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Promise 3 – Promote with Purpose

The word “promote,” in and of itself, conjures up so many thoughts in our minds, from the boxing promoters who will not stop talking about how great the next fight will be, to the social media guru you can’t avoid on YouTube. That is not what this is about at all. This is about making real connections with people


Four Key Tips To Making Progress:
#1: Stories Open Doors

No one wants to feel like they are doing self-promotion, nor should you or anyone have to. Ask people to share their story with you. People enjoy talking about themselves. There are several benefits.

  • One, you will inevitably learn something you didn’t know.
  • Two, you are deepening a relationship.
  • Three, you are expanding your network.
  • Four, that person will typically ask you to share your story as well.

Share strategically, in terms of what you have done (technical skills) and the things that make you promotable (you can read more about that in Promise #2) as well as your future interests.


Four Key Tips To Making Progress:
#2: Create a Wisdom Exchange

“Experience is the best teacher, but wisdom is learning from someone else’s experience.” That is a quote from Pastor Chuck Coleman’s father. I just love that quote.

Often when I am talking I am conceptual and provide things in context so you can take them and do them your own way. With this one, I am being very literal. This is a task list.

1. Take a step back in looking at your passion and create a list of the folks who operate in your passion today. The people you believe do it remarkably well.

Write down why you believe they do it remarkably well.

  • Be specific about each of the persons, do not overgeneralize.
  • Look into each of their backgrounds to understand how they got there. In other words, what helped them get to that level of performance.

2. Create a list of questions that you want to ask that person.

3. Set up time with that person to ask them the questions. Trust that I know in many cases you don’t know this person. They could be famous, a C-level executive at a company, etc. Here is the good news . . . in the world we live in today, almost everyone is reachable, the only question is whether they (or through their assistant or gatekeeper) will respond or not.

  • If you don’t have direct access, draft a message to them, I would suggest two versions, one that you can send in email and one through Twitter DM. The syntax should be similar to the following:

    Greetings, I am [YOUR NAME], I want to do [INTEREST], thus far I have [WHAT YOU HAVE DONE], I admire your work because [PART 2A ABOVE] and I understand you’ve taken this road [PART 2B] to get there. However, while I get that, I know that 15 minutes with you would be remarkably helpful to me and my journey as it would give me some clarity in some of my next steps. Thank you for your consideration.

  • Get started in requesting time.

Here is one thing I know for sure. My friend DJ Wade-O says this, and I love it “You miss 100% of the shots you do not take.” So, take some shots, my friends.

This has become a technique I have used several times over now and it has paid dividends, shortening the learning cycle tremendously.


Four Key Tips To Making Progress:
#3: Let Your Whole Self-Show
You must bring your full value to the table

Earlier in my career, I tried to divide my life into parts. My passion parts around music in one place, my passion parts around helping others (let some show at church, let some show at work), and my professional part at work. Interestingly enough it was also creating three different networks to a certain degree.

Guess what, each of those folks in the different networks had an appreciation for the skills and such I was not showing them and showing to others in the other networks, but because I was not sharing my entire self, they were not getting a chance to see it. Further, that also means I was not allowing myself to help some people who could use my help and conversely allow them to help me.

I finally got comfortable with the fact that in order to get the full value out of your efforts and be true to yourself, you must let your whole self show. Said differently, unless you have a cape, change in a phone booth, and fear kryptonite, there is only one you!


Four Key Tips To Making Progress:
#4: Network

Networking is critical to your efforts. If you struggle with the concept of networking, no worries, I used to as well and many still do. For some, it is feeling like the process can be disingenuous. For others, they are concerned they are not going to know what to say. This list goes on and on.

Think about this as if you were the heart and you had to manage the body. As the heart of the body, you own the passion (or purpose/cause). However, you need to get your arms, hands, legs, feet and other body parts that are more distant, to carry out the work to make that passion come to life. You could certainly try to take steps to walk around the body and move things around yourself, but it would likely take a long time.

The heart pumps oxygenated blood to your cells through arteries. Think of arteries as your network. The arteries carry the passion to the other parts of the body, so they can move and get into action. Make sense?!

Now, that is not to say that you are just looking to use a network. There are four quick tips I will share here and then offer some further direction:

  1. Find like-minded individuals and spend time with them.
  2. Look to give first as you build your network.
  3. Be genuine and stay in touch. One of my professors, Professor Uzi, called it the shared activity principle – – having something in common you both like to do. Do that thing together, then it is natural.
  4. Use the time to exchange ideas and help each other.

For more on networking, a book I highly recommend. Making Your Net Work: Mastering the Art and Science of Career and Business Networking. In full transparency, Billy and Melissa are great friends of mine. In fact, Billy wrote the forward to my book and is the one that introduced me to Melissa, who was my book coach. This book is great for several reasons, but I will try to keep it to three. 1) I have seen them live out the practices they are speaking to. 2) They go straight into the challenges most of us have with networking and help debunk them early on, so we get that out of the way and 3) They provide practical “do now” tips to how to succeed.