Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Networking/Netweaving Motivations

Why Network/Netweave? What are your motivations?

I cannot pretend to know your motivations, but as I continue to learn and grow I can share where I have been.

When I started out to get on the path to networking, I didn't even know there was such thing as netweaving. So, what were my motivations?

Initially, fear motivated me to not do anything, but like the millions of pounds of thrust from the rockets on the space shuttle help it to overcome gravity and inertia and eventually leave Earth for near Earth orbit disgust with where I was drove me to venture into all I knew which was networking.

I will define this networking as the dreaded 30 second elevator speach you memorize and with a gulp of courage pressing down the urge to vomit you repeat over and over as you "work the room" forcing unsuspecting adults to receive your business card in trade for their business card.

I didn't know better. That is all I had ever known.

But, being the recovering geek that I still am today and was more so back then, I didn't even dare venture out before real people and instead retreated to the technology that I could not tell was really my prison.

I chose to overcome what I didn't know by "practicing" on the hapless people I encountered on social networking sites. "If I make mistakes, I can just delete my profile and run and hide in a corner and eat worms." I said to my self as if that really was some comfort.

At this stage, my motivation was cromagnon. I was playing with the bright light I'd found after the lightning strike not knowing if it could hurt me or be my friend.

I was motivated by base instinct to better myself, makes sales so I could make money, and basically selfish desires.

However, this stage was important or I wouldn't have overcome the inertia that held my quivering ignorant butt in my seat afraid to go over the horizon for fear that the world would end.

But, like anyone who has been through formal education, I realized that I would have to turn to the wisdom of those who had come before me.

So, groping through the darkness at a local book purveyor I flipped and flopped between the comfort of technology tomes and the unknown of "business" books.

What lay before me was a great adventure that even now many much older and wiser still behold in extreme incredulity. Many cannot belive that such a neanderthall as myself could have found the fire and learned to tame it. Even just today I was confronted by these walking fun-house mirrors reflecting earily past distorted images of myself.

In my quest to understand this enigma called networking, I stumbled upon a map that was written in a language I could understand. At first I was attracted by its orange cover with blue writing soley because I liked the color and the words on its cover seemed simple. In fact, recently I heard a so-called expert dispising the very contents of this tome calling it simple and naive. But, its simplicity attracted me and I dove in right there in the bookstore. It was Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.

Quickly I realized that along with the binky blankets of technology magazines and books I had chosen, I must have this one too.

As I read it, I had to take breaks because the newness of the material hurt my neanderthall grey matter. But, throughout the months ahead I learned about the foreign land of networking. This map called Never Eat Alone also laid out the hints of a land beyond networking that would take me years to discover in experience and a year longer after that to know its name.

I took what I could bear and tried to apply the wisdom to the only place I felt safe enough to venture out and meet new people: a new land of myth called LinkedIn. I applied new ideas of introducing myself to total strangers there, and begining conversations about the magic called business. I fought the demons of spam and laziness. I tackled the dragons of fear and humiliation. Had to conquer this unknown land, and by chance I had found the right map.

As I built upon failure and success, I realized that I was making the acquaintences of many new people and by chance I had discovered that I enjoyed helping others. It took meeting a giant of a person who later became my mentor before I realized that this was the real secret.

Through long, dark dungeons I learned to discern the Takers from the Givers and the first Giver I was to meet was a Lady of Light. This Lady poured into my life through her actions and spoken wisdom the hidden knowledge of the guild of the Givers. She tested me with much and though I stumbled I was drawn by the lessons of the Givers and realized a new way I knew deep in my soul must lead to the other side of just networking.

I had to share what I had learned, so dispite the pickly thorns I knew would block my way I endeavored to share the new way. I learned later that it had many names: Servant Leadership, and Pay-it-forward, and Give First. Some giants of the land had gone well before me yet few knew of these names and even fewer knew of the way. Finally, I came to call it netweaving.

I shared and shared its truths like I had been shown by the Lady. I braved the cold steele of those less enlightened knowing that the way of the Givers was better than the way of the Takers. For as it has been said, "Give and it will be given to you..." Hidden in those words I realize now that I'd heard all of my life were the foundation of the truth that would lead me on to become the Champion.

I began to draw a crowd and called it InHouston. We braved unknown to challenge the older ways of paid-for-networking, and dues-based chambers. Instead, together we grasped and found the way to no-dues, no-cover, no-presentation, netweaving. Eureka!

Somewhere in there my motivation had been turned from the dark side of the Takers where every action was guided by self-centered need to the light side of the Givers. My motivation really became to find those who would accept me and let me help them. Daily I was confronted by the old way as Takers would barge into my group. Some came disguised as Givers only to disappear as if driven from me by the blinding light of netweaving. It was as if they could not stand it like Superman and kryptonite.

However, those who longed for more than just the way of the Takers were drawn as if by magnet to join me on the life-long journey called the way of the Givers.

I still don't have perfect motivation. I don't believe I ever will. However, in greater numbers I seek to strive for the high mark of the calling of the way of the Givers and their motivation of purely giving without ever seeking anything in return.

Now, though not of plan or purpose at first, I realize that I am drawn to seek out those chosen to find the way of the Givers. I find myself motivated to draw close to me Trusted Advisors ever wiser in this true way. Not foresaking those still behind me on the path, I endeavor to gather to me a group of like-minded people.

So, less and less I find myself motivated to push this way on others and instead I realize that 80% who hear will never dare to believe it could be true. I don't worry about that and give without expectations knowing that the 20%'ers who will eventually grasp netweaving like I have will be drawn not only to me but also to a stronger and stronger army of Netweavers which I find myself standing with.

My motivation changed along the journey. I know I struggle with the ghost of the pre-Giver motivations every day. My motivation can never purely be a Givers unless I am without need, but daily my courage builds for the right way for me.

So, why are you networking or netweaving? What are your motivations? How are your inspired? What passions drive you?

Do you hear the song of the higher calling?

I challenge you, NO! I dare you to give first without expectation.