I am a connector.

Connecting is a bit different than being a networker.

Connectors build relationships with others out of choice which ultimately serves as the foundation of a powerful and profitable network.

And, you’ve got to build a powerful and profitable network before you need it so that when you need it, it’s there. (You’ve heard about The Bank of Authentic Connection before if you’ve read my book Connection: The New Currency.)

Since my business opened eight years ago, it has grown in leaps and bounds (despite what people say about the economy), and I travel to different cities for speaking or coaching engagements several times a month.

Because I don’t get to many face-to-face networking events anymore due to my travels, I build my network online and through my speaking engagements.

Interestingly, whether online or offline, if I had to speculate what the most common question asked was when making a connection, “What do you do?” would be at the top the list.

One of the greatest connectors I’ve ever met was my grandfather, although his answer to “What do you do?” wouldn’t reveal that to you. (I don’t meet many butchers or bartenders when I’m networking and my grandfather worked for many years in both professions.) He had an incredible ability to connect across generations and social circles, effectively building relationships wherever he went.

It always amazed me how he brought his network together to collectively share in the best of each person’s talents, skills and abilities. (And, something I believe that I do today.)

Because of my grandfather’s involvement in dozens of fraternal organizations and his extensive network, my sister and I enjoyed participating in countless Easter egg hunts every Spring.

My grandparents would take us from place to place with our multi-colored straw baskets that each had a big bow tied to the handle on our annual quest to win the big prize – the giant chocolate Easter bunny.

Looking back, I realized that this ritual was a rite of passage for me, as I transitioned from childhood to young adulthood.

I also realize that there is a parallel to the life lessons I received from my grandfather with regards to how to be a connector, build relationships, and grow a strong network – and win the big prize

As a child, my grandfather’s network made it possible for me to win the prize that was most important in my life at the time.

Today, my own network opens doors of incredible opportunity for me so that I can live out my life’s passion and teach individuals how to create strong networks that willingly open doors of possibility on their own leadership journey.

With a clear leadership vision and purpose, the big prize in life is found on the journey, where joy, success and meaning are found along the way.

The Upside Challenge for this week is to identify what big prize you want to win within the next 90 days. (What is the giant chocolate Easter bunny in your personal and professional life?)

Today is April 1st, the 1st day of the 2nd quarter in 2013, and I challenge you to identify what you want and understand its purpose before you put your plan in motion.

As for me, I’m in the process of creating a new leadership event, and rolling out a new program to work with me. Message me if you want the details first!

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely. Lead Upside. àIf you do this, I guarantee you’ll win the prize every time!

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