1. Divorce Yourself From Fantasy
Pop culture is littered with endless fables of fortune shining down upon an unsuspecting average Joe, lore of unworldly luck to keep the populace of hopefuls striving to attain a breed of archetypal cunning our icons must have innately possessed. In conjunction with feeling perpetually crestfallen by not being born on the “right side of the fence”, it’s implied that we must remain forever vigilant whilst metaphysically manipulating the universe the into presenting us with these one-in-a-trillion storylines that will eventually ferment into an oscar winning film with a Hanz Zimmer scored soundtrack. In the meantime, while we attempt to channel the governing forces of time and space with binaural beats and meditation tips we adopt from YouTube, a trail of hope is lit, albeit dimly, by the gargantuan landscape of social media. LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter…I need not recite the list. They’ve long since become integral parts of a societal structure, in both personal and professional contexts. In conjunction with online networking, there’s a plethora of annual conventions, conferences and the like that serve as viable forums for interaction. You’re more than welcome to explore every facet at your disposal. Leave no stone unturned, no prospect overlooked and no event unattended. There’s certainly no harm that can come of it and you may very well forge some favorable relationships in the interim. But you’ll be fooling yourself by thinking that would be anywhere near enough. With that in mind, remain repeat the following to yourself as many times as needed:
- The movie producer isn’t going to discover you by observing you arguing with a bank teller or sitting on a porch in a low income part of town.
- The rock star isn’t going to find your demo on LiveJournal, fly to you the next day, sign you to his label and expedite your career, incidentally allowing you to step over the due paying and shit eating they had to endure, all because they just ya’ so much.
- The world-renowned VC isn’t going to play cowboy with his money and gamble on your vision because, “He just knows you’re going to change the world.”
These all sound great on True Hollywood Story or biographical documentaries on TLC. Like they say, “Hindsight is 20/20.” No one who’s getting 15 seconds of fame by recalling their nigh insignificant association to a known figure is going to squander the chance to over glorify themselves by admitting something less-than-fantastic like, “I thought Steve Jobs was a clueless dick. Who would have known where he’d eventually end up? Everyone just thought he was a narcissistic moron.” or “My impression of Mark Zuckerberg was just a pretentious, introverted nerd.” While it’s true that anything’s possible, and strange shit does happen, not only is it highly unlikely but there’s also a strong probability that the true details behind the circumstances that would eventually amass success for your idols are either “creativity obfuscated” or just downright bullshit. And this shouldn’t dishearten you. On the contrary, it should liberate you. The point being is that a main tenant of networking is that the inherent premise of networking itself is somewhat illusory; a fugazi, if you will. At least within the context that most know it. Once you let that sink in, revel in the realization that proceeding with such a mindset dramatically shrinks the rule book. Networking is not a refined, formal, procedural process…it’s an anarchic, competitive, every-man-for-himself cluster fuck where success is wholly dependent upon a belligerent cocktail of bedside manner, psychology, brass balls and being prepare to be at the right place at the right time. Armed with this insight, the next sequential step is as simple or difficult as you’d like to make it, and that’s to…
2. Decide On How Much Of Your Soul You’d Like To Sell
Everything comes at a price. Nothing is for free, not even an acquaintance. No one in business, especially in realms of entertainment and technology, are going to act purely on the goodness of their own heart. You can call it cynical or pessimistic, and if you do you’re either delusional or don’t want the simple truth of innate human self-interest becoming common knowledge in order to protect your own interests. Either way, reality is reality. You can live in it or join the workforce to serve those that do. Yet another blatant misconception and frequent malpractice of networking that I’ve observed are individuals garnering contacts but failing miserably at maintaining and ultimately making use of them. There are two distinct reasons for this:
- Not seeing the forest for the tress (aka: Immediate Gratification Syndrome)
- See item number 3 below
To obtain an asset from a relationship successfully, it has to be a relationship in the first place. I watched so many people try to hustle something out of viable, positive connections because they want it FAST and they want it NOW that they stand as their own worst enemy. It’s totally fine to be ambitious and serious, but those characteristics are best employed in the face of adversity and mediocrity, not on the people in who’s circle you’d like to run in. Take time and effort to not only acquire relationships but allow them to flourish. If someone can do a favor for you once, they can do a favor for you twice. But with that in mind…
3. Don’t Tax Your Contacts
This goes hand-in-hand with fostering relationships and allowing them to flourish organically. And this is where the faction of people who didn’t trip up with principle 2 fuck up royally and not only negate the rapport, but alienate them, creating that much more friction towards achieving their main goal. Upon procuring a good connection, and maintaining it accordingly, you are NOT to toss every opaque request you can conjure up at this VIP, lest you lose them and lose them permanently. Each relationship forged should be guarded with a similar valor you protect you’d naturally guard your reproductive organs during a heated altercation with your physically-prone spouse. Your connections aren’t your parents or guidance counselors. They are not personal aid or to be ASKED to provide you with anything! If you find, build upon and manage your relationship(s) accordingly, the fruits shall reap on their own timeline…NOT YOURS. The sooner you come to terms with the vital albeit middle frustrating fact, the better off you’ll be. And you will see how “Networking” is a wonderfully natural process that can be just as innate and unnoticeable as organ functionality, cell regeneration and flicking off someone who cuts into your lane abruptly on the 101. But this is still all shit in your hat unless you perfect the next simple principle that seems to be unfathomable to most.
Look into the mirror and repeat this to yourself until you can see it in any mood, environment and circumstance imaginable, “WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU?
Crazy, right? As it turns out, and this a shock to a good majority of the populace, but people of status or importance don’t go about their day perplexing themselves about ways in which they can assist pure strangers in their pursuits with little to no return on an investment of their time, resources or knowledge.
Simply put: You will go a million miles farther by offering contacts / connections something than asking them for something from them.
5. Think Outside The Box and Then Some
I’ve seen it a million times. Someone sends an email or knocks on a door or makes a phone call. Unless their straight forward attempts are met with an onslaught of fireworks and welcome mats, shoulders slouch. That look of miserable defeat spreads across their face. And they begin to limp into the dissonance. They may as well prepare to flip burgers because they don’t understand…no, they don’t accept that they’re probably not the only person in existence attempting to reach the same goals.
They’re not the only actor who’s moved to Hollywood.
They’re not the only person applying for the job.
They’re not the only dude knocking on VIP X’s door.
So it’s time to get creativity and flex your imaginative muscles. As they say, “If you want it, you’ll make it happen. If you don’t, you’ll make excuses.”
Research your targets personal interests a bit. It’s easier than ever now that we have the wonderful advent of social media. And don’t be afraid to stretch the truth or bend the facts (those are formal ways of saying “lie your ass off”) in order to not only get in front of them but stand out to them.
You desired contact probably has the NY Giants logo tattooed on his scrotum but you hate sports? Hey, Mr. Runningback, guess who just started being a football maniac? YOU. The person with whom you wish to have an audience with loathes a certain political party? Get out your protest signs and even punch yourself in the face and say you went to protest those charlatans at a rally. You’re aware that your grand connection loves a certain restaurant? Figure out a way to have someone in that joints staff like you so much that he’d seat you and your VIP in the reserved section. I could go on for days. Of course, it depends on the person and what you could feasibly gain from a relationship with them. (Not FROM just them, remember that!) Don’t go harvesting your organs just to fit bump some douchebag promoter at a club in front of a girl, but let’s just say if your VIP in question can get you your circumstances equivalent of an audition in front of Spielberg or a star studded position at Apple…who really needs both kidneys?