There are many reasons why entrepreneurial ecosystems like Silicon Valley and others thrive while others don’t. One of those reasons is the act of paying it forward. The health and progress of every entrepreneurial ecosystem in the world lives and dies by the ability of its diverse network of people and groups to share with each other; this includes knowledge and contacts.
One of my pet peeves with the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Mexico is how people, from all generations, protect their knowledge and contacts. They don’t understand, and care, that they a blocking progress by doing so. Personally, I don’t have a huge network but I share the one I have when I can; I don’t protect it. I want to be an enabler by opening doors, not a blocker. As an entrepreneur this is critical, because everything happens through relationships; your own or someone else.
One of the biggest mistakes I made when I was starting out is not asking for help, I’ve since learned this lesson and have made it a mission to help others using my network. With that said, I’ve mentioned before that one of my pet peeves is follow-through; I have very low tolerance for someones lack of it. I quickly stop trusting someone when they don’t follow-up on a promise; for me it’s both an accountability thing and an influence thing.
Let me explain…
People miss opportunities to influence all the time, specifically because they’re thinking about themselves first. Influence begins with trust. How do you gain trust?
Many ways. One of them is by keeping your promises.
Most promises people make to each other are verbal. But influence doesn’t happen until you take action on that promise. For example, how many people have you met that made a promise to you and never followed up?
It happens everyday; and you probably do it just as much.
I can honestly say I’m not one of those people. I don’t play politics; I’m very straightforward and to the point. For me it’s about making the most of our time, not wasting it for you and me. So, when I tell you I’m going to introduce you to someone, I’ll do it. I won’t say it just to play nice and win you over; which is what most people do. Most of the time people just say nice things because they want to be liked, playing the social game like everyone else; but it’s false.
This game is an opportunity for you, because you don’t have to be that person everyone expects to meet. Be the one who keeps their promises, gains trust and influence. It’s a simple act that may pay dividends to someone else. You’ll be surprised how good you’ll feel.
Bottom line: Don’t be that person that promises to open doors and doesn’t follow through. You’re missing an opportunity to influence beyond the present moment; pay it forward.