"The Formula for Luck" (excerpt from the new Forbes Advantage book)
Leave Nothing To Chance: Ten Powerful Principles For Building A Luck Mindset
Below is an excerpt from the new Forbes Advantage book The Formula For Luck: Leave Nothing To Chance: Ten Powerful Principles For Building A Luck Mindset.
If you have ever felt “unlucky”, then you’ll be surprised to know that one of the 10 principles for generating more luck in your life is…Connectivity!
Humbly, I was interviewed by the author Stuart Lacey, serial entrepreneur behind global data rights company Trunomi and the Barclays’ Rise 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year. Stuart is also a Regional Chair for YPO (Young President’s Organization) leading approximately 3,800 YPO Members with a focus on service leadership, D&I, CSR & employee engagement and culture. As Regional Chair, Stuart covers NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC and all US states in the Northeast.
ENTER: STUART LACEY IN THE FORMULA FOR LUCK…
“Is it better to have a few deep connections or a lot of superficial connections?
Ideally, you want depth over breadth. I’d add here that you also want giving over taking.
The most important consideration is what you can do for others, what you have to offer. The second is to consider what others can do for, or give to, you.
In their book Superconnector: Stop Networking and Start Building Business Relationships that Matter, Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh focus on the idea of surrounding ourselves with “information brokers” at the highest level, people who are constantly learning about others and constantly making good judgments about how to connect people to one another in mutually beneficial ways.
I’ve always called these people rainmakers; maybe you’ve got your own name for them. They’re the people who form the basis upon which genuine communities are built.
Each of us has likely met someone with this amazing ability; we reach out to them with questions like Do you know …? or Can you put me in touch with …? They are high touch, high relationship people. Besides thinking of them as a Superconnector, you probably also think of them as a close friend, a confidant, part of your inner circle, someone in whom you happily invest time, visit in person, and so on.
Superconnectors have three main practices:
The art of selectivity. Likely you’ve heard phrases like “You are the company you keep,” or “Show me your ten best friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.” Superconnectors aren’t playing numbers games when they accumulate connections. They’re focused on quality above all else.
The power of association. Superconnectors know the power of being anchored to people that are solid and trustworthy. Often, they are mentors or gatekeepers, adding credibility and value by effectively linking trustworthy people to other trusted people.
Habitual generosity. Our biggest and best Superconnectors are believers that what you put into the world is what you get out of it. They’re not thinking about that in a quid pro quo sort of way but rather in terms of sheer generosity with their time, positivity, and energy. They know that what they put into the system will manifest back positively in some way or other.
One of the greatest Superconnectors I know from my days in Silicon Valley is Adam Rifkin, cofounder of PandaWhale, an online community of interesting people; and of 106 Miles, a meetup group of over eight thousand start-up founders and engineers.
Adam was named Best Networked in Silicon Valley by Fortune magazine in 2011, and he swears by what’s called the Five-Minute Favor, which is essentially anything that you can do in five minutes for the benefit of another person. Adam reminds us that it’s not as quick as a ten-second favor, but it’s also not something that consumes hours of our day. The favor’s central aim is to give something meaningful and valuable to another person as part of building out that relationship.
One of Adam’s greatest bits of advice is this: “It is better to give than to receive. Look for opportunities to do something for the other person, such as sharing knowledge or offering an introduction to someone that person might not know but would be interested in knowing.
Do not be transactional about networking. Do not offer something because you want something in return. Instead, show a genuine interest in something you and the other person have in common.”
I could not agree more, and in fact I regularly describe the process of building networks like this: it’s not “take as much as you can get”; it’s actually “take as much as you can give.”
Build out your networks based on how much you’re able to put into developing them rather than how much you might take from them. If you’re going to do a Five-Minute Favor or follow some other guideline for building relationships, what you do should be defined first and foremost by your ability to give meaningfully, openly, and generously.
NOTE FROM JARED - I’ve condensed our interview. Namely, I took out Stuart’s introduction from this excerpt which mostly shares my bio. You can read my bio at the end of my emails if you wish. Anyways, here’s our interview from the book…
SL: You were named the world’s most connected millennial. That sounds like a numbers game, but from what I am learning about you, it’s more about quality. Can you elaborate?
JK: I focus on the quality of connections over the quantity, and over time, I’ve been able to build up the quantity of quality relations I have. My process is that one at a time, I build relationships with very influential, very well-connected people whom I like. Then, over time, those people connect me to dozens of other very well-connected and very positive individuals.
SL: A well-regarded friend of mine, Verne Harnish, who wrote two best-selling books called Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up, advises to make a list of the top twenty-five people you want to meet that can help you go big. Then, put the names of those you want to reach into a Google alert so that you are notified every time they are in the news. When they pop up, follow up with them and find a way to build rapport and a relationship. Verne calls these people gatekeepers. You have your own approach to this, Jared, and can you share with us how you identify and nurture such relationships?
JK: Of course, I call them Superconnectors. They’re people that are really well connected in their industry or in their community. Everyone in their network looks up to them and is influenced by them in a positive way. If you’re talking mathematically, I think those connections hold more weight than others. The secret to building a relationship with Superconnectors is to provide value before you ask for value. When you’re offering value up front, you can focus on your strengths. A lot of times it’s your time or it’s your effort, but over time as you develop your network, it becomes easier to offer additional resources to people that you meet. One of the easiest ways I know, for example, is to introduce them to one another.
SL: My experience is that many people seem to approach networks as a necessary means to an end and perhaps don’t bring the best versions of themselves to the effort. Would you agree?
JK: Absolutely. It’s about authenticity and intentionality. Be intentional about who you meet and how you deepen your relationships with them. I think it’s the most authentic expression of yourself to invest time and energy into the people you care about most. This doesn’t have to be time intensive, though. For every hour I invest, I really focus on how I can connect with them on an emotional level and offer value to them. How can I showcase their work to other people in my network? I like to create moments of connection where a year could go by, but we’ll still feel strongly about our relationship and would be happy to help one another in the future.
SL: You refer to a term called social proof in some of your videos. Can you share your best practices with us please?
JK: Social proof is the transference of trust. If you come across someone in the business world who’s been featured in major media outlets that you respect, and they have received awards that have meaning, other people that you admire have written testimonials about them, then you’re naturally going to trust that person more. Social proof can happen in a lot of ways. It can come through an introduction via word of mouth. It can come through getting press and having a respected media outlet talk about your merits. It could be awards or other industry recognition. It’s anything that another person or entity you’re trying to connect with would see as a stamp of approval.
Stuart Lacey’s book The Formula For Luck is now available on Amazon.
Please let me know if you enjoyed this and would like to receive more book excerpts in the future, including exclusives from my upcoming book How To Build A World-Class Network In Record Time.
Jared Kleinert is the founder of Meeting of the Minds (motm.co), as well as a TED speaker, 2x award-winning author, and USA Today's "Most Connected Millennial".
Meeting of the Minds curates "super-connectors" and subject matter experts as invite-only attendees to 3 day summits in places like Napa Valley, Bermuda, and elsewhere, as well as “deep dives” such as this Marketing and Biz Dev strategy & implementation workshop. Members of the MOTM network include CEOs of 7, 8, and 9-figure businesses, creators of globally-recognized brands and social movements, New York Times bestselling authors, founders of pre-IPO tech unicorns, c-suite execs from Fortune 500 companies, and others.
Jared's career began at 15 years old when he started his first company, and took off at 16 while working as the first intern, and then one of the first 10 employees, for an enterprise SaaS company called 15Five, which today has raised over $40M and has almost 2000 forward-thinking companies as monthly recurring clients.
Later, Jared would become a delegate to President Obama's 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Malaysia, write multiple books including the "#1 Entrepreneurship Book of 2015", and speak at TED@IBM the day before he turned 20.
As a highly-sought after keynote speaker and consultant, Jared’s clients range from organizations like Facebook, Samsung, Bacardi, Estee Lauder, IBM, Cornell, Berkeley, AdAge, and the National Speakers Association. His insights on entrepreneurship, networking, marketing, and business development have been featured in Forbes, TIME, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, NPR, Entrepreneur, Mashable, Fox Business and more.
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