There’s magic in writing things down. Don’t believe me?
I’ve made introductions that included a member of foreign royalty, a US Ambassador, and a Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist.
I’ve got mad skills when it comes to people I’m seeking, and not every time has it been quick or easy, but, I’ll be honest, the times that I’ve written down my intention and was sure about who I wanted as a connection, it happened. I used the following true stories in the business networking book I wrote a few years back. (Who’s Hiding in Your Address Book – Robert Reed Publishers, 2007). These stories should provoke thought about how you manifest connections in your life and for your business. (I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos, but I think you can see what’s important to see.)
“The last week of July, 1996, I wrote in my journal about wanting to meet a particular NBA player to see if I could talk him into endorsing a leadership program that I had co-founded for young athletes. Within a few days, a call came from a friend of mine who had been invited to a reception honoring this very individual. Her husband was unable to attend with her and she wanted to know if I’d like to take his place. One week from the day I wrote about my desire to meet him, I was shaking the hand of NBA star Jerry Stackhouse…and obtaining his support for the program.”
If you think this is a coincidence, think again. Here’s another story from the book:
“Some years ago, a waiter told me that he had put together a list of 100 things to do before he died. I liked the idea, so I wrote mine up in my journal where I keep all of my secrets, longings and spiritual conversations. I ended up with 104 items on my list of things to do before I die, and one of them addressed my desire to get close to a tiger. I’ve always been in love with tigers, and apparently, when I wrote about wanting to meet one in my journal, my heart palpitations signaled the planets to align. Anyway, not long after compiling this list, I was visiting my son in college. I discovered that his girlfriend was planning to work at a wild animal refuge over the summer. She pulled up the organization’s Web site on the computer to show me photos of the refuge. There, in front of me were these beautiful furry faces coming up on the screen – gorgeous orange and black tigers. I was in awe.
One week later, more than two hundred miles away in a tiny wine shop; I picked up a calendar with a picture of a tiger on the front. The calendar was produced by the organization whose Web site I had seen days earlier. I found my husband roaming the shop to tell him. A customer overhearing my excitement told me that the owner of the tiger pictured on the front of the calendar kept an apartment just upstairs from the shop. It turned out that he was there that very weekend. I met the owner, and he kindly invited me to the refuge to meet his beautiful Bengal tiger in person. I did. Just inches from his face, on the other side of a chain link fence, I could feel Tex’s breath against my skin. He chuffed an affectionate greeting, then purred contentedly as I felt the weight of his 300-pound body push against mine. The experience was incredible and all caught on film for me relive over and over again. It was a huge memory for me and, one that given a few more months would not have happened. Tex’s owner died within the year.”
If you are still unconvinced…keep reading…
“I first met Championship Golfer Curtis Strange 24 hours after jotting my interest in doing so down on my “to-do” list. Not ever having laid eyes on the man, I spent a day researching the Internet and trying to track him down to talk to him about a project on which I was working. I knew he kept a second home in the area and figured I might be able to connect with him when he was in town. I was unsuccessful in making the connection that day, but that night, he showed up at a local bistro standing two feet from me. And, I recognized him, because he was actually wearing the same shirt that I had seen in photos on the Internet. Connection made.”
My very first experience in the film industry arrived one week to the day of my writing down the desire for that experience. No more effort than that was involved…other than to say “yes,” when a contact asked me to attend an indie film opening to provide some publicity. Oh, and, I had to respond “yes,” again, to a casting agent while I was waiting for a film clip at the Screen Gems commissary. I was on the lot the next day alongside a Muppet. What fun!
I told you all of that to tell you this about networking: If you write down a list of people you’d like to meet, whether those people are potential clients, mentors, role models or collaborators, you are increasing the likeliness of securing that meeting. The list of people or even experiences becomes an intention that you set forth, and the full acknowledgement of that intention is what engages the working out of the details. Further, you become much more aware of opportunities that could help you meet your goal. It’s not necessary to share this list with anyone. I wouldn’t even view the list of people you want to meet or experiences you wish as a document of actions you need to take. Certainly, if you put effort to any goal, you are increasing the likeliness of it occurring, but keeping this list is meant to serve as more of a tool of attraction. Clarity and true desire is the primary requirement. And, having a little fun with it can’t hurt, either.