Did Woody Allen Get it Right?

Woody Allen is often quoted as saying that “80% of success is showing up.”  It’s a great phrase and there certainly is some truth to it (you may be able to guess what’s coming next . . .); however, is it completely accurate?  I don’t believe so. Woody Allen1

I believe showing up is, indeed, the first step toward success yet there’s a lot more which must be done after simply showing up in order to achieve any degree of significant success.  I bring this up because a year ago I had a conversation with a man about his participation in a networking group and he used this quote from Allen to argue that he should be experiencing significantly more success from his networking efforts than he currently was, simply due to his dedication to showing up and maintaining perfect attendance at networking functions.  I asked if he was doing some specific things which I feel are very important in order to succeed in a networking group and he said “no.”

I told him that I firmly believe taking action (beyond simply showing up) is key in order to achieve real results and, to put it mildly, that did not make him happy; he was beside himself with agitation in response to my suggestion.  He felt that just being there regularly at meetings and functions should yield the results he wanted from his network.  Well, based on the results he was getting, he was absolutely mistaken.

Years ago, I was filmed by Rhonda Byrne for the film – The Secret (about the law of attraction).  If you saw The Secret and don’t recall seeing me in it, that’s because the segment of film I was featured in ultimately ended up being cut during the editing process.  However, what I talked about in that never-aired segment was that one of the things I love most about the law of attraction is that it’s a great starting point for success (in my opinion).  I’d like to take a second though to clearly point out that the word “action” is part of the word “attraction.”  I believe we must first attract what we want in life but that’s not where things end . . . we must then do our part taking the appropriate action in order to achieve what we desire.  Unlike a portion of the film which talks about having a personal genie who will do your bidding upon your command, I believe WE are our own “genie” and that we must take action to attract and achieve what it is that we want.  Attraction without action is basically wishful thinking.  Wishful thinking alone does not allow you to achieve success.

Going back to Allen’s assertion that “80% of success is showing up”–showing up is indeed taking action and this is certainly the first step toward success, which is why I think what Allen says has some truth to it.  However, just showing up is in no way enough.  I believe you actually have to do something when you show up in order to really obtain success, no matter what it is your aiming for in life (what a notion).

What you have to do depends on what you are trying to accomplish.  For the man I was talking to last year, he wanted more results from his network.  Some of the actions I told him he needed to take were to:

  1. Create an introduction that changed every time and focused on a small element of his business.  I told him it was important to train a sales team, not try to make a sale at each meeting.
  2. Schedule one-to-one meetings with a different person from the group each week to build deeper connections and learn more about his fellow networkers (as well as them learning more about him).
  3. Take a leadership role of some kind within the group.  This would help him stand out among the crowd.
  4. Bring referrals (legitimate ones) for other members.  If you want to get business, you have to be willing to give business.
  5. Immerse in referral education.  Read books, blogs (I suggested this blog as a start), articles–anything to help him learn how to engage in the networking process more effectively.

There is so much more he could have done but the list above is a good start for any networking action plan.  I am pleased to say that, to his credit, he actually took my advice (especially the bit about immersing himself in referral education).  Not long ago, I spoke with the man again and he shared with me that his referrals have gone up dramatically over the last year.  Interestingly enough, we ended that last conversation with him stating, “Woody Allen only got it partially right . . . 80% of success BEGINS with showing up.”  Needless to say, I agreed.

I’d love to get your feedback on what I’ve talked about in this post.  What are your ideas about the law of attraction in relation to success?  Are there specific action steps you’ve taken which have made a dramatic difference for you on your path to success in one or more of your networking, career, or life endeavors?  Please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below–I’d love to hear from you!

Learning to Use the Law of Reciprocity: 4 Tips

I posted a blog this past Monday explaining what networkers need to know about the law of reciprocity, and I promised that I’d follow up today with some tips on what to keep in mind as you learn to use the law of reciprocity in your networking efforts. Below you will find four very important things to remember:

Tip No. 1–Giving means helping others achieve success. What is your plan to contribute to others? How much time and energy can you spare for this? Do you actively seek out opportunities to help people? You could volunteer to help out with something that’s important to someone in your network, offer advice or support in time of need, or even work hard to connect someone to a valuable contact of yours.

Tip No. 2–The person who helps you will not necessarily be the person you helped. Zig Ziglar says, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” In other words, what goes around comes around. If you focus intently on helping others, you will achieve success in the end.

Tip No. 3–The law of reciprocity can be measured. It is a myth that networking cannot be measured and, in my latest book, Networking Like a Pro, my co-authors and I use the Networking Scorecard Worksheet, part of the Certified Networker Program offered through the Referral Institute, to measure networking. If you apply the law of reciprocity, you will see your weekly total networking score gradually rise.

Tip No. 4–Success takes getting involved. Contrary to Woody Allen’s assertion that “90 percent of success is just showing up,” you have to do more than simply be present to be a successful networker. If you join a chamber of commerce, become an ambassador. If you join a BNI chapter, get involved in the leadership team. If you join a civic organization, get on a committee. The law of reciprocity requires giving to the group; it will pay you back many times over.

A master networker understands that, although networking is not the end but simply the means to growing a business, service to your network of contacts must always be uppermost in your networking activities. Once you have established a solid reputation as someone who cares about the success of others, the law of reciprocity will reward you with an abundance of high quality referrals.

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