Contributed by Jay Clouse 
Unreal Collective | Columbus, OH

I receive Jay’s daily email. We were in altMBA12 together. There’s been a connection since we first met this summer. Today’s post was perfect and articulates perfectly how I have approached networking. I hope you enjoy this guest post from a fellow Seth Godin fan.

Originally Shared via Jay’s Blog

As you are probably already aware, I’m a big Seth Godin fan.

Seth Godin thinks differently about marketing than most marketing gurus – and I love it. Recently I watched a video where he described permission marketing.

Every time you engage with someone, you are either making yourself more irreplaceable (and justifying why paying attention to you is worth it) or you are taking a valuable resource: someone’s attention.

Attention is precious. It’s not refundable and it’s always limited.

Godin is describing modern marketing and communication – email lists, social media, advertising, etc. His point here is that a specific message needs to be adding value, or you are wasting your time.

His expanded viewpoint on this topic is that most modern marketers are focused on short term wins for their company/organization/cause and not putting emphasis on the receiver of the message.

And his thesis is that this selfish form of marketing will come back to bite us, making attention an even more difficult and valuable asset to command.

So to him, the time is now to focus on “permission marketing” – marketing that is done by gaining permission from the receiver of the message. Every time you then engage with your audience, you are making yourself more irreplaceable and proving your value.

Would people miss you (or your message) if it was gone?

That’s how I approach this newsletter, and that’s how I’ve implicitly approached “networking” as well. Networking for networking sake (i.e. “collecting” contacts) is not providing value. It is not demonstrating why you are worthwhile of attention.

Instead, relentlessly provide value to someone you’re trying to get close to. Connect them to someone else, send them some piece of information you think is valuable to them, or invite them to an event they could benefit from.

When the expectation of your message (or presence) is positive, new worlds open up.

Read more about Jay here

It is unimaginable to consider someone running an extra mile after completing a marathon. But could you imagine the news coverage? Even if he didn’t do it for that, it would be worth talking about:

Dave Jones, after completing the NYC Marathon, continues running for an extra mile. When asked why, his response was, ‘I figured I’d be the only one crazy enough to want to keep going. I just wanted to see what if felt like.’

There’s a group of people I am connected to. We are called the ruckus makers. We’re students of Seth Godin’s altMBA and we do crazy things.

  • We write blog posts daily.
  • We search for answers to unanswerable questions.
  • We look for ways to make things better.
  • We don’t follow the herd.
  • We dance with fear.
  • We stand up to injustice.
  • We disrupt the marketplace, for the greater good.

We aren’t the only ones doing this, but we’re the ones to took the leap to sign up for 4 weeks of sprinting to dig deeper into our projects and begin shipping better, faster. 

I believe the extra mile isn’t as crazy as it seems. It’s just something most people are not willing to do, because there’s no one leading. People need leaders worth following, and unless there’s someone leading in the extra mile, no one will be going there. There’s no precedence, no reason.

We can all just get along in the world everyone else is living in. And we’ll be just fine.

But for anyone who has ever decided to make a ruckus; anyone who wanted to explore uncharted territory; anyone who believed the status quo wasn’t enough for them, and wanted more.

You know one thing —we won’t likely change anything doing what has always been done and we definitely won’t change anything by standing in the middle of the masses with cattle prods trying to convince them that they are wrong for believing what they believe.

The only way to change the way people think is to go beyond what they believe and show them a different way. Prove that there’s something along the road less travelled. To want change isn’t enough, it’s up to us to illustrate that there’s something better. To do the hard work, the lonely work, the unsupported, difficult work of paving a new way.

And this is exactly why it’s so quiet along the extra mile. The trick is — you’re not alone. The trick is finding the others who want to go the extra mile.

And, when we find enough of us, we’ll change the culture, we’ll make the difference. We’ll stop settling.