“It’s not what you know, but WHO you know.”
But who do you really know? How do you get to know them?
And how do you know they’re even the people you need to know?
From the, You’ve Got Questions—We’ll Get You Answers Department, here’s a closer look.
WHO DO YOU KNOW?
[ Note: If you and I are connected on Facebook, there’s a good chance you’ve seen some of this already. This is a Facebook comment that turned into one of my work-life parallel dailies that—the more I thought about it—deserved a deeper dive for the gearheads united. ]
A bunch of Mitsubishi owners were discussing the new North American CEO, Fred Diaz, this week. We speculated on product development, model lineups, and technology, but one guy asked the best question.
Someone replied “Who do you know…?” Which is a solid answer, if not thin on detail.
We’ve all heard it 100 times before—It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know.
But who SHOULD you know?
WHY should THEY know YOU?
And why would they WANT to help you?
Here’s a hint: If you’ve ever had gearheads over to help work on your vehicle—or gone to help other gearheads work on theirs, you already know the answers to those questions. I’m just going into detail about it here today because, well, it deserves more credit.
My reply to the question was:
You invest in yourself and your professional network. Find a niche, dive deep, become an expert, help people solve big problems, don’t be an asshole, figure out how to be smart with your money, abide.
It’s called work-life parallel.
That work-life balance shit you’ve been sold is a ruse designed to keep you from using all your time to move your entire life closer to some kind of commercial benefit.
People in these roles? They aren’t punching time clocks. They’re ALWAYS on the clock. They LIVE for the WORK because it MATTERS to them.
By the way, I’m not suggesting all C-level execs out there are altruists working toward the greater good, but they got where they are by solving problems with deep knowledge and networks.
Once you’ve flipped that switch, there is no going back.
INVEST IN YOURSELF
This has work-life parallel written all over it.
When I say, “Find a niche, dive deep, become and expert, help people solve big problems, don’t be an asshole, figure out how to be smart with your money, abide,” I’m talking about figuring out what you like doing, getting really good at it, and using your powers for good—because that’s the best way to get on other good peoples’ radars.
Find a niche, dive deep, become an expert, help people solve big problems.
Sure, you like fast cars, tough trucks, or something like that. But why? Is it finding the project vehicle? Planning the build? Rallying the troops for a wrenchfest to get shit done?
Do the “5 Whys” exercise. Ask yourself why you like playing with cars. Whatever the answer, ask yourself why. And when you answer THAT question, ask yourself why again. Keep going. It sounds ridiculous, but it works.
Whatever it is you find you most enjoy, dive deep into that subject. Do you really enjoy electrical and wiring stuff? Comparing turbo compressor maps? Fuel system optimization? Study up! It should be easy, since it’s all interesting.
You’ll become the expert, the go-to, the first person people think about when they have a big problem. It might not be a big problem for you, and if it is, you’re likely to find it a particularly interesting, if not fun, project. You want to be known as a problem solver.
Don’t be an asshole.
This is just karma—The Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Opportunities arrive through all kinds of channels. Don’t risk missing out on something awesome because you were an asshole. The more people in the world who had a positive experience with you, the better your chances of scoring big.
So yeah. Don’t be an asshole.
Figure out how to be smart with your money.
The love of money is the root of all evil, but we all need money—even those off-the-grid, overlanding types. (Have you priced “overlanding” gear lately? Damn.) Figure out how to be smart with your money so you have money available to scoop up opportunities.
You could be the first person to show up with cash and snag a barn find. You could accept that last minute invite to the big industry conference to hang out in the booth. You could pop for some fresh threads before that interview with the amazing company you never thought would actually call you back.
And, as someone who’s filed bankruptcy and lived paycheck-to-paycheck for a long damn time, I’m telling you right now, it’s a lot easier to spot—and pursue—opportunities when you’re not constantly worried about the bills situation.
(Besides, you’re not going to be a CEO if you can’t manage your own checking account.)
The Dude abides. So should you.
Don’t rush things. Don’t hold out for perfection, but don’t feel like you have to succeed overnight.
Take advantage of the slow, downtimes. Use them for study, research, exploration. That’s where you’ll discover the next big idea. That’s where lightning strikes and your whole world changes.
C-suite executives—those worth their salt, anyway—are not punching time clocks. They’re always on. And you know why? Because they love what they do. It’s hard work, but it matters to them. It’s important. It’s worth their time.
You’ll know you’re on the right track when things start picking up. You’ll find you’re doing more of the stuff that matters. More people will be engaging with it. You’ll look around and think, “Damn. I have never been so busy. This is really starting to take off.”
So enjoy where you are right now. You’ll never be here again.
INVEST IN YOUR NETWORK
I’ve been thinking about starting a private group on LinkedIn for next level gearheads who get this and want to do more with it. This seems like a good time to make that happen. If you’d like to join us, comment with a link to your LinkedIn profile so I can invite you.