If you want people in your network to assist you on your path toward success, find ways to help others.
Zig Ziglar says; " You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."
So why are people so cautious to do favors for others?
One person told me he was jaded. He had helped others but they never returned the favor. I can see how that happens, but it is not the right answer. It is not always the same person who helps you. It could be someone else who just knows that you are a helpful person who tosses you an opportunity. If you get jaded and stop being generous, the "right" people may not have found you yet - and when they do they do not like what they see.
Another person told me he was too busy to think about others. His own job and other responsibilities were daunting and he could not keep up. The stress was too much, and he did not have the time to think about how to serve others. This is not the right answer either. There is always time, it is just how you prioritize. Also, doing good for another person feels good. Take pride in making a difference for someone and you will find your stress will be less.
Finally, I was told "I would love to help, but don't know what I can do". Ask. If you ask enough people about their needs, challenges and goals you will find that some of them will answer you with situations where you can be of great assistance. If you are serious about helping others and cannot find any opportunities within your network of contacts, volunteer for a charity. No matter what city you live in there are great causes who need volunteers, board members and evangelists. Get involved.
(Side note - If you live in Austin, Texas and are looking for ways to get involved, I recommend you attend the 2008 Fall Board Summit on Wednesday night, November 5th. Sponsored by Greenlights for NonProfit Success, this gathering brings together many local charities who are in search of board members and volunteers. This event will be held from 5:45 -8:00 at the offices of Vinson & Elkins. You will have the opportunity to network with over 150 business professionals and hear community leaders talk about nonprofit board service. The best part is you'll have a the chance to learn about over 20 diverse local organizations who are actively looking for people to help them achieve their goals!).
Become a connector. Link people to each other and to opportunities that match their goals. Make it a goal to help someone when you see the chance. To do this you must think about other people and understand what success looks like for them. We all get myopic about our own desires and we forget that different folks have different ideas about what it is to succeed.
Ask everyone you talk with today "What is your biggest challenge between now and the end of the year?". Then look for ways, when appropriate, to help that person overcome their obstacles.
Let me know when you are able to make a difference. It will feel good and you might be afraid that talking about it will be bragging...so email me and brag all day long!!!
Have A Great Day.