Several years ago, as I began a more formal process of networking, I sat down to a coffee with a person who would quickly prove to be insufferable. In very short order it was clear to me that, for a variety of reasons, I would not be referring any business to this individual. But there I was, trapped. I sat, politely, and was determined to make the most out of this train wreck of a meeting while hoping for at least one nugget of useful information… and then it happened!
At first, when I heard the phrase, I chalked it up to another of the grandiose and ridiculous ideas that had been aimlessly flowing from this person. I sat there and began to process it – it was brilliant. At least there was one. I suppose even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and again.
“Abundance vs. Scarcity”
Think about the various people you know. How would you categorize them based on the following?
- Always playing defense or offense?
- Running away from something or toward something?
- Hoarding information or sharing it?
The first is a position of scarcity and the second is a position of abundance. Once I saw this pattern I could not, and still cannot, “unsee” it. It is everywhere, in everyone, at all times.
- Acknowledge all of the opportunity that exists (So much business out there!) There is plenty of work that is right for TheCoTeam. I pass on business that isn’t the ideal fit. We make room for the right projects by not tying up our available capacity with nonsense. As a result, we run a more profitable business and have a happier team and customers.
- Add value to the employees in your/their company. Being a selfless leader and investing time and energy to helping develop your people. Can I make a slight adjustment/improvement to any person/team that reaps continuous benefit? It will make everyone happier. If you want to “Go Big”, make a dream come true.
- Share information with competitors.You want my playbook? Sure! If it is truly going to hurt me it’s because I failed, not because my competitor also won. “Rising tides lift all boats”. A couple of years back I made a commitment to reach out to competitors I hadn’t spoken to in a while. I also cold called various competitors where I had no relationships. In 60 days I met eight competitors and they handed me three projects and one potential hire.
- Giving time to charitable causes rather than hoarding it selfishly. I sit on the board of a not for profit that helps those less fortunate and I personally volunteer my time to assist disadvantaged high school juniors learn to write resumes, practice mock interviews, and secure internships. It makes a huge difference in the lives of others, is incredibly rewarding at a personal level, and you won’t miss the time. You can spare two hours per quarter for a board meeting and three hours each across six Saturdays. That’s about 30min per week.
- Disconnect for 30 minutes at the beginning and end of each day.No headphones, no phone calls, no distractions, just being present. In the morning I think through my agenda for the day, align priorities, identify issues, process any stressors, and I’m ready to conquer the day. In the evening I reflect on my alignment to the agenda, identify new opportunities, prioritize information, and decompress from anything that was less than ideal. This small investment in personal time pays dividends in all aspects of life.
- “I’m too busy”Do not conflate being busy (scarcity) with being productive (abundance).