Can I ask you: Are you one of the many executives who do not spend enough time on networking in your local business community? I’m asking, because in my more than 10 years in recruitment and search, I have received calls from many executives who have lost their job. Perhaps been told to return to head office in Europe or elsewhere – but don’t want to. In any case, a sudden overpowering feeling of fear and state of anxiety feel like kicks in the gut. Ever been there?
So why is it that too few prioritise this activity?
Breathing your own exhaust is dangerous. No, this has nothing to do with your car and exhaust pipe. It’s everything to do with an isolated mind that starts believing you can walk on water; meaning a self-perception that you can break through personal limitations and achieve dramatic success all by yourself. It leads to arrogance, a closed mind, a restriction on your perception, and a kind of know-it-all person. It takes special effort to see the world from any perspective other than through our own eyes.
Social isolation is a self-imposed near complete lack of contact with people and the community. Any social interaction is typically brief and superficial. When you create something, you can fall in love with yourself and with your decision, innovation, idea or whatever; unable to see or hear anything to the contrary. Whatever comes out of your mouth is all you’re inhaling. It is Daniel Pink who in his Flip Manifesto quotes American entrepreneur and author Lisa Gansky for this thought.
Breathing our own exhaust happens to the best of us. Sorry to say, I’m one of the first in line when it comes to falling in love with my own stuff. True, I fight it, I hate myself for it. Here are three comments or ideas that can help you to make sure you don’t breathe your own exhaust:
- You lose perspective if you don’t meet other business executives. I assume your job description includes something along the lines of you must report findings in the market place your company operates, intelligence on competitor activities, the current political situation, new laws and regulations, the investment climate, and so on. The best place to have your finger on the pulse for current developments is talking to peers in the business community.
- I bet you too find it challenging to find great talent, the A-candidates we all want. Well, let me tell you that at networking events, there is an oversupply of just such people. You must have eyes and ears on the ground, that’s the floor of the hotel ballroom where networking events take place. Look, you may even find your next great hire yourself and save the headhunter fee!
- It’s also about giving more than you receive. At first, be generous with advice. Invest in getting to know other people. It is how you build personal and professional relationships. One day when need you a hand, a new job in Thailand for example, your network will be happy to help you.
Anyone can do this. Stop disqualifying yourself. It’s too late to start networking when you’ve lost your job! Period.