It is the end of another 365 days and many of you are looking back at 2009. Some of you are coming up with New Year’s resolutions regarding networking; others plan to jump into 2010 and take it as it comes. If you are feeling any stress whatsoever regarding your networking efforts and accomplishments in 2009, I have an approach that might free you up to create what you really want, not more of what you think you should have or do.
WARNING: This process may strike you as boring or simplistic. Try it anyway. Levity and absurdity often unlock habitual ways of thinking and destructive self critique in ways that nothing else can.
1. Make a list of all the things you wish you had done differently with your networking this past year. If you do not want to write them all down, at least do three. Leave some space under each one you write.
2. After you are done, go back to the top of the list. Underneath each item, re-write it as a twister—an absurd version of it. No editing, and, the more absurd the better. Examples:
Original sentence: I like the number of events I went to, but I don’t like the fact that I did not talk to that many people.
Twister: This year, I will go to even more events. I will not talk to anyone. Even if someone comes up to me and tells me they have a lead for me, I will walk away.
Original: During many of my conversations this year, I focused on what I was going to say next, instead of really listening to the other person while they were talking.
Twister: In 2010, I will continue to stay focused on myself and in addition, I will interrupt them at will so I will never loose my train of thought. I can always come back later and ask them what they were going to say.
3. Do not edit while you write these.
4. Read every one of these back to yourself. Please do this out loud. Even more fun: read them out loud to someone else!
5. When your stress has lightened up if not dispersed completely, revisit these and decide on what you really want.
Perhaps your 2009 resolutions did not turn out the way you had intended because you wrote them with a built in sabotoge mechanism–you wrote what you thought you SHOULD want, not what you really wanted. “Shouldn’t I meet as many new people as possible?” “If getting a job/contract/new friend can be a numbers game, shouldn’t I attend a lot of events?” Perhaps…and perhaps not. Whatever you choose, I hope it comes from thinking that is free of death grips and allows the spontaneous unfoldment of your true intentions.