hear as we get closer to New Years Eve, but putting hope aside, we all know the year changing doesn’t mean squat.  

Keeping reality in mind, what are some things we can do to ACTUALLY make a REAL change in 2021 that will have tangible results.  Below are some small, realistic and impactful changes/habits that I believe will leave you in a better situation than you started at the end of 2021. 

Health – Yes, most of us would like to lose a few pounds in 2021, but setting lofty goals will likely result in failure and disappointment, we are only human after all.  I’m sure most of you have heard of these before, but I feel reiterating them might jog some motivation in a few people.  

  • Park further away from the entrance – Easy concept, but by actually putting it in practice can seriously add some “steps” to your life resulting in more calories burnt and a healthier heart/cardiovascular system. . 
  • Take the stairs when you don’t have to take an elevator – This is hard for most people, including myself, but just like parking further away from an entrance, over time taking the stairs can help you out, especially if you work in or visit a building with stairs/elevator daily.
  • Cut out just ONE major junk food for the year – What’s something that you intake often that you know for sure needs to go?  For me it’s soda, for others it might be candy or ice cream.  Now I’m not saying to cut it out of ALL occasions, but making a focus to cut the “habit” of it out of your life can have a drastic impact on your health. 

Finances – Most of us don’t need a new years resolution to wish we had a better grasp of our finances or to wish we had more money, but hoping without a plan is only a wish.  Budgets are tight, especially with COVID closing down jobs and people barely making ends meet.  Since I’m not a millionaire, I’m obviously not a subject matter expert on finances, but below are some practices that I believe any billionaire would agree with me on. 

  • Start actually saving more – Don’t we all wish we had the extra money to set aside for a rainy day?  Saving doesn’t mean you have to throw a large chunk into your savings account, but it does mean you have to put SOMETHING in there and NOT TOUCH IT, that’s the hard part.  
  • Invest – just like a savings account it’s easy to say “I just don’t have enough to invest”, but you do.  There’s plenty of easy apps out there like acorn.com or stash.com that you can invest a couple dollars a week into industries or companies that YOU believe are on the rise.  Also cryptocurrencies are hot right now and easy to purchase with any budget. 
  • Stop buying “small stuff” – Stopping at the gas station to get gas or grab an item is commonplace for most of us, but unfortunately it’s also common place for us to convince ourselves that we “deserve” that bag of chips or that pack of candy that only cost $2.  That $2 will add up and more often than you think.  Make it a point to NOT buy anything you DON’T NEED. 

Interpersonal Relationships – Whether it be with dating, family, work or friends, we’d all benefit more from improving these relationships and how we interact with and prioritize them.  We tend to neglect some or all of these areas at some point, that’s just life, but practicing the methods below will improve things and just might help open networking doors that would otherwise remain closed. 

  • Romantic Relationships – Assuming you’re not single, there are some forms of “thoughtfulness” that most of us don’t show the person we deem “most special” in our life as we’d like, and showing a little extra can drastically improve things and prevent negative outcomes from neglect.  One way to ensure you don’t neglect them is setting a recurring alert on your phone to just tell them you love them or to do a simple act of love such as unloading the dishwasher or just giving them a hug can make a huge difference.  
  • Distant Family/Acquaintances – You don’t want to be that son or daughter who never calls or that grandkid that only reaches out to Nanna and Poppy during the holidays, or even that friend that never tries to connect.  You can set a reminder like the example for romantic relationships above or you can try and make it a habit while you’re watching your favorite show to text one family member or old friend during the commercial just saying you miss them.  Not only is it nice and makes them feel loved and missed, but you’re also keeping doors open that normally wouldn’t be.  
  • Professional Relationships – Business is business, but more often than not business gets done easier and more efficiently when you have some kind of personal report with those professional connections.  This is a huge reason why “happy hours” and “client outings” are such an important part in sales and business, it builds confidence that you can trust the other person and their word just a little more because you’ve connected with them on a level OTHER than just business.  “But my job isn’t like that” you say, maybe yours isn’t a savvy businessy type job like sales or something, but the benefits remain the same.  Just taking a minute out of your day to ask how your coworker is doing and be genuinely engaged can help improve your work relationships and them possibly helping you out when you need them most. 

Aspirations & Goals – Most of us have things we’d like to do outside of our relationships and work, but always seem to take a backseat or the motivation just dies out.  I always tell people “Motivation will get you going, but habit is what gets you there”.  This can be applied to money, fitness or learning a new skill.  Below are some ways that I believe can keep the fire burning that pushes you to make your goals into reality. 

  • Making time and the time known to others – Not only do you need to set aside time to work toward your goals, but you also need to let those closest to you know that it is important to you.  You may have to deal with friends or family telling you that “it’s stupid”, “a waste of time” or they might just get mad that you’re willing to do something without them during the time you would normally do something with them, but if they value you, they will respect the time you take to work toward your goals.
  • Actually make a plan – I’ve talked to a lot of people who have plans, but have never actually sat down to map that plan out to see what the next step is or if that step is realistically attainable.  By sitting down and learning what point A and B look like you’ll have a clearer understanding of what it takes to get to C and everything in between. 
  • Networking & Learning – Get into the industry, market, scene or whatever you want to call the “space” that your aspirations or goals exist in the real world.  Take 10 minutes out of each day to follow a blog regarding what you’re into, add someone on LinkedIn that is a leader in that industry.  Instead of listening to music the whole ride home, listen to a podcast with experts in the area you’re interested in.  Just by slowly dipping your toes into the water you’ll find that before long you’re nearly fully submerged in what you WANT to be doing instead of only wishing you were. 

As I always say, I’m not an expert on these things and I’m not pretending like I follow all of these suggestions to a T, but it’s also hard to argue that by keeping these methods in mind and applying them more often that you wouldn’t have a better outcome and a better year come December 2021.  Wish you all a very Happy Holidays!

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑