You’re the Plug.

Reach out to your network.

I used to think “reaching out” to my network with an e-mail bothered people.

At some point, I realized how happy I feel when I get a simple thank you note or an update on someone’s work.

Then I realized that I am robbing people of that opportunity when I don’t take time out of my schedule to keep people updated.

Then I also realized, by keeping people up to date, I give them an opportunity to keep me up to date with what they do.

Finally, I realized that I could connect people to my network. That meant that I wasn’t bothering anyone. In fact, I was doing the opposite; I helped them.

Take a moment this week and write a short email about what you’re up to. Send it to an old mentor, co-worker, boss, or friend.

If you can’t think of anyone, I’d love to read it – adam@theadamthomas.com :-).

Connect the Circles

We all know a ton of people

Google Plus, a social media service, has a concept called “circles.”

In them, you place people of a certain quality.  For example, your brother and sister go in the “family” circle. The people at your job  go into a “job” circle. So on and so forth.

You give each circle a particular update, share particular things and give priority.

When it first was created, I thought it was a genius idea because that is how my mind worked, compartmentalize and keep people in their circle.

It’s a good way to sort. Not everyone needs to know everything.

With that said, if you notice a connection that can happen from one circle to another, try to connect them. Bringing someone relevant to you, with the eyes of an outsider, can lead to great breakthroughs in their own work.

Maybe they know someone too? 

@GaryVee Led Me To Snapchat and I Realized Something

My natural inclination was to stay away for social media

For most of my life, I thought social media apps were time sinks (or wastes of time), where when I engaged, I felt like I didn’t connect with my greatest moments. Even worse, the social media stuff was boring.

If you look at my Instagram before 2016, it’s horrific. There is a ton of emptiness, and the pictures that do exist are a horrible snap shot of my life. It is a mix of me trying “artistic” shots and wondering why the app existed – and then it becomes nothing.

If you looked at my other social media outlets, it’s more of the same. There is no consistency, there is no story. In fact, instead of me reaching out and trying to connect, most of my posts are me being someone I am not.

Another part of the Dayjob

A photo posted by Adam Thomas (@thehonorableat) on


What does this even mean?

Changes…Changes…

In 2014, I read Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, and I got introduced to Gary Vaynerchuk. At first, I thought, what a loud brash guy, but he was a Jets fan.

 I thought I understood the book, but it took almost a year for it to snap into focus.

What I didn’t see is that social is about connection. The apps don’t exist to show off my life, they are there to allow connection at scale.

But I still didn’t get this yet. It took some time, and I had to get obsessed.

So what did I do

Of course I went all in, signed up for his YouTube, and got into his other keynotes, mining for information.

I heard him talking about Snapchat, and raving about it. So like most people, I went ahead and gave it a spin.

I found it boring.

I realized the boring came because most people are awful at it.

All sunshine and rainbows

People use “the snap” for things that are better suited for other networks.

I don’t think Snapchat is for that. The value add that comes from Snapchat is impromptu connection.

It is connection, through the randomness of life. It is learning through doing. Snapchat wins for the content creator because it gives us a view on what you do, honestly, in bite sized chunks. The shortness of the snap, the chance that you might miss it, having double opt ins, all mean that you have to want the material, and you have to digest it.

This is the greatest move in gaining attention in the moment.

The best people I see using the service do so in a candid way. You put a piece of yourself out there, and it opens the door for honest conversation. It’s why when you answer a snap, you find the conversation going in a million places.  You get more from adding and getting than you do from subtracting and synthesising.

So, if you want a service that builds on you talking about your day, about connecting with important work, about getting to know people, Snapchat is your deal. It is a place for real insight.

Find me there , @thehonorableAT, and be ready for a message. I love interacting, and talking back 🙂

Meeting Your Flaws Through Your Network

[bctt tweet=”If there is a pang in your stomach now, its normal. “]

Ego is powerful. What makes it effective is it’s a silent killer.

Ego hides in the darkness, waiting to strike when it sees an opening.  When it happens, little problems turn into big problems, finger-pointing escalates, and soon the drama is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

One way to get in front of ego, before it helps pull things to that critical level, is to put a light on it. An easy way to do that is to find out what those flaws are.

If there is a pang in your stomach now, its normal. 

If I asked you what your top three flaws were, would you know them? Could you sit and tell me, with complete confidence that you aren’t good at _____ (communicating, giving praise, documenting, training etc)

If you don’t know what they are – then now is a great time to sit back and think about them. What are the three things that you’ve failed at in the past. Can you think of any patterns that emerge? Try to write them down.

Reach out to your closest circle and ask about your flaws. Our network, especially those who are closest to us, is key here to grab some honest feedback and find out opportunities for improvement. This makes the ego scream because it is most comfortable to keep a neutral to positive spin on things. It opens yourself to criticism.

[bctt tweet=”Ego is powerful. What makes it effective is it’s a silent killer.”]

But, the silent wins for this are enormous. One, your network will love you much more – being vulnerable to the ones closest to you makes you more trustworthy. Two, the art and skill of acquiring feedback is critical for becoming your best self. Three, understanding how you are perceived and what flaws exist allow you to plan around them.

This is a great exercise to do on a normal (quarterly) basis. You cannot plan for anything you aren’t aware of, and there is a ton of power in subtraction(removing/mitigating) – maybe more than addition .

 

 

The Outro: Network

In the beginning of 2015, I decided I would have a theme each month. For May, I chose networking, then changed it over to network. I decided to work with this theme because networking is hard for me. I compartmentalized and over think, so I spend a lot of time shelving worst case scenarios. I would spend more time doing that then getting to know the people around me. There were a lot of wasted opportunity for me and other people, all because I didn’t speak up or join in the conversation.

Over the last month I have made some solid gains in this area. By no means am I perfect, but I have grown. I have learned a lot about myself, and what I am capable of.

 

Wins:

  • Networking List – I made a networking list, and through it I intend to restart some relationships I lost and connect other people to opportunities.  It was surprising. I didn’t realize how long I had let some things lapse.
  • Commenting – I commented on most articles I saw this month, and it made me get better at making a concise point. I got the opportunity to help people, and I helped myself. My theme for next month comes through commenting.
  • Tech MBA – Through reaching out, I got the opportunity to put some energy behind a new challenge – getting an MBA. I added a practice to my routine (GMAT Practice) which kick started some areas in my brain.

Losses:

  • Hesitation – I missed many goals I planned for specific weeks. I started running into resistance, and it sucks.  Going forward, I am going to start recognizing the changes that happened once I made these changes, and try to just get started
  • Organization – My organization gains slipped this month. I am not where I was before April, but this lets me know that I need to watch this.
  • Reading – My reading slowed down a lot this month. I had to change some things around and that was the first thing to go. I have to make some changes here.

I have a stronger network now than I did at the start of the month so I can count this month as a success. I also realize that these themes get me on a baseline. Through this baseline I can start the process to improve.

Do This So Your Contacts Don’t Get Lost

Build a “networking” sheet.

On it, put every single contact that is important to you. Family, friends, business associates have a place there. Business cards are a wonderful resource. Put them to work to fill in most of the gaps.

If you don’t like to mix business with pleasure, separate the list, but get them all there. The insights that you gain are more than worth the trouble. I learned about my contact list and about myself through the exercise. This exercise recommended for those who are willing to put the time in and aren’t faint of heart. It is going to suck, but breathe and you will get through it.

Here are my insights:

  • I don’t follow-up. When I put a column in for last contact date, I realized that although I had some great conversations going, I lost out on keeping up with some outstanding people. This is hard to swallow, but it does give me a baseline to keep up with
  • People have some great interests. When you do your research on their social media (I chose twitter, anything else can do as well) you recognize that people are doing some great work. It is a great barometer to see if you are meeting people at the right places.
  • I need to go to more places. I have a column for where I met, and I noticed that I have been to one place where my contacts come from. It is a great resource, but it lets me know I need to go more places. Exploring the world is wonderful, time to get out more. I have a column that I just added (THANKS TYI) where I ask if I would like to get coffee with someone, regardless of the business prospects.  That helps cut down my list with people to chat with. I do want to keep some people I wouldn’t want to have coffee with as well. Baselines!

It was a little harsh, but an awakening. I have to get to it and build my network even further. The tough part will be finding a way to make sure that this is the worst it looks going forward.

 

 

My Salve For Publishing

“Who wants to hear from me anyway?”

That question ferociously pounds the back of my head the minute I start to create any type of output. I hear it whispered in the back of the ear when I start typing.I don’t want to bother. I have something to say but I get worried when I hit the save and publish button. The tides are turning, whoever is reading this is one post away from hating my guts… I just know it.

To salve this, I remember that while people matter, ultimately being quiet, fitting in, not having a voice leaves me in a worse place. When I don’t express myself and I question the world, I quickly realize that I haven’t done anything to change it. I spent a lot of my life being out of the game, judging from the stands. I recently realized that it isn’t a place to grow, and for a high value person, the motto is grow or die.

“You are doing too much – they are going to block you!”

This charming sentence takes a spot in my mind when I send the work that I make out to people, especially if it is direct. If I have ever sent you an email, I heard this before I sent it to you. As ridiculous as it sounds when I read that sentence out loud, it sounds that much more convincing when it rattles inside the echo chambers in my head.

To salve this I remember that email as a one way communication. I can choose email as a two-way if I like, and if I do that, I have to make sure that what I send is an absolute value add to the person I send it to. The best way for me to feel better about email is to get away from the transactional approach I learned with, and to a simpler place where I am getting generous.