”Let’s imagine for the moment that we are tiny enough to follow a bee into a hive.Usually the first thing we would have to get used to is the darkness…” Excerpt taken from The Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk
Bees have an efficient way of making sure that flowers are able to survive the environmental changes we humans set into motion (my plug for global warming), it’s called cross-pollination. The process entails bees going from flower-to-flower and “sharing” the pollen. This process alters the makeup of the flower making it stronger and giving the flower a greater genetic variety. School is dismissed now, no more biology I promise.
The point is this, sharing information and opening up your network gives an individual a chance to create an interesting and unique brand. Additionally, businesses can use this same concept by making sure they partner with people across various industries. For the sake of this article I will only focus on the individual outlook.
To open up your network to new opportunities consider the following:
Read books, articles and journals from a variety of sources. I realize most people don’t like to read, while others can’t find time to read. Here is a tip: the more you read the more you like to read, and there is always time to do the things that truly matter. Sorry I wish there was a sexier way to say that but the truth is often times unsexy. Most people who read a lot on a variety of topics develop a system. I’m sharing my system so feel free to use whatever you like. I sign-up for a new electronic newsletter every week. I aim to read them all on the same day, so normally on the weekend I get caught up. I give it one month and if I find I’m not getting good information I unsubscribe. I also suggest setting up a junk/newsletter email account. Once you find that you like the information consider moving the e-newsletter to your everyday email address. These suggestions will help ensure your inbox isn’t filled with junk, making it easier to read everything that comes in.
Join new networks. We all love old friends but keeping your network fresh (and avoiding group think) means meeting new people. They don’t have to become your best friends but it is wise to have associates. Consider joining new Meet-Up groups in your area, joining a museum membership group, finding a softball or golf league as well. One of life’s greatest treasures is human interaction. We all have great things we can share and those things can’t be found online, in a book or in the house alone.
Don’t be a carbon copy, but find an image you can relate with. Don’t make yourself an exact replica of someone else. I repeat, do not make yourself an exact replica of someone else. With that said we all need to find someone who inspires us or encourages us. Finding a mentor, even from a distance, means that we have someone who has walked a similar path. Wise counsel, clarity in goals and confidence comes from positive mentorship and having someone you can “look up to” even if from a distance.
Interesting people are often times authentic, genuine and unique (sometimes interesting people are also a little strange). In our world you must remain interesting in order to stay in the “flow” of an ever-changing society. Consider this, when my mom was born the microwave didn’t exist; when I was born the flat screen television didn’t exist. Technology has changed everything and we now live in a world where things change overnight. In order to protect yourself from being outdated it would be wise to cross-pollinate like the bees. There is a reason why hybrid roses exist, they survived when the environment changed. Will you survive, or become extinct?