Opportunity Over Routine

Sometimes it is not easy to pick between the comfortable and the random. We all have routines in some shape or form and find them difficult to break. Only when you break routine can you put your character to the test and grow as a person. The unknown may seem risky or distant from relevant – but you’ll never know for sure until you try. When forced to choose, always opt for the new opportunity (after, of course, you’ve done your due diligence). You have far more to gain from mixing up your life and taking chances on faith than keeping everything normal and under control.

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Peripheral Vision and Opportunity

Keep your eyes open all the time. You never know what opportunities lie at the edge of your vision. Keep your mind free to all possibilities. Focus may be productive, but it has a very negative side effect: myopia. The real pros do not ruthlessly blockade distractions from their lives; they listen to all options, see everything, and train themselves to sort through variables faster than everyone else. If you want to rule the world, learn to dissect the world efficiently. Pay attention to everything and consider it all before filtering away. The email at the bottom of the list, the girl in the corner of the room, or that side panel advertisement may actually be the most important twists in your life. But you’ll never know unless your mind’s eye stays open.

Call People With Your Phone (That’s What It’s There For)

Random calls work like magic. Through cold-calling old friends in an effort to “stay in touch,” I’ve discovered great collaborators, learned things I could never imagine, and been offered jobs. Keeping your network fresh is important. And it’s really easy to do when you find yourself bored, commuting, or waiting for laundry. Just pick up your phone. Skim through your contacts. Pick someone you have not spoken to in a while. Call the person. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Think you need a reason to call someone? “Catching up” is a perfect reason to call someone. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: stay in touch.

Inventory Your Relationships

When I say, ‘Inventory your relationships,’ I don’t mean, ‘Treat your friends like retail products on a stocking shelf.’ I mean, ‘Keep tabs on everyone in your network.’

Like reviewing notes taken in class, study your mobile contacts list, address book, or friends list. Take note of the people you haven’t spoken to in a while. If you find yourself curious about or missing updated information on a contact, you should reach out to him or her and catch up. Send a note, invite for coffee, arrange a phone or video call – whatever you find comfortable. Learn what keeps your friends busy, where their talents lie, what interests they have, and where they want to go next. Catch up, offer help if you can, and take notes to update your rolodex. Promise to stay in touch.

Never rule anyone out; people can change. Some of the shady characters in high school may have sobered up to start multi-million dollar businesses. You never know. You will be surprised what happens when you reach out to old relationships, especially the ones you were never close with before. You might uncover a great opportunity, discover a shared interest, or find romance. All three have happened to me. Partnerships of all kinds form out of rebooting network connections.

Recycling old relationships can be far easier than meeting new people because you already share common ground. I would even argue that keeping your network fresh by staying in touch is equally as important as growing your network, if not more so. As I have said before, it’s not about who you know, but who knows you. It is important that your contacts remember you. Stay fresh in other people’s minds, keep them fresh in yours, and keep your network strong.

It all starts by skimming your phone during downtime. Stay in touch.

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