We’ve all made excuses for not wanting to show up for meetings. Either we’re too tired, too busy, or just cannot be bothered with driving across town to meet someone. I’ve been guilty of this before. Making excuses and putting meetings off for later.
There is a key distinction that has to be made here though. The difference between a social gathering – and a social gathering that can lead to more.
Going out on a Wednesday night with friends to have a few drinks is all well and good if that is your preference, but if you will give that more priority over attending a networking forum or the equivalent – then you’re heading down a negative path.
Today in Nairobi and increasingly across Kenya we have many different events and gatherings geared towards networking. Social media plays a large part in this as well – giving aspiring entrepreneurs access to business leaders within our borders and beyond.
How you choose to market yourself is key to your growth.
I recently met a young man named Yasser. He came from a very difficult background. Going to good schools on bursaries and not having food to eat at home – when classmates would be driven in Prados and Range Rovers to school. He would have to walk to school. Through this difficulty he conditioned himself. He would run to school to improve his fitness. When he didn’t have food his teachers would encourage him to condition himself on less – An incredible outlook on an otherwise difficult situation.
He wrote a book based on his experience and camped at a local hotel when he heard Akon was coming to town. After waiting almost 10 hours he saw Akon and presented his book. He loved it. Today that book has endorsements from Ashish Thakkar and Robin Sharma. None of that would have happened if he hadn’t conditioned himself when he had little – and seized the opportunity, no matter how small it was, to present himself – instead of doing something else that would have seemed more ‘fun’ at the time.
There is a big difference between meeting friends to have a fun night, and taking time to go across town and have a coffee meeting that may or may not lead to something. My theory is to always take the time. You will always learn something. If you believe you know more on all things than the person you are meeting – you are wrong.
Some of my closest partners have stemmed from a coffee or lunch meeting that I didn’t have to go to.
Build yourself in a manner that attracts the right people around you to further your growth. Fun must be sacrificed for the necessary. When you can make ‘the necessary’ your ‘fun’, you are sitting on gold.
We’ve heard it before – your network is your net worth. If you do not have a big enough network, it’s time to start building it. I know absolutely brilliant, well articulated people on Twitter in Kenya who live in conditions you wouldn’t believe given their eloquence. Through that positive branding they are growing themselves and their networks. It takes time, but sustained effort will bring positive results.
Whenever you can, grow your contact base and your network. You never know when you’ll be able to lean on someone for advice, strategies or an eventual partnership – but you’ll never have that person if you do not make the initial steps.
Wherever you are in life, condition yourself and learn from your experiences to build the person you will be tomorrow. Never let a day be wasted.