Why The Hesitation?

Last week I had an interesting conversation with a man we’ll call Tim. Tim is on the young side, but mature well beyond his years. He understands more about bringing value to the table and not wasting people’s time, or any time for that matter, than many people twice his age.

Tim’s struggle is that he is a bit on the shy side. He finds himself avoiding making key connections in his job search. There is a hesitation when it comes to approaching individuals he views to be important in the networking process. He knows he’s sharp and is good at his craft. Still, the reservations are there when it comes to putting himself in a better position to be noticed by those in pivotal roles.

The hesitation Tim feels doesn’t stem from him being insecure of his abilities. To the contrary, he’s confident he is able to live up to the expectations an employer would have of him. Tim’s problem is more basic and, fortunately for him, easier to solve. What keeps Tim from tapping on that person’s shoulder is an innate awareness he has no idea of how to offer value to that person in exchange for what he would like to ask of them. Hallelujah! Boy, how I wish more people could hear that inner voice warning them against jumping head first into Lake Me Me Me. Tim wants to establish relationships with people who would benefit him, but is hesitant to make the attempt without an idea of how to be sure the exchange of value isn’t one sided.

So how do you solve something like this? Logically there are some people in life we want to reach out to who have much more to give us than we could ever give in return. Does that make them off limits? Nope, not at all. Tim’s mistake is feeling he needs to be able to bring value to the person instantly in order to make that connection. That’s not always possible. Being aware of wanting the relationship to be beneficial for the other party goes a long way though. That awareness will help Tim continue to look for ways to reciprocate. Reciprocity doesn’t mean Tim has to be able to give back exactly what was given to him either. Tim needs connections for a job. What does the other person need? The best way to find out is to ask questions. What are they trying to accomplish at the moment? Where are they hoping to get the word out about their services? What groups would they appreciate introductions to?

If job seekers are making a conscious effort to ask others how they may be able to help them in return, it’s going to add value to that relationship even if the other individual doesn’t particularly need anything at the moment. Having the thought to ask, taking the care to show you realize you are taking and would like to give back, is something often overlooked in the networking process. Bare minimum what you can give that other person is a thank you. Time and good questions will tell what more you can do. In the meantime, don’t postpone building relationships in order to avoid coming off needy. Simply do what you can to make good use of the help you are given and work hard to look for ways to pay it back or pay it forward.

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