Look for solutions-focused people when you are networking.
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The quality of your personal and professional network is highly dependent on the people in your network. We often consider people’s aptitude when we bring them into our personal network, but we often forget to consider their attitude. Based on a survey I conducted of over 3,400 people around the world, one of the top characteristics of a great networker is, in fact, their attitude.
Over the years, I’ve recognized that there are some people who are positive and supportive individuals who I really want to be around. They are solutions-focused when it comes to solving problems and are almost always willing to talk through challenges with a positive end in mind. These people are engines. They help us be our best selves, and they motivate us to drive forward in a positive way.
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I’ve also noticed, as I’m sure you have, that there are some people who complain as though it were an Olympic event. And for the record, I’ve checked, and it’s not. They tend to be negative, argumentative and obsessed with problems without any real focus on solutions. I’ve learned not to spend much time with these people because they focus on all the things that are wrong relating to most challenges. If all someone does is focus on problems, they become an expert on the problems and not on the solutions. These people are anchors. They hold us back and weigh us down.
So, who do you surround yourself with, engines or anchors?
This is an important question for everyone. It’s particularly important if you are trying to build a powerful personal network of people around you. Is your network full of people who are engines helping you go to the next level in your life or your career? Or are they anchors weighing you down with the plethora of complaints?
Do they hold you back, or do they drive you forward? Sometimes when we first meet someone, we can’t tell if they are an engine or an anchor. It may take a little time to observe the way they do business and how they interact with others, but it’s critical that we take notice as soon as possible.
If you want to build a powerful personal network, look for engines — those people who help you in your business and in your life. Forbid entrance to the anchors who may be trying to get into your personal network. Generally, they don’t really care about you but mostly care about what you can do for them instead.
Related: 4 Foundational Networking Tips for Finding Your Tribe
The funny thing here is that no one thinks they’re an anchor — no one. They’ll tell you that they are an engine and that they just don’t like the direction you are going and that’s why they come across the way they do. For the record, this attitude means they are an anchor with a motor attached who is trying to take you down faster.
My advice is to call for “all hands on deck,” cut loose the anchors in your life, partner up with your fellow engines and go full speed ahead. Create the life and the network that you want. Only other engines can help you do that.