Looking back on 2012 I have to smile. It was a year filled with some good, some bad, and some ugly.... but I came through the year improved for the experience. Overall it was a fine year, and I have enjoyed the journey.
I wrote on my blog (here and here) about working to "be a better person" in 2012. It is not that I was a schmuck... I just wanted to focus on improvements.
There were four areas of attention:
In the end, the "theme" was subjective, as it is hard to say if I am any "better". However, I do view the year as a success. I did believe in myself, took action, found joy with friends and family and had fun in my success. I also hope I helped others along the way. Many who teach goal setting profess that a goal MUST be measurable, which is why I went with a "theme" (it allowed much more flexibility). It is certainly open to opinion and there are those who would criticize,.... while others might applaud. Yet in the end, I did try to be better ever day.
I learned through trial and error that there are three kinds of people we encounter:
1. Givers: These are folks who enjoy helping people excel along the way. They do not lead with the "what's in it for me" mentality and are never jealous of the successes achieved by others. They know that your success is proof they can find their own victories. These people make introductions, promote others, and do all they can to create "win / win" situations.
2. Indifferents: These are the ones who do not care much about about your efforts. But wait, before you judge... these people are okay, too. It is not every's job to be caught up in the lives of others. What is important to us will not always be on the same level of importance to someone else. The world can be demanding and there is not time to be engaged with each person's cause. Sometimes people just do not have the bandwidth to see your efforts and lend a hand, or they do not share your beliefs. Don't get bummed when people are indifferent. Often they wish they were the givers (or think they are the givers) all the time. Usually they do give sometimes (just not to you), and usually when it is convenient for them. Don't fret... and help them if you can, and keep going toward your goals.
Meanwhile there is the third kind of person:
3. Jerks: The people who think that everyone is out to get them and they chagrin anything that is a win for another person. They are confident that people are cheating if they are in the lead. These people can suck the energy out of the room, and cause a lot of hurt along the way. They do not do it on purpose, and will rationalize all day why the other person is surely wrong, but they have a darkness deep inside. You cannot change their soul. They are jealous, needy, and greedy. Often they are invisible until it is too late. When you do business with a jerk you eventually find out.... and it is painful.
Fortunately, the givers out-number the jerks (Indifferents exist on a situation by situation basis and are harder to quantify). Part of my mantra for 2013 will include the words "fewer jerks". I am trying to learn to identify and avoid those who are clearly selfish or self-centered in their pursuits. I am writing a private mantra for the year, and it is all about the importance of the good people in my life and mutually beneficial opportunities.
A win for one is a win for both when all parties see opportunities as unlimited. Those who see a pie with a finite number of slices will always get nasty when seeking their slice. I choose not to believe that we live in a finite world.
We need meaningful connections is we desire meaningful success. Build relationships, but choose you people wisely.
In 2013 I am going to attempt to live by the motto:
"Value People, Have Fun, and Make a Difference!!!"
I hear from people from all over the world that they desire to have a stronger network, and they had hoped that social media was the answer.... but after nearly a decade online, many isolated. A "link" a "like" or a "friend-request" is not necessarily meaningful. We need the human-to-human interaction to be more engaging to find the real results of networking.
I believe that we are still living in difficult times and that in the new year we need meaningful connections with others more than ever before. It is why the topic of networking continues to grow in popularity.
(When I began speaking professionally 4 years ago I was told that the topic was overdone and nobody cared.... meanwhile I have found that through the recession the power of business relationships has become more important).
Please join me in 2013 in stirring the pot to encourage people to invest in each other beyond creating a digital phone book of strangers. Remember that when you deal with another person there is always a human on the other side of your interaction that has their own "stuff" going on in their life. Networking is not about how they can help you.... but how you can create a mutual web of shared success.
Happy New Year 2013.
Have A Great Year