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The Networking Effect

There is no doubt that networking is a hugely advantageous tool to any and all business owners. Now there are many groups, clubs networks out there to choose from but which one is the right one for you? How do you go about deciding which one is the right fit for your business?

Networking definitely forces you out of your comfort zone but It can generate referrals and increased business as well as creating connections.  These sessions give you the opportunity to rub shoulders with highly influential people in the business world.  These are opportunities that you might not normally have. It is also a great way to get advice from like- minded entrepreneurs/business people and make new friends in the process.

It’s tough not to drown in the sea of options but you have to keep your head above water. Talk to friends, friends of friends, do your due diligence and research and find the right one(s) for you.  I know I am currently struggling with this exact dilemma right now and am trying to figure out a couple of more avenues to explore in order to expand my network.

I currently belong to the Toronto Board of Trade and this is a great organization. Business owners from all walks of life are members it’s a great place to meet people BUT you have to put in the time, do the work and that I think is part of the reason people have a tough time with this type of thing. These connections don’t get built overnight, you have to nurture them they take time and let’s face it you’re not going to connect on an organic level with everyone that you meet at networking events. Sometimes, you just need to walk away as there will be nothing mutually beneficial so move on, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Relationships are the catalyst for success. People tend to do business with people they like and trust. Be a resource for others and help them succeed.  Just because there might be nothing beneficial for YOU doesn’t mean you can’t help someone out in the process if you have the capability to do so. Remember, this networking thing ISN’T all about YOU! It’s a two way street.

 

Image courtesy of accelerateplaces.com

Jumping To Conclusions - You Never Know Where You Will Land

I read something the other day and it really stuck in my head. Never jump to conclusions because you never know where you might land. I believe that saying to be so true. You could be walking down the street and see someone and completely dismiss them because of how they look or how you perceive them. Meanwhile, they could be one of the nicest people in the world you just never know.
How about when we haven’t heard from someone for a long time? Could be someone we may know but not very well and all of a sudden they reach out. Most of the time this may result in us jumping to the conclusion that person is looking for something or wanting something from us. I am guilty of this misnomer.
In some cases we can be very quick to dismiss a person as we may think they are only reaching out because they want or need something from us, so why bother. Speaking from my own experience, you shouldn’t immediately dismiss a person because of a hunch you may have.
I had a former co-worker reach out to me recently. He was asking me for a favor. He was wanting me to connect him with one of my LinkedIn connections. Now, we weren’t great friends at work however we were acquaintances and we would exchange pleasantries and minor chit chat when we did see each other so I thought sure why wouldn’t I help someone if I am able.
In messaging back and forth, I learned his wife works and has worked at art galleries in the area and he asked me if I would like to be connected with his wife as he knew I was a photographer. He told me the art gallery she works for is looking for a photographer to do some pro bono work for them as they are a not for profit gallery. I gladly accepted his offer and in doing so he had also stated he would speak to his wife about the possibility of getting my art work into some galleries or at the very least she could provide me with info and guidance on how to go about doing so in the proper way.
I guess my point is, we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss people in any situation. One, it’s always nice to help someone out who is in need and two, you just never know who this person might know that could perhaps not only return the favor and but may be able to help you out when you need it. There is not cost for kindness, share it!

Image courtesy of www.evilenglish.net

Dealing With Grief and Loss - Does Time Heal?

It was one year ago today, one of the greatest men I have ever had the privilege of knowing left this world. He was my father in law, a great friend, and an incredible human being. Taken from us far too soon at the young age of 65, his passing left a great big hole in the hearts of family and friends. He lost his battle with that horrible and dreaded disease, Cancer. With this in mind, today I want to celebrate Frank as a person, his life and all that he gave everyone he touched.

This past year has been a tough one for sure, trying to deal with the loss of my father in law, my wife dealing with the loss of her father, my daughters dealing with the loss of their grandfather and of course my mother in law trying to cope with the loss of her husband. We are all dealing with loss and I don’t think any of us, including me, have really properly dealt with the overwhelming grief which comes along with losing a loved one.

I can’t believe it has been a year since we last saw his face or heard his voice. Where does the time go? Not being able to just pick up the phone and call just to chat has been one of the hardest things to deal with. My wife says to me she wishes that he could return to us just once a year for a day. Wouldn’t that be great? Would just once a year be enough to suffice the loss of a loved one? Wouldn’t it leave you wanting more than just one day? Of course we all know that’s not possible but a nice thought nonetheless.

I know he wouldn’t want us to be sitting around grieving his passing. I can hear him in my head saying: you have to carry on and go forward with your life. So, the best thing to do in my opinion is to keep all those wonderful memories stored in the memory bank and replay them again and again in my head when I am feeling down or missing him. Speaking to someone about it helps as well although nothing will ever take away the pain of losing someone as close as a parent or family member. To all of you out there who have lost a loved one, parent, child, friend, or relative, stay strong and keep those memories close because NOBODY can ever take that from you! I do believe whole heartedly that time does heal and eventually will take the edge off the pain and make things bearable bit by bit.

Pops, I will keep replaying those memories of laughs with you and our late night conversations over a few beers after everyone else has gone to bed. You were one of a kind, that’s for sure. You will FOREVER and ALWAYS remain in my heart and mind. You are greatly loved and sorely missed.