There is a quote that says that “Actions speak louder than words.” Damn right they do!
I always say that words are cheap. Anyone can make grand claims and promises of ‘eternal fairy-tale bliss’, however, it’s actions that provide the solid concrete undeniable proof. Words by themselves are not enough. I believe that if you truly mean it, then you need to prove it. Step up. Take responsibility for your words and show that you mean what you say.
Actions, like words, can be good or bad, positive or negative, uplifting or suffocating, rejuvenating or corrosive. Therefore, perhaps the most important thing is the intention behind the words and actions. Perhaps, the real question here is, how can we understand the intention?
Even good words can be spoken and good actions can be done with bad intentions, so how can we know the real motivation behind the words and actions?
I believe that it’s the consistency of actions done over a long period of time that is the true gauge of intentions. Even small actions done consistently over a long period of time truly reflect the strength and the reason of intention, like how the slow steady drip of a drop of water carves a hole in a stone boulder.
However, it’s not easy to keep acting consistently on something over a long period of time as it goes against the law of Entropy, which states that over time all things decline towards disorder and chaos. The uncertainty of the future and the appearance of life events as random, by default, do not allow for consistency.
It takes constant self-reflection and unshakable discipline to work against these intangible forces of disorder. It’s the tiny, minute, seemingly insignificant 2mm course corrections that we do in the small moments of everyday which compound together to ensure that we consistently perform the right actions to reach our goals and provide concrete proof and truth of our intentions.
This is especially important for building, maintaining and nurturing relationships. Over time, all relationships tend to drift apart and fizzle out, unless we intentionally and consistently take action to cultivate them.
When networking, it’s important that we have a strong system in place to track all our connections and have a powerful follow-up process built into our calendars and schedules to ensure that we are consistently taking action to work on developing the relationships that we have built.
Personally, I believe that it’s not important which platform, spreadsheet, CRM, database, calendar, or email client we use. However, it is absolutely critical that we are consistent with our tracking, follow-up and follow through.
Honestly, you can set-up just a basic spreadsheet for all this or setup automatic reminds on your phone’s calendar, as long as, it serves your purpose and allows you to nurture your relationships. My advice is to set up at least a 1-hour time block every week to work on your networking and follow-up. Currently, I have a 1-hour time block on my calendar on Wednesday at 6pm to work on nurturing my network. I usually end up spending more time during the rest of the week sending messages, staying in touch, making introductions and connecting with old and new connections, however, I have a strict time block to ensure consistency, regardless of how much extra time I spend on this.
I have set-up a system that works for me. I know that I can just rely on my system to carry me through regardless of the increasing conflicting demands of life. I just need to have the discipline to follow the system.
By consistently showing up again and again and again, from a place of Care, Value and Service I can prove to people in my network the truth of my intentions. I can demonstrate to them that I mean it when I say that I want to invest in the relationships. Anyone can show up, add value in the moment and then move on, but by taking action consistently and adding value and serving my networking over a long period of time, I undeniably prove that I am who I say I am and that I mean what I say because everything is backed by consistent action and concrete proof.
I aim to follow this philosophy in my personal life too. As a litmus test, I recently asked every member of my nuclear family the following 2 questions:
“What can I do to be a better (insert my relation to them) to you?”
“What else can I do to give you more happiness?”
Even the litmus test was an action that I took.
I guess it all starts with taking responsibility. Take responsibility for your intentions. Take responsibility for your words. Take responsibility for your actions. Then show up from a place of Care, Value and Service and provide real life concrete proof that you are who you say you are.
Be consistently persistent in taking action over a long period of time. Invest in your personal and business relationships. Be that slow steady drip of a drop of water.