In a busy and complex world professional, successful adults develop necessary and appropriate coping strategies to keep up, to organize and to manage their home and work lives.
Simpler: in a busy world, people do what they can to simplify. There’s too much going on to do anything but aggregate and compartmentalize. It’s tough to be productive if we can’t put things in the boxes in which (we believe) they belong.
And this is the crux of a challenge I have faced in the first two years of building my business. As I have reached out to affiliate with organizations in whose work I believe and to which I believe I could make a meaningful contribution I have discovered that “declaring my intent” (Stephen M.R. Covey – The Speed of Trust) in a clear and redundant way is the only way to be sure that I am understood and utilized in ways that match our collective aspirations.
Simpler: to get what I want in support of what they want I need to declare my intent more effectively and in the spirit of sincere and mutual benefit.
In two concrete instances I made it very clear that “this is what I want to do.” Though I didn’t recite a list of things that I didn’t want to do those things were assumed because it was easier – understandably – to categorize me as the guy who wants to do “X.” (In my case, “X” stands for speaking and teaching).
The incorrect assumption I made is that those on the other side of the relationship would play a game of connect the dots that I could have and should have played for them. Had I stated my intent in terms of my ultimate goal and even in the frame of a question: “I am most passionate about speaking. Eventually I would like to be a go-to presenter for you. What steps could we take to get to that point?”
The mistake of my assumption was that busy people would fill in the blanks between point “A” and point “B.” Not surprisingly, without the benefit of a shared map, little to no work came to me from these organizations. In one case, the relationship has ended, in the other there remains a meaningful opportunity to get it to the right place.
If I am going to fulfill my aspiration I have to be my own best advocate. If I am to be a trusted partner I have to also advocate for the aspirations of those with whom I wish to affiliate.
Simpler: make it easy to see the path. Connect the dots.