This Build a Bigger Life Solocast hits on the power of your network when it comes to accomplishing your vision of a bigger life.
If you’re anything like me, and you’re listening to the podcast so I have to believe you’re somewhat like me, you have big projects happening on a regular basis. Maybe you’re working on the next big thing, or a book or video project. Maybe you’re even considering starting a business, getting involved in a charity of some kind, or just planning a major vacation.
I’m going to share with you today an idea that has helped me immensely in the pursuit of my own bigger life. It’s a concept that came to me on a plane one day while flying to a speaking engagement on the West Coast. The idea that I’m referring to hit me like a ton of bricks and I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the idea of using this method ever since. Essentially, as I sat on the airplane, waiting on the tarmac, I began tracing back through the conversations I’d had with various people that led me to the engagement I was heading to. It all funneled back to a contact of mine who has been instrumental in me getting a fairly serious amount of business. That got me wondering where a majority of my business came from and I could trace almost every gig back to a handful of people — many of them people who’d been in my “camp” for some time. In effect, they were people that I would describe as having my back. They were people who liked, loved and respected me.
At this point on the plane ride, I began scribbling in my notebook all of the names of people in my life who liked, loved and respected me. The list grew with each airline mile and I now have a list of nearly 400 people that fit that description. The list continues to grow today and I hope it always does.
For a time in my early 30’s, I was really into studying what the best internet marketers did to build their businesses. One relatively famous marketer I was studying said in an interview that if your house were on fire and you could only take one thing out of your home, it would be your list. Because the mailing list for an internet marketer was like their own gold mine that they had to mine every now and again to make massive amounts of money. It’s part of the reason you’re seeing a proliferation of squeeze pages and enter your name and email boxes on websites. Everyone, it seems, is in the game of grabbing your email for future marketing.
So, my recommendation to you, which I’ll go into greater detail on the podcast is: Begin building your list — what I call the Power 100 List. It’s a list of the 100 people in your life that like, love and respect you. To get the pump primed a bit, consider adding people from these categories to your list: College friends, coworkers, family friends, advisors, mentors, pastors, professors, parents of friends, business peers, networking buddies — literally anyone that comes to mind that you feel would have your back if needed. And keep in mind, the reverse is also true. If you would do the same for others in your network, then put their name on your list. The key to people being on your list is they want YOU to succeed.
My deep dive into my own list got me thinking about networks in general and how effective they are at the rapid transmission of data, information, contacts, and the like. I started to think about it this way — if you were going to do some research to write a paper or put together a talk on something, you’d go to google to do the searching. Whenever I put a search term in google, I will get hundreds of thousands of results in milliseconds. And if you really dug into how that happens (behind all the complicated algorithms used to find it), you’d find one of the largest networks in the world — that being the interconnected computers that are all part of the world wide webs. The more connections there are, the faster the data can be combed from all of them. Since Al Gore invented the interwebs, you have the ability to look up data on your phone in less than a minute which would’ve taken you a year or more to find 25 years ago and 10 years to find 50 years ago. In short, the more connections there are, the more data you have access to, faster.
Similarly, in your brain there are interconnected neural pathways that the neorons travel along. The more interconnected your neural pathways, the faster the neurons travel allowing you to access the information even more readily. So, if you wanted to learn Spanish and you wanted to learn guitar, you’d be better off learning them at the same time to create more neural pathways in your brain, therefore having more connections and an ability to access the information more readily. The guy who competed against IBMs Watson in Jeopardy — his name is Ken Jennings — the guy probably has more neural pathways than just about anybody. Hence his ability to pull information as quickly as he does. The more neural pathways, the faster the information can be obtained.
So, I began to assume that if the more connections on the web meant we could access stuff faster and the more neural pathways in your brain, the faster you could access stuff, I wondered if the more connections we had in our network, the faster we could accomplish what we set out to accomplish. In my talk on Networking, called Networking POWER, I do an example of this called the web of connections. Ultimately, my goal is to show every audience that there is tremendous power in a room of people to help each other get where they want to go. I connect as many people as possible in the room with a ball of yarn, each person within 1 or 2 degrees of what the other person most wants or needs. It’s most effective when someone is looking for a job, an introduction into a company, or wants information about a person or place. It’s astonishing to me how well this works.
So, if you’re asking yourself WHY would I do this? Why would I make a list of the 100 people in my life that like, love and respect me? (Other than the fact that it feels really good to make a list of people who care about you like that), the reasons are many:
Are you trying to find a job?
Wanting to market a product?
Need help getting connections?
Want to build a mastermind group?
Feel like success is just up to you?
I have a perfect example of how I used the Power 100 list to help me with something last year. In early 2014, two partners and I launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for a documentary on student loan debt. The name of which is Broke, Busted & Disgusted. You’ve no doubt heard me talk about it on the show. Having never crowdfunded anything before, the most logical thing for me to do was to reach out to my POwer 100 list and ask them for help spreading the word, and help with the crowdfunding campaign. The list responded in a BIG way.
At the end of our 45 day campaign, we had raised $67,000 and almost 90% of the funds raised came directly or indirectly as a result of my Power 100 list coming alongside. They shared the message, they donated, and they supported us in our charge towards raising enough to finish the film. It was an awesome thing to see.
The way I leveraged my Power 100 list was simple — I built the list in a google spreadsheet. And contrary to my story earlier, all 400+ people on my list weren’t listed on the airline flight. I’ve added to the list over time, mainly by having the google docs app on my phone, opening that particular spreadsheet whenever I was moved to, and added someone to the ever-expanding list.
On the spreadsheet are four columns. First name, last name, email address and phone number. Everyone on the list has all four columns filled because you never know when I’ll need to either send them an email or a text message.
As I build the list, I import the list into Mailchimp, which is an email automator and allows you to write one email and send it to your mass list as if you’re sending it to an individual person. Mailchimp is a super simple service to use and allows you to have a list of up to 2000 people for free. It’s literally dead simple.
For the crowdfunding campaign, I sent a simple email that asked them for their support in an incredibly important project I was working on that had the capacity to change lives en masse. One little secret is people will get behind a BIG vision. One of my favorite quotes is: Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logicaldiagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. — Daniel Burnham an American architect.
So whatever your ask of your group, inspire them with a big vision that wants them to jump on board.
And the bottom line of sending out the email is this – ASK. Let me say it again, 3 times: Ask, Ask. Ask. Jack Canfield once told me if you ask, ask, ask, then you’ll get, get, get. Ask so much you begin to feel like an askhole. It’s a beautiful thing when you ask for what you want and then get it.
Once you’ve built your list to a substantial number, and you know who is going to respond positively, you’ll begin to segment your list based on business deals, outreach to the public, who are the marketers, the connectors, etc. And through segmenting, your asks become that much more powerful.
It has been said that your net worth is determined by your network. So, if you are having a hard time coming up with 100 people in your life that like, love and respect you, perhaps it’s time to do a little more networking. Consider throwing a party for the people that you most want to connect with in life and introduce them to each other. IF you don’t feel like you have the right network, the key is to build it yourself.
Reading books like Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie are a great first step. Throw a Power 100 party or a cool people party and be known as the guy or gal that makes shit happen for your network and your own Power 100 will grow stronger with more connections.
Building a bigger life is about being the architect of your life, imagining the life you most want to live and going for that in big ways. Having people in your corner that have your back is the fastest way to accomplish that.
And as a final word, if you are asking, be also giving at the same time. The law of reciprocity is as powerful as gravity and is working behind the scenes always.
Good luck in your Power 100 List creation, and have fun connecting… I sure do.