Most people associate fear in business with losing a job and becoming unemployed. That is a reasonable thing to worry over. It has never been anything that has concerned me though. I have been fired and quit as well. I often reasoned that I was getting closer to the place where I belonged. You know, where I wanted to be.
I have spent my career developing a network of people who come from all walks of life. I have over 33 thousand connections and followers that cover dozens of industries and thousands of different titles. I count connections in many countries. That is important to me because I have held roles with global responsibilities. Some are C-level people, and many are middle management folks. There are a lot of Marketing and Sales professionals in my network. They make up the core of it. I take special care with these folks because that is where my career is. In short, it is how the Farber’s pay their bills.
I have been fortunate to have added some new and exciting professionals over the past 18 months. I have been writing articles for various social media platforms. I have added: writers, authors, poets, editors, professors, consultants and a handful of others. Many with diverse backgrounds from my own. They add a unique quality to my network. The number of connections I have is large however, it is also increasing in diversity.
Why is that important?
Diversity in your network provides differing opinions. This allows you to ask for feedback from a broad array of professionals. By definition, you think more strategically. You also tend to think bigger, I believe.
If all I had were connections to 33 thousand sales people, that would be powerful. But imagine if just a third were sales people. Now think about the other 22 thousand connections. What if there were 1000 connections across 22 different professions? In comparison, I would take the latter network every time.
I want as many people from as many differing backgrounds opining on my writing. Often I put business problems or opportunities out in my posts and ask for feedback. In fact, I wrote a piece seeking help on a goal I had which was; getting my work on the Huffington Post. My network responded. A week later I was published on HuffPo. I had many Emails, Inmails, Tweets and even a phone call offering help. All I did was offer some advice and ask a question. Remember, people are kind and want to help.
Here is how I think about my network. I imagine it to look like a pyramid. In my view, my network sits on top of me. I don’t consider myself to be an Egyptian King or anything. I do believe my network dwarfs me and is far bigger and influential than I could ever be on my own. That is why I try to handle it with care. A mishandling could upset the delicate infrastructure and cause it to come crumbling down on me.
Imagine if, for some reason, people started disconnecting from your network. Say you did something illegal and it ended up on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. One by one, day after day, people would disconnect from you. All the potential good you could receive from your network OR provide TO your network would go down the drain.
During times of career challenge or trouble my network has provided help and bailed me out. During the good times, my network has provided encouragement. It has also helped me to maximize my opportunities.
When I publish something, I get the same feeling every time before I hit the enter key. I hope my writing is good and will make a difference for someone. I give the best of what I have and hope that someone learns something. If so, that person might think it would be a good idea to become a part of my network.
The fear of putting out poor quality and the consequences that come from it is a healthy motivator to do my best work. The fear of losing my network is just too great.
My best, Chris