Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, puts out a daily email she calls, “Moment of Happiness.” It is simply an inspirational quotation related to happiness and I look forward to this little affirmation each day. Today’s quotation made me smile with the recognition that the CLC community could really benefit from its implications:
“Habit simplifies our movements, makes them accurate, and diminishes fatigue.”
Indeed! I often remark that once I hit my networking groove, I found it more difficult to curtail my relationship building efforts than to keep on going. Once I achieved a certain pace with networking – whether fifteen meetings per week in the early years or five to ten meetings in a week now that my schedule is a bit more complicated – it becomes, dare I say it, HABIT!
I wouldn’t have always said this, but now, networking is a daily part of my life. I am very comfortable with it. I look forward to it. And, the good news is that I garner energy from my networking interactions. Just like smiling and exercise, for me, networking boosts my endorphins and makes me happier.
So, how long might it take to make networking a habit? Well, I did extensive research (i.e. I Googled it) on the topic. The results were mixed. Some said habits can form in as few as 21 days… others said a month… another study said it takes a full 66 days to form a habit. Hmmm… no idea where any of these numbers come from, but I like the idea of consecutive experiences, doing something repetitively to get comfortable with it to the point that it is just a common part of everyday life. Obviously, forming a habit will vary person to person and commitment level to commitment level.
Personally, I am in the habit of blogging. Many people interested in starting blogs of their own have asked me how to get started. I always suggest two things: Print off a blank month-long calendar and fill in each day with a topic, then, using that calendar o’ topics, commit to blogging every day for at least 30 consecutive days. That’s how I got started and it stuck!
When I started networking, I structured my days around three key meetings: One in the morning (Coffee), one at midday (Lunch) and one in the afternoon (Coffee, again). I committed to it, stuck with it and suddenly… I boasted a killer network that was the envy of others! I guess, if you believe the 66 day assumption, networking became my habit in an accelerated fashion – 22 days to be exact… 22 days x 3 meetings/day = 66 habit forming meetings! Oh, and 22 is pretty close to that 21 day bit of research, right?
Forget the numbers. What will it take to get YOU in the habit of identifying connections or potential connections, setting up time to visit with them and continuing to cultivate your relationship base? Start with one… build from there. Go on… it will help to simplify your life, improve your accuracy on a number of topics and diminish your fatigue with tons of newfound energy!