Each of us have a few people in our lives who got us started down the paths we’ve followed. It could have been an English teacher who encouraged you to write that started you down the path to being a writer, or a supervisor at work who put you on a project that led to an entire career shift.
For me, I can point to one guy, Darrin, who helped me get my start in Indianapolis as a business owner and networker. He’s the catalyst — the “cue ball” — who started my life on the path that brought me to the place where I’m writing this very blog post.
I first moved to Indianapolis to work for Darrin at his marketing agency, and a couple years later, eventually landed a sales and marketing job because of his connection to another guy who became my new boss.
In that time, Darrin introduced me to a networking group called Rainmakers, which helped me learn how to network properly. He introduced me to a former colleague of his who had started Smaller Indiana, where I learned the power of social media. It was through Smaller Indiana where I met Kyle Lacy — a former Personal Branding Blog writer — and my co-author for Branding Yourself. That book led to a friendship with Jason Falls, which led to the co-writing of No Bullshit Social Media.
In fact, nearly every professional accomplishment in my life I can point to person A, who I met through person B, who I met through Person C, who I met because of Darrin.
So who is your catalyst? Who sent you off in a direction that led to your professional accomplishments and victories? And if you’re just starting out, who’s the person who inspired you to reach this point?
This is Why You Need to Network
With networking, you may end up meeting someone who will have that impact on your life. And you’ll never know who they will be or where you’ll meet them. You could meet them at a networking meeting tomorrow, it could be your new boss next year. It could have been a 9th grade teacher, or it could be someone who you met for coffee last week.
You need to keep your eyes and ears open for the people you meet, and never discount someone because they can’t directly benefit you right at that moment. The relationship may not reach its full potential and purpose for another three years. When I met Darrin back in 1991, we had no idea about the impact of that meeting, or what it would mean. But I know that if I hadn’t met him, I wouldn’t have been in the place to do any of the things I have.
Once you identify your personal catalyst, take a few minutes and let them know what they did for you, and how they ended up causing your life to take an interesting twist that you might have never seen. Try to imagine where your life would have been if they hadn’t been there to send you off in the right direction in the first place.
Erik Deckers is the owner of Professional Blog Service, and the co-author of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself, which is now in its 2nd edition. He co-wrote his previous book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing, with Jason Falls in 2011; both books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. Erik is also a professional speaker. And he knows that none of this would have happened without Darrin.