You want to stay motivated? Then develop a positive network

The importance of networking in entrepreneurship

We all suffer periods of disillusionment and negativity, even though we know that positive people get positive results. And that’s not just some mumbo-jumbo, fad thinking. Scientific studies have proved that positivity breeds positive outcomes and negative thinking breeds negative outcomes. Studies like:

The importance of networking in entrepreneurship cannot be overstated. But how do you create the positive professional network that will help you thrive and grow?

Positivity is a driver of motivation

As entrepreneurs, we thrive on positivity. It gives us energy and hope, and improves our resilience to failure. Staying positive helps us to bounce back from mistakes.

Negativity stops us from being creative. Positivity helps us to be innovative. We see multiple solutions to problems, instead of suffering from tunnel vision.

A positive outlook also helps us to develop better and more positive professional and personal networks.

Positive people benefit from higher-quality relationships. These help to spur personal growth, motivation, innovation, and, consequently, productivity.

Think about all these qualities and consider two entrepreneurs. Who do you think will be the most successful:

  • The one who is negative, reluctant to act, and surrounded by negative people?

  • The one who is positive, driven by motivation, and surrounded by a positive support network?

As we discussed in our article ‘A values-based network will save your life and grow your business’, a strong, positive network has the power to deliver:

  • Stronger business connections

  • Generation of new ideas and innovation

  • Access to better job opportunities for careerists

  • Chances for collaboration

  • Growth of sales and revenues

  • Support and greater self-confidence

Your current network may be letting you down

This may be hard to hear, but your current network may not be doing you any favors. We tend to build networks that suit our current position. They aren’t forward-thinking. We develop friendships and connections based on where we are now, and not on where we want to be.

The trouble with networks that are built in this way is that most people in your network aren’t wired the same as you. Sure, they may have the same outlook, political views, personal preferences and so on now, but they don’t have the entrepreneurial mindset. Most people remain in the status quo. They are happy to go through life as they are today.

That’s not you. One of the ways that Ken Andrukow defines an entrepreneur’s mindset is that, “An entrepreneur does not operate well in the status quo. We’re always looking to shift things up.” That’s incredibly difficult to do when the people around you don’t want or understand this.

If people in your network suggest you ‘get a proper job’, or are always negative about your ideas, it’s probably because they are fearful that your success will take you away from them. Instead of providing you the positivity that helps you to grow, they try to keep you where you are. They don’t do this on purpose, but their negative energy will drain your motivation. And this will stop you from succeeding.

Developing positivity in your current network

There are ways to encourage your current network to be more positive and supportive. These include:

  • Explaining why you want to do the things you propose to do

  • Ensuring them that success won’t make you more distant from them

  • Describing how you will do what you plan to do

Some people in your network will come round to your way of thinking. Those who don’t will drain your energy. You may need to make difficult choices. Do you limit the time you spend with these people? Should you impose limits on topics that you discuss with them? Should you keep them in your network?

The people around you shape the way you think and feel. Jim Rohn, entrepreneur, author, and motivational coach and speaker, believed that “you are the average of the five people you spend most time with.” In other words, you get your energy, your drive, your motivation and your focus from your five closest acquaintances. If that’s not working out too well right now, you must switch things up a little. More than a little.

Creating a positive professional network

Reshaping your current network and developing a positive professional network takes effort. It must be planned. A few of the steps include:

  • Setting yourself goals for your network. Who are the people you want to attract into it? What skills do they have? What benefits do you wish to gain from your network?

  • Planning where to network. Will you find these people in local trade associations? Can you connect online to them? What networking tools should you use?

  • Giving to receive. Brendan Hsu, Director of Operations at Aeriel Canvas, says, “It’s about creating solutions, creating opportunities, and the more of those that you can create for not just yourself, but for others, the more successful you’ll become.

  • Being proactive. Reach out to your networking targets. Be helpful and curious. 

  • Making time to network. Don’t be so busy building your business that you neglect your network. It needs nurturing – and it is not only there for when you need it. Create positivity by offering as well as accepting.

Don’t know where to get started?

Building a network that will motivate you isn’t easy. If you’re doing this for the first time, or your current network is sapping your energy, it’s probably going to take you out of your comfort zone. You’ll be making connections that you never thought possible. And that’s the thing – it’s you who will be doing the connecting.

Do you find it tough breaking the ice with someone? Are you reticent about how to make that approach? Make Level 5 Mentors your first new connection. We’ll be happy to help you develop your unique networking strategy. And we’ll be happy to be the first connection in your positive professional network.

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