Theme 10: Networks & Communities
Unlock opportunities through authentic relationships.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Why is this theme important?
Seek out authentic relationships with people you respect and whose values are aligned with your own. Your next opportunity will likely come in the form of a person.
Take stock in your current (and new) Tribe.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” —Jim Rohn
Who are the people you spend the most time with?
Does the average of those five people equate to the type of person you want to be? Does that represent the type of person you need to become in order to stage a successful transition into something new?
If you’re constantly surrounded by people who have no ambitions to escape “the city,” or worse, who want to leave but have long given up, you’ll forever feel crazy in your desire to do something different. You’ll never have the support network needed to make a big move.
This is why your new Escape Tribe is so important. You’re now surrounded by a whole new group of people who believe what you believe – life is too short to do work that doesn’t matter to you.
You may even feel that you can talk to your fellow Tribe (people you’ve only known for weeks) in ways you would not with some of your longest friends and colleagues. In this phase of your journey, these are your people.
This is a glorious new asset for you. Not only will it help make you more confident to move forward — you’ll also find that some of the answers to your many questions are sitting inside this Tribe.
Understand the strength of weak ties.
For his Ph.D. thesis research in the 1960s, Mark Granovetter began interviewing people who had recently changed jobs to learn how they found the new opportunities. He found that most people learned about a new job or opportunity through personal contacts, which is not very surprising. The unexpected finding was in the type of people. Most people found their new jobs not through close friends or family, but via lesser known acquaintances.
Granovetter called this principle “the strength of weak ties” which essentially means that “it is the people with whom we are the least connected who offer us the most opportunities.” (Dalton Conley)
While your closest friends, family and colleagues may be eager to help you find a new opportunity, it’s more probable that your acquaintances or “weak ties” will be the ones who will help you actually find it.
Here’s the good news: you’ve now entered a fresh new community of weak ties. Each of your fellow Tribe members represents a new network and a whole new bed of potential opportunities. Your next opportunity will likely come from a weak tie, and you’ve just gained 49 brand new ones (not including all of us on the Escape team!).
Networking has become a dirty word. Fake smiles, schmoozing, haphazardly passing out of business cards, and an ingenuine exchange of “what do you do?” (and the between-the-lines “and what can you do for me?”).
We’re not big fans of networking. What we are fans of is genuine connection with interesting people and helping them pursue projects they care about. The best “networkers” we meet self-admittedly also hate “networking.” What they enjoy instead is forging authentic relationships with people they admire and being genuinely helpful to those people.
Steven D’Souza, Escape School speaker and author of ‘Brilliant Networking’, believes that we’re due for a mindset shift on what networking actually is:
“It’s a process of being true to your own values, beliefs and character while building and nurturing reciprocal relationships that assist people in achieving their goals.”
That’s it. True networking is about making friends, being genuinely helpful and generous. This ties into the give-first mentality discussed in Theme #5 – Option Generation.
When practiced genuinely, it can open up new opportunities for you. The best networkers know what Zig Ziglar knew:
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
Remember: you may be the missing “weak tie” for one of your fellow Tribers. We’re all on the same team. Let’s help each other.
Hold others (and yourself) accountable.
If Open Mics are the keys to help us unlock our own authenticity and help us get closer to who we are, Accountability is the holy grail that ensures we pursue what we want and helps instruct us on how we go about achieving those things.
The truth is that traversing a new and unknown path is a lonely journey. It’s easy to think you can go at it alone and you can move quickly. But as the African proverb says: “If you want to go far, go together.”
Accountability is the key to achieving our personal goals. Accountability is the reason Tribes exist in the first place. Take advantage of that fact that there are 50 of you. And while you’re not necessarily going to the same place, you do have a shared mission.
There will be many opportunities in the Tribe to stand up and tell us all what you’re working on, the progress you’ve made so far, what your next step is, and how we can help you. Your smaller accountability groups will become especially important as you start to focus on mini projects, conduct escape experiments, and begin test-driving new options for yourself.
Use these opportunities. We can only help you as far as you let us know what you need help with. We can only help you get to where you want to go, so let us know where you’re heading and tell us where you need help.
Together we can, and will, go far.
- Map the communities and relationships that currently define your life.
- Understand the power of authentic relationships and how to cultivate them.
- Learn how your network (and your network’s network) can lead to amazing new opportunities.
- Seek out new friends and new Tribes in new areas of life aligned to your values and interests.
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