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Why Your Networking Isn’t Working


The idea of joining networking groups always has so much promise initially.

But then people often get frustrated because they go to these events and they seem to get no business out of them.

Yet others swear by the power of networking and even stake their entire business on it.

How is it that two people can experience the same thing and have diametrically opposed views on the value of it?

It’s because one likely understands the secret of networking and one doesn’t.

What’s the secret to networking?

Simple: build relationships before you need them.

Networking works when you go to focus on building relationships with people.

Networking works when you focus on giving value to other people.

Networking works when you focus on helping others before you attempt to be helped yourself.

Which is why networking is sometimes hard.

Because it takes patience.

It takes time.

It requires selflessness.

It calls for a long term service minded approach to doing business.

If you’re going to networking meetings thinking only of how you’re going to benefit yourself as fast as possible, then you might as well not go because it isn’t going to work.

It’s not because the group is bad; it’s because your strategy is bad.

Really networking has less to do with the group and more to do with your approach to the group.

The two biggest mistakes to make are to:

1. Try to immediately sell to the people there
2. Try to immediately get referrals from the people there

And unfortunately those are probably the two most common approaches people take to those events.

Did you really think they came to the meeting just hoping for someone to come along who would sell something to them?

And why would an absolute stranger be focused on helping you?

Or why would someone you barely know suddenly be willing to introduce you to all the people they’ve spent years of their life building relationships with?

They wouldn’t.

And so they don’t.

That doesn’t mean networking doesn’t work.

It means that networking strategy doesn’t work.

In fact, that strategy isn’t networking.

Attempting to sell to someone you just met is fine (at Southwestern Consulting we love it!), but it’s not networking.

Networking is about first spending time helping others before they help you.

Networking is about giving to others before they get to give to you.

Most of all, networking is about building the relationships long before you ever need them.

Impact Theory and Rising Above Limiting Beliefs with Tom Bilyeu – Episode 198 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Impact Theory

Tom Bilyeu is the co-founder of 2014 Inc. 500 company Quest Nutrition — a unicorn startup valued at over $1 billion — and the co-founder and host of Impact Theory. Tom’s mission is the creation of empowering media-based IP and the acceleration of mission-based businesses. Personally driven to help people develop the skills they will need to improve themselves and the world, Tom is intent to use commerce to address the dual pandemics of physical and mental malnourishment. Tom is a forever student of life. His obsession with mastering skills has molded him into a well-rounded leader, battle-hardened and unafraid to fire moonshots.

Show Highlights:

If you’re willing to do the hard work to execute your vision there is little that is off limits. @TomBilyeu

Social media isn’t a distraction, but a powerful tool to build community. @TomBilyeu

Nobody will act for the many but people will act for the one. @TomBilyeu

Very often our why is connected to a “who.” @rory_vaden

When you have a team willing to dream big and do what needs to be done to execute on a massive dream, that’s when things start to happen. @TomBilyeu

The only difference between you and someone else is your mindset.  @TomBilyeu

No matter what you do with your life, be great at it. @TomBilyeu

One of the most beautiful things about being a human is that you can learn anything. @TomBilyeu

There is a huge difference between having potential and executing that potential. @TomBilyeu

Stop labeling others as extraordinary as a way of letting yourself off the hook. @TomBilyeu

It is our mind that sets the boundaries of what is possible for our lives. @rory_vaden

Part of the way to silence disbelief is to affirm positive belief. @rory_vaden

Don’t allow yourself the indulgence of convincing yourself that others have something you don’t have. @rory_vaden

Obstacles ignite creativity. @rory_vaden

Belief barriers are the byproduct of the way we are currently doing things. @rory_vaden


The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

The Magic Truth of Overcoming Call Reluctance and the Fear of Selling


Being in sales can be tough.

On any given day, you deal with objections, rejections, and typically some level of self-doubt wondering if you have what it takes to ultimately be successful.

There is a pressure to produce that can sometimes be debilitating and discouraging.

When we think about what it takes to sell someone, we can get overwhelmed and paralyzed with fear.

This fear to a salesperson is commonly known as call reluctance.

But there is only one time when you feel fear, and that is when you are thinking about yourself.

Fear is so self-centered.

It comes up when you’re worried about if you’ll say the right things, if you’ll do the right things, and if you’ll make enough sales.

Fear shows up when it’s all about you.

But there is one magic strategy to eliminating fear, call reluctance and creative avoidance when it comes to selling.

It’s to shift the focus off of yourself and to instead be focused on the people you’re trying to help.

Or as Southwestern taught me years ago…

 “It’s hard to be nervous when your hearts on service.” 

It’s hard to be scared when we’re thinking only of helping people.

It’s hard to have fear when we’re focused on being selfless.

We don’t feel the fear because we’re not focused on how we’re feeling; we’re only focused on who we’re helping.

It’s hard to be nervous when your hearts on service.

This is something that we, at Southwestern Consulting, refer to as “Servant Selling.”

It’s a completely different and counterculture way to think about selling.

Because you’re thinking as much or more about serving as you are about selling.

It shifts your focus away from all the pressure that sometimes shows up when we think about selling to people, persuading people and influencing people.

And we instead additionally focus on helping, educating, and serving.

And that makes a difference because in any given sales presentation…

You may or may not make a sale; but you can always make someone’s day. 

You can always concentrate on making people smile.

You can always concentrate on brightening up someone’s day.

You can always focus on serving and not just focus on selling.

It’s Servant Selling.

If you’re struggling with call reluctance, fear, or creative avoidance then perhaps it’s because you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to sell, persuade, and influence.

If that’s the case then don’t think about it that way.

Instead think of yourself as a “Social Ambassador who is also fulfilling people’s needs”

Think of yourself as a perpetuator of happiness who is also solving people’s problems .

Think of yourself not only as a salesperson but also as a servant.

Because it’s hard to be nervous when your hearts on service.

How to Break Free From the Addiction of Distraction


Priority Dilution is the new procrastination.

Priority Dilution is fascinating because it affects the chronic overachievers, the do-gooders, the check-listers, the task-masters, the movers and shakers, and all the people you wouldn’t normally think to be procrastinators.

It’s unlike regular procrastination in that it has nothing to do with being lazy or apathetic or disengaged.

But it is the same net result as a classic procrastination in that we leave the office at the end of the day with our most significant priorities left incomplete because we’ve allowed our attention to shift to less important but perhaps more seemingly urgent tasks.

This person’s life is characterized as a constant state of interruption.

Why do we do that?

Why do we allow ourselves to get distracted?

Why do we allow ourselves to get interrupted?

Why do we put off the things that are significant and that will matter in the long term for things that are more short term?

Is it because we’re somehow inept or not smart enough or not motivated enough?


But there may be more to it than that…

As we’ve learned more about the neuroscience of the brain we now know that the brain sends signals telling our body how to operate through the release of predominately only a handful of chemicals.

One of those chemicals, the pleasure releasing drug, is called dopamine.

Under brain scan we suspect that dopamine is released whenever a task is completed, an email is deleted, or something is crossed off our to-do list.

Which means that we get a little “hit” of dopamine making us “feel” good.

We “feel” successful.

We “feel” productive.

Which explains why you may have at some point completed a task that wasn’t on your to-do list, but you then added it to your to-do list just so you could cross it off!

(In some ways not too dissimilar from the illogical behavior exhibited by anyone who becomes addicted to a foreign substance that gives them a dopamine release.)

But in this way, the neuroscience of our brain is working against us.

Because it’s leading us to be focused on completing the largest volume of tasks – each time we do making us “feel” good or productive.

But ultra-performers know that success is no longer related to the volume of the tasks you complete; but rather to the significance of them.

In other words, it doesn’t matter that we got ten things done if they are all trivial compared to the one most significant thing that we needed to get done.

The world’s most productive people would intentionally choose to get the one significant things done instead of the ten small things.

How do you measure significance?

That is the subject of our book Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Time (free 1 hr training here). The essence of which is spending time on things today that produce more time or results tomorrow.

But your brain – in a weird way – is working against you because, left to its own devices, it’s going to pull you in the direction of completing the most number of tasks rather than completing the few significant ones.

In essence making you susceptible to perpetual Priority Dilution.

So how do we change that?

Through a simple 3 step process:

1. Consciousness – Being made aware of the dynamic goes a long way in helping you to move in the right direction.

2. Discipline – You decide you’re going to operate a different way and you intentionally start to make different choices than you made yesterday.

3. Accountability – You create structures around yourself that help reinforce this new way of thinking. This is why Southwestern Consulting predominantly focuses on coaching; we believe working with someone 1-on-1 over an extended period of time is the best way to actually create sustainable behavioral change. Exploring the idea of getting your own coach is a great way to do that (request a free call).


At the end of the day you have to realize that your brain isn’t programmed for success; your brain is programmed for survival.

You are naturally designed in a way for survival first.

Survival means to conserve energy.

Survival means to do what is easiest.

Survival tends to push us to do what feels good in the short term.

But you were also designed in a way to have the power of choice.

And the power of choice gives you the chance to opt for success instead of survival.

You can overwrite the original program.

You can program yourself for success.

Success means expending energy to learn and execute a better way.

Success means to take the path less traveled by.

Success means to make disciplined choices now knowing that they create greater benefits later on.

So in that way you aren’t just programmed for survival.

You can program yourself for success instead.

You can program yourself for greatness.

You can decide to have a different life.

11 Servant Selling Philosophies – Episode 197 of The Action Catalyst Podcast


By being the pioneers of Servant Selling, Southwestern Consulting is also challenging everyone within our company to live up to a new standard. In this week’s episode of the Action Catalyst Podcast, Rory shares the 11 philosophies that Servant Sellers believe.

It’s hard to be nervous when your heart’s on service. @rory_vaden

Winning a person’s trust is more important than making the sale. If you earn someone’s trust you will eventually make the sale. @rory_vaden

You can put your client’s needs first and still come out ahead in the long run. @rory_vaden

By letting people know it’s okay to say “no” you also enable them to feel comfortable enough to say “yes”. @rory_vaden

Speak their language, not yours. Sell the way they like to buy; not the way you like to sell. @rory_vaden

When it comes to “closing” a big part of what makes selling a service is that people need help making decisions. @rory_vaden

It’s a disservice to allow people to remain undecided. @rory_vaden

You make it easier for people to buy when you show them that you are doing business with friends, or friends of friends. @rory_vaden

When you exceed your current client’s expectations they will ultimately become the source of new business. @rory_vaden

Our job isn’t to talk people into things they don’t want. Our job is to bend over backwards to help people figure out what is best for them. @rory_vaden

You always get paid for how hard you work. Sometimes now, often times later but always eventually. @rory_vaden


The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

One Devastating Mistake A Leader Should Never Make


If you’re going to become a great leader there is one thing you must never do.

There is one behavior you must immediately extinguish.

There is one habit that you must permanently eradicate.

You cannot talk negatively about other people in their absence to subordinates.


Gossip in general is a very destructive dynamic. But when the leader does it, it can be absolutely devastating.


Because leadership is about building people.

Leadership is about helping to lift people up.

Leadership is about raising people to be better than they were before.

So it’s the leader who is supposed to be the one who believes in the people.

And if I, as the leader, ever share negative feedback or criticism with anyone who isn’t a superior then I am chipping away at that foundation of trust and the fabric that binds the entire team.

Because I’m perpetuating the possibility that leadership doesn’t believe in the people that are here.

And that hurts everyone.

As the leader I may sometimes need help navigating my way through challenging circumstances with the people in my care.

That is fine. But that support should come me from my colleagues or my superiors.

As the leader I may even need to vent or complain a bit about the difficulty I’m having helping other people perform.

That is even fine. But that support must come from my superiors.

In Southwestern, we refer to this rule as “puking up.”

If you have to, you always “puke up.”

You complain “up.”

You get discouraged “up.”

You get frustrated “up.”

But you never puke down.

And you never puke sideways.

You never pollute the thinking of people who aren’t in a place where they can do anything about it.

You never plant a seed of doubt into other team member’s minds about someone else who is on the team.

You never talk poorly (even suggestively) about anyone in the organization to someone that isn’t your superior.

And you never ever talk poorly about another leader to younger team members.

If you’re a team member you talk to a leader.

If you’re a leader you talk to an executive.

If you’re an executive you talk to the CEO.

If you’re the CEO, I guess you talk to God.

But this isn’t about being fake, or pretending, or not being genuine with people who may technically be your friends.

This is just about preserving the integrity and structure of the whole organization for the benefit of everyone.

It’s about permanently cementing the binding force that holds everything and everyone together: belief.

People need to believe.

Subordinates need to believe.

Colleagues need to believe.

The leaders need to believe.

You need to believe.

Every person on the team needs to believe if it’s going to ever be possible for the group to become a championship team.

And that starts by supporting one another by having their back when they’re not around.

It starts with making sure the leaders are building people up and not tearing them down.

Sometimes it starts with what we just need to immediately stop doing.