This guest post is part of PR Soup’s “Soup Troop” featuring insights from Austin-area entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Everyone wants to have a productive 2013, right? We’ve all got lists, even if they’re only in our heads.
But how do we effectively achieve those goals?
My secret: focus my time and actions on helping those around me.
There’s an old story of a farmer who decided on day to call on his neighboring farmers. He offered to crop dust their properties for free. Why would he do this? He realized that if he only crop dusted his own property, the edges and boundaries of his property still suffered. All the insects from the bordering properties would invade his. By also helping his neighbors, he was bettering the entire farming community.
I’ve heard other versions of this story. I’ve heard of homeowners who help their neighbors with everything from yard work to home improvements knowing it will raise the value of their own property. I know people who lead anti-crime initiatives in their neighborhood to make their own home safer.
JFK is attributed to the saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” He meant it in terms of the economy as a whole, but consider it within your own ecosystem. By helping your immediate neighbors, you can be helping yourself.
Consider how you can apply this in a personal networking ecosystem. Rather than going out and finding successful people and trying to be associated with them, why not help make the people around you successful? By helping them you ultimately help yourself. Not only will you be surrounded by successful people, but you will be surrounded by people who want to return a favor.
Helping them may include sharing their blogs and content, promoting them in tweets and posts, or giving away your secrets. Try introducing your connections to your best supporter and encourage that supporter to support them. Your connections may form a stronger bond than you ever did, but don’t worry, that only makes your network all the better.
Helping others can be more powerful than helping yourself. One testimonial from you about someone else has more weight than ten testimonials by a person about themselves. Your skills, when put to work, can create outputs for another person in a fraction of the time it would take for them to do it on their own. We all have our strengths. Why not play to those strengths in your neighborhood of connections?
My secret plan does not mean I do anything for anyone. I will be selective (and tools like Promptivate help me manage on which key connections I focus), but something tells me I will find myself helping more and more people over time as I get into a groove.
As I raise the tide around me, my own success will come. Why not raise the tide around you?
Drew Bixby is a business owner who sees personal networks from a different perspective. He shares what he has learned about promoting yourself and your business. Drew is a co-founder of Promptivate, which coaches individuals to build strong relationships through an easy “prompting” process.