Turning a mission into a reality does not “just happen.” It is built like any work of art or commerce, from the ground up. First, it must be imagined. Then, one needs to gather the skills, tools, and materials needed. It takes time. It requires thought, determination, persistence, and faith. The tool I use is something I call the Networking Action Plan.
The Plan is separated into three distinct parts:
The first part is devoted to the development of the goals that will help you fulfill your mission.
The second part is devoted to connecting those goals to the people, places, and things that will help you get the job done.
And the third part helps you determine the best way to reach out to the people who will help you to accomplish your goals. It’s a bare-bones, straightforward worksheet,
In the first section, I list what I’d like to accomplish three years from today. I then work backward in both one-year and three-month increments to develop mid- and short-term goals that will help me reach my mission. Under each time frame, I create an “A” and a “B” goal that will meaningfully contribute to where I want to be three years from now.
(Example of the Plan)............So she set about filling out the worksheet. Her “A” goal three years forward was to be a teacher. Her three-year “B” goal was to be a teacher in a well-respected district located in a place she wanted to live. Then she filled in his short-term A and B goals. In ninety days, she wanted to be well on her way toward becoming certified as a high school teacher, enrolling in some type of program that would help professionals transition into the field of education. In a year, she wanted to be teaching full-time; she made a list of some of the best high schools in Manhattan that she might enjoy working at. In the second part of the Plan, broken up in similar time increments, she had to name one or two people for each A and B goal who she thought could get her one step closer to making her goal a reality. Within a couple of weeks, Jamie was on her way. She started to see the symbiotic relationship between goal setting and reaching out to the people who can help us achieve those goals. The more she accomplished, the bigger her teaching network grew. The bigger her teaching network grew, the closer she came to accomplishing her three-year goals.
This process can be used by almost anyone, whatever your career. After completing the worksheet, you’ll have a mission. You’ll have the name of a flesh-and-blood person who can help you take the next step in achieving that mission. And you’ll have one, or perhaps several, ways to reach out to that person.
The purpose of this exercise is to show that there is a process, a system if you will, involved in building a network. It’s not magical; it’s not reserved for a select few born with an inherent gift for being social. Connecting with others really just involves having a predetermined plan and carrying it out, whether you want to be a ninth-grade history teacher or start your own business.
Your goals must be specific. Vague, sweeping goals are too broad to be acted upon. They must be concrete and detailed. Know what steps you’ll take to achieve your goal, the date by which it will be accomplished, and the measurement you’ll use to gauge whether you’ve achieved the goal or not.
Your goals must be challenging and demanding. Step out of your comfort zone; set goals that require risk and uncertainty. And when you achieve your goal, set another one."
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi, Tahl Raz