Last week, I spent a day at the Neue Stadtschulen St. Gallen with 26 amazing people – 7 of them were children between the age of 10 and 15 – working on a ventured called Social Entrepreneurship for Kids Academy.
The goal was to come up with activities that children like to do, to learn the abilities that enable them to follow their dreams and build social enterprises.
I got involved in this project because of a chain of events that started with somebody sending me the link to the Lifestyle Design Convention in Zurich.
At that convention, I met a leadership coach who is building a movement called “Leadership by Love” and his wife is one of the founders of Social Entrepreneurship for Kids Academy.
A Different Kind of People
One of the first things I noticed at this workshop was that there was an immediate connection between people in the room, even though most of them did not know each other.
The difference between this and “normal” events I have been to, was that everybody was lined up behind the same cause.
When you usually go to a networking event or a business conference, most people are there to get something.
However, this event was different. People came from all sorts of backgrounds.
There were entrepreneurs, teachers and professors, and even though we came all from diverse backgrounds, everybody was working towards a similar vision and we all cared deeply about entrepreneurship, education and children.
Have you ever experienced walking into a room full of friends you did not know yet? That’s what describes this experience most accurately.
Stop Networking and Start Building Alliances
I’m not a big fan of the term networking. It’s overused and it’s empty.
That’s why I have been looking for new terms to describe what I help my clients do. One of the best terms I recently came up with is building alliances.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about alliances.
“An alliance is a pact, coalition or friendship between two or more parties, made in order to advance common goals and to secure common interests.”
This is pretty much the essence of what I help my clients create.
Just imagine for a second that whenever you were out there, meeting new people, talking to new people and messaging and emailing with new people, you would always do it with the intention to build alliances.
Something I often say to people is “You always have to give first before you can get something” and I deeply believe in that. Some people get it, others don’t.
The entire idea of an alliance is to create mutually beneficial relationships so that you can work towards common goals together.
Isn’t that what networking is supposed to be about?
Falling in Love With Networking Again
Whenever I start working with a client, something stands out. They are networking all the time but rarely enjoy it.
They dread the idea of going to another networking event or cocktail party. If they could just find that room full of friends they don’t know yet, everything would be different.
The beauty about building alliances is that simply by embracing that new mindset, you can walk into any room from now on and it will be full of friends you don’t know yet.
Sure, not every event or place is great for building alliances but when you embrace that new mindset, more places will become great places.
I deeply believe that building alliances is the fastest most effective way to grow your business.
If we can have access to expertise, people, ideas, perspective, accountability and all the other resources that come from building alliances, we create an abundance of opportunities for us and everybody around us.
The Average of the Five People
My all time favorite quote from Jim Rohn is “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.
I have experienced this statement myself when I became an entrepreneur and had to change the people around me because they were no longer serving my purpose.
They are not bad people, I love them. However, the gap between our goals in life and business became wider and wider and I had to upgrade my five people.
By building alliances, you essentially gather likeminded, remarkable and extraordinary people around you so that together, you can take each other to the next level.
Napoleon Hill talks in his legendary book “Think and Grow Rich” about the concept of the Mastermind. A group of people with a similar goal who regularly come together to support each other in achieving that goal.
The alliance I am talking about is something very similar. However, it’s a refined version of it because in order for it to work most effectively, the people in the alliance have to share core values, interests and goals at the same time.
Next Time You Go Out Networking
Next time you go to an event or talk to somebody offline or online, ask yourself “What questions can I ask to find out if people would be at fit for my alliance?”
I’m always amazed at how many new people I talk to every single week. So opportunities are all around us, we constantly meet new people in business and outside of it.
The question is what we are going to do with these opportunities. I urge you to ponder about that question and start or continue to build your alliance of inspiring, remarkable and extraordinary people every week.
If you have a vision that challenges the status quo, changes things and creates impact, and are on the journey to make it a reality, I would be honored to do everything in my power to help you build alliances with remarkable ChangeMakers.
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