Shortly after finishing my first draft of this article, I bumped into my longtime mentor in the parking garage. Proudly, I give a quick synopsis and hand over a hard copy to review. Later that afternoon, I’m back from meetings and eagerly await his feedback. In seven words, I’m humbled.
Straight shot to the ego. But he was correct. I certainly wasn’t going to win a Pulitzer for this initial effort.
We’ve all read a multitude of books & articles, listened to TED talks & podcasts. Many centered on the topic of: Advice for the Young Professional. Rather than going through a boring list of tips & tricks, let’s dive a little deeper. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Many years ago, I created a demographic database for every major intersection in Central Florida. I’ve carefully analyzed the Franchise 500 each year of the past decade. Each takes days to complete. Today, as a Tenant Rep Broker, I rattle off these averages and notes on every site tour. Do you run demos and relay them to your client, or do you spend the hours upon hours it takes to truly understand them? Do you go on Retail Lease Trac to find contact info or do you identify the concept before they’re listed?
Not many people actually work hard. If you work harder than everyone in your office, I assure you, you will not fail.
TAKE YOUR SHOTS
Very early into our careers, David Cobb encouraged Davey Brown and I with one line…
“There’s nothing you can f*** up that bad, that I can’t fix.”
It was liberating and believe me, we thought we broke that rule once or twice. If your mentor doesn’t completely have your back like that, it’s best to find another.
The first rule was don’t lie. These fundamental guidelines would book-end every move we made.
We all go to networking events and collect business cards. Try to have a deeper conversation and get to know others personally. Follow-up great meetings and conversations with hand-written thank you notes. Follow-up notable encounters with an email.
The next answer you need may just be a text message away.
(Networking Checklist – courtesy of our friend and mentor Dwight Bain at Lifeworks)
TALK IS CHEAP
If you’re hoping to lean on a title, company or client to gain credibility, you’ll miss the mark. Understand how you can be a resource for others and add value to their lives. To do this, you have to listen and learn.
Your reputation will be built on the foundation of your actions and results. If you become the boss one day, actions and accomplishments are your foundation and you won’t care what your business card says.
We’ve all been through a dozen email organization systems and CRM programs. Most won’t work for you. Sniff that out quickly and move on to the next until you find the right fit. Disorganized email systems and contact databases will slow you down. You don’t have time for an unforced error.
I once had a high-level performance coach say, “the bad news is you’re pretty average right now.” Direct shot to my pride and ego. Rather than defend, sell myself or curl up into a ball… I got fired up.