531: Contacting CEOs and Busy People Made Easy (For People Who Hate Networking)

How do you get in touch with people who are incredibly busy and may hold the keys to your ideal career? More than just getting them to respond, how do you get them to be excited to take your call, return your email, or build a relationship with you?



Darrah Brustein, Entrepreneur, Author, Coach

Darrah is the founder of Network under 40, Equitable Payments, Financial Whiz Kids, and also contributes regularly to Forbes.

on this episode

I get hundreds of emails each day. So much so that I use 3 different systems plus a person on my team to filter them all.

This is true for many executives, managers and other people you might want to get to know and build a relationship with. They have a lot going on and coming at them.

So how do you get in touch with people who are incredibly busy that may hold the keys to getting hired at a company you’re excited about, or might be a great mentor for you, or other people you want to get to know to be able to learn from?

More than just getting them to respond, how do you get them to be excited to take your call, return your email, or build a relationship with you?

This is a question I’ve been asked thousands of times so I wanted to bring someone on the podcast to help break down exactly how to do this. I asked Darrah Brustein, founder of Network under 40, Equitable Payments, and Financial Whiz Kids who also contributes regularly to Forbes to come on and share her experience on building relationships with busy people!

What you’ll learn

  • How to find the “right people” to network with and stand out in your reachouts
  • How to influence leaders and other busy people to want to help you
  • How to ask for what you want when networking with busy people (and avoid being presumptuous)

Success Stories

My favorite part of the career change boot camp was actually having some of those conversations and getting feedback and positive feedback about strengths. And to me that was key, because in that moment, I realized that my network not only is a great for finding the next role, it also is helpful to… they help you remind you who you are and who you will be in your next role, even if the current circumstances are not ideal.

Elizabeth , Digital Marketing Analytics Strategist, United States/Canada

I would definitely say that I could not have put all the pieces together. The tools and techniques were important, but maybe more so than that, the mindset and the confidence. So I really, really needed that extra input and confidence boost and reassurance that I had a lot of strength and a lot to offer in the future. And I was feeling so rough because I was in a bad fit, stuck situation. Even though we all also recognized that situation wasn't inherently terrible. I would recommend, if you're starting to have that feeling like, either I'm crazy, or the situation, you know, is not that this bad, then I think that's a cue to reach out and get some, some guidance and a community of people that are struggling with the same things. And then suddenly, you'll feel that you're not crazy, after all, and it's just a tough life, situation and challenge, but you'll be able to get through it with that support, and accountability and confidence boost.

Jenny -, Research Scientist/Assistant Dean, United States/Canada

Darrah Brustein 00:01

You already have a network no matter where you're beginning, and people often underestimate that.

Introduction 00:11

This is the Happen To Your Career podcast with Scott Anthony Barlow. We hope you stop doing work that doesn't fit you. Figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that is unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you feel like you were meant for more, and you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:36

As people find the Happen To Your Career podcast and begin exploring what an ideal career could be for them, they tend to ask questions, understandably so. And a bunch of those questions sometimes are all about reaching people and building relationships, or often what they refer to is "networking" in new industries, new areas, and new careers. These questions usually go something like "How do I reach out to CEOs or managers or other busy people?", "Are they going to think I'm a pest if I reach out to them? Am I bothering them? How do I get them to want to talk to me in the first place? How do I convince them that I'm worth their time?" Well, I understand the reasoning behind these questions. And I want to give you a different way to think about it because we've been teaching this and how to do this for many years. But because we get these questions so often, we wanted to bring on another person who has a lot of expertise in this topic. So you're going to hear a conversation with Darrah Brustein where we talk about how to reach out to busy people, and more importantly, how to form meaningful connections with them. It turns out, networking doesn't have to be as awkward as it seems. And it can actually be organic, natural, and dare I say, enjoyable.

Darrah Brustein 01:57

No matter your circumstances, it doesn't mean you can never ask for anything, it doesn't mean that you can't get along the way. But it does mean that you need to treat people as an outlet to what you want.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:09

Darrah is a writer, entrepreneur, owner of a credit card processing company, founder of a life events company called Network Under 40. And she's done quite a few other things, too. But overall, she's someone who has devoted a lot of her time, her life, her talent, to helping people form meaningful professional relationships. And that's exactly what we discussed in this episode. Take a listen because later on, you'll hear when she talks about very specific examples of how you can reach out to busy people who might be otherwise hard to contact or difficult to reach. She helps you understand from their perspective, how to be able to not only reach them, but also grab their attention and make a real connection.

Darrah Brustein 02:55

Answering the question of what I do is something that plagues me a bit that I, on the one hand struggle with it, because I hate to be put in a box and defined by titles, and the misconceptions or misnomers that might be attached to them. And on the other hand, you know, probably like many of y'all listening, I am multi-passionate, and I do a lot of different things. And it's tough to get out in a, quote unquote, elevator pitch. So frankly, it depends on the circumstances and the environment. One part how much I think my conversation partner actually is interested, as well as the context. So in some places, I might just say I wrote a kid's book on financial literacy, and others I might say exactly what I said to you, and others I might say I own a credit card processing company, and others I might say I help people connect in real life through events for young professionals, through a company that I started called Network Under 40. It could be any number of things. But in general now, a platform that I've really taken a hold of because I think it's so important and also pertinent to our conversation is helping people create the life they want through intentional relationship building.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:08

Let's back up here for a second because you haven't always done that. And clearly, all of these things that we just went through, and you just mentioned, not all of those happened instantly. So where did this start for you? What led you down the path to be really interested if we go way back in living much more intentionally, in this idea of designing what it can look like?

Darrah Brustein 04:34

I've always been doing it. I just didn't put words to it. I didn't characterize it. So it actually took about a decade of building my own life and career to look back more recently and notice what had happened. Notice that I had been utilizing intentional relationship building and community building skills, other people call it networking, but that's, again, one of those words that has a lot of different…

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:03

Cringe, like, all these different words. I know that I do quite a bit. But networking is one of those as well, along with the "Hey, what do you do? Tell me your job title."

Darrah Brustein 05:13

Right? Well, I cringe at the latter part, that “tell me your job title”, because that's typically what people associate with, quote unquote, networking. I don't think networking in its inherent true creation and what it's supposed to be or what it really is, is bad. I think it's wonderful. What I cringe at are the people who have taken on the nomenclature of networking, and have for lack of a better term, bastardized it. Yes. So that's where I start to position myself and say, "Oh, I don't really want to be associated with that, if that's your expectation of it, because I don't conduct myself that way."

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:50

So what would your definition of networking be? I'm super curious.

Darrah Brustein 05:55

To me, it's synonymous with relationship building. Plain and simple.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:00

Actually, I totally, completely agree. In fact, to the point where often in many of the things we do, we will jokingly refer to it or like, strike out networking and put relationship building next to it. And so why do you think then that it is so much about relationship building, as opposed to this bastardized thought that many of us have, of what is networking? Tell me the differences in your mind.

Darrah Brustein 06:27

In my mind, the way people view networking, when it's the word that we cringe at, is a transaction based interaction. It is the antithesis of a relationship. A relationship in my mind, quantifies the idea of going deep, of getting to know someone for who they are not what they do, hence the cringe around the "Hey, what do you do?" Right out-of-the gate question. It's the idea of pouring in and investing. It's the idea of, this is a long term relationship. So it's not about taking something, it's about being curious and discovering, perhaps giving, although I think that's a wonderful framework. It's also been a bit marred as well with, oh, just be a martyr and give and give and give, which is also not, I think, appropriate. But it's really about finding people that you truly connect with and resonate with, that you'd want to be friends with. And from there, a lot can flourish. So if you want to look at it another way, networking is friendship building.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:34

I like that too. So for me, honestly, and I'm not even sure I haven't armchaired psychology myself enough to the point where I understand where it came from. But if I go back, you know, 10, 15 years ago, I very much thought about... and acted as if building relationships or building friends or anything else, as though it was very transactional. And that's how I behaved in a lot of different ways. And although I don't entirely know where that came from, I had to like, pick it up and learn that it could be different along the way. So I'm curious, you've been acting and behaving this way for a long time, where did you first start to recognize that it could be different? or how did you learn this?

Darrah Brustein 08:20

There's a few things. One is my dad. My dad is the consummate networker in the GoodWay. And the way of, he's always been the person out in the world, helping other people advance their goals, their ideas, their, whatever the thing might be, because he sees the world how I see the world, which is as a puzzle to put together for the advancement of the rest. And you see the big picture, even when the pieces seem like they don't fit. Or you don't even know that they're on the same board. So he's that guy. And I just saw it my whole life and didn't know any other way. And then upon going out into the world of the workforce, I started my career in sales, and just continued to treat people that way. Feeling like, you know, the golden rule exists, why wouldn't we continue to do that in life in this arena. And through a lot of experience of selling, whether it was expensive jeans for the fashion company I started working in when I got out of college, to other products and services I sold after that to starting my first company at age 25 of credit card processing. And going off and building that and learning that at the end of the day, even though it might take longer, the rewards were bigger. And I vividly remember telling my twin brother Garrett, who is my business partner in that company, nine plus years ago, when we began, I said, "Listen, Garrett. Everyone in this business is doing the cold call thing. They're literally dialing for dollars and saying we've got a rep in your area, blah, blah, blah, jargon script. And we're not going to do that." I said, "I'm going to go out and develop referral relationships with people who get our mission. They like me, I like them. And it's going to take a while. But once it clicks, it will be a snowball rolling down a hill." And that's exactly what it was. But that took patience. It took perseverance. It took belief and hope. It took a lot of things that a lot of people maybe don't allow themselves the time and the space to cultivate. And secondly, I think a natural reaction or objection to this would be to say, "Well, I don't have the luxury of waiting." When actually neither did I. I was eating through my savings. I was terrified. I had bought a house three months before I started my business, not because I felt financially ready, but because I had a landlord with a restraining order I had filed against him. So I was in a position of feeling the desperation that a lot of people feel when they say, "Well, I need to get something now. I can worry about the long term later." But I still knew that I needed to come at it that way, because it was going to pay off in the long run. So no matter your circumstances, it doesn't mean you can never ask for anything. It doesn't mean that you can't get along the way. But it does mean that you need to treat people as people and not people as an outlet to what you want.

Scott Anthony Barlow 11:20

At that particular time, what caused you to be sure enough? Because I don't think there's any ultimate assurance for anything anyplace. But, what caused you to be sure enough to where you committed to that type of strategy as opposed to what so many people will do with that short term transactional type approach? So the snowball versus the transaction. Right?

Darrah Brustein 11:44

It wasn't that I necessarily was comparing the two. But what I was doing was feeling out what's authentic to me. And that was authentic to me. And I was lucky because of my grooming growing up and just my own natural wiring, I suppose, that that came more organically. And then in going into the real world and being a young adult in the business community, I remember going to Chamber of Commerce meetings in Atlanta where I'm based, and meeting people who were my parents age predominantly and have been in their careers for decades upon decades and feeling quite intimidated. And watching some of them do it what I consider to be well and modeling that and others doing it what I consider to be not well which is the transactional business card shove, not interested in you at all, looking at your name tag not in your eyes, like that whole kind of jam, and feeling so gross and feeling like you don't think of me as a person. I am just a company, a title, a transaction, a sale, an introduction. And I didn't want to do that to other people either. So that only continued to submit and solidify for me why that was, what I was going to continue to live out.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:01

I think at least describing the less desirable of those two routes that we just talked about, gross is the right word for that. Gross is absolutely. I haven't called it gross before. And I love that, or love the... whatever we want to call that. Yes. That's fantastic. So you have, I think, done a very good, as I started to understand a little bit about your past and your story and everything like that. I think you've done a really amazing job, not just building relationships, and not just looking at the long term game and not just trying to be authentic to yourself. I also think that there's something else that, I would say, that you're pretty good at that I'd love to talk about here too. One of those things in particular, that I think is a huge question for many of our listeners, when they're interested in building relationships, when they're interested in reaching out to other people, when they're interested in getting in touch with other people that they want to get to know, but don't want to feel gross about it. And they don't want to create that type of impression. And at the same time, they know that it's important for one reason or another. And they really do want to build that relationship. I would love to spend a few minutes and really talk about, what can that look like? How you think about that? And some of the ways that people listening to this, can do that too.

Darrah Brustein 14:31

Absolutely. I'm going to start sort of on the high end, meaning, when you have someone who really seems to hold the key for you, and that can be, they are the hiring manager of the job you're looking for, maybe they're the decision maker of the company your trying to create as your client, maybe they're the celebrity that you just idolize and feel like this person needs to give me the advice to change everything. Because I've been in all of those positions. And I know exactly how each of those fields. And just start by saying like these people, as like we would say, are just like us. They are people and they want to be treated like people first. And you want to think about, if I were in their position, how would I want to be talked to, interacted with, approached and so on. I'll start by sharing some of the mistakes that I see happen like even I'll give you this example. My friend, Sarah called me from Denver two weeks ago, and she has recently graduated from a data science program after being a math teacher for about a decade. And she said, “I'm making this big career change. This is really overwhelming. It's always been sort of a layup getting jobs and teaching because it was a clear trajectory. But here I am in a new space. And there's this person who is the hiring manager at this one company that I'm looking to get into. And here's the general email that I sent him and it goes something like this, "Dear so and so. My name is Sarah. Someone told me to reach out to you. I'm applying for this job. Can I get coffee with you next week? How's this time? I look forward to it. XO, Sarah." Something like that. And she said, "How is that?" And immediately I said, "Sarah, how could you have done that?" And she said, "What do you mean?" And I said, "Sarah, you are so smart. You are so personable. You are so capable. But what made you feel like it was okay to be that presumptuous?" And she said, "What do you mean?" And I said, "Sarah, this person doesn't know you. They don't owe you anything. And you are asking of their intellectual property and their time, which are two of the most valuable things they have to offer. And you did it without any amount of bashfulness, or any amount of saying, I understand that you're busy, or is there any way I can come up with this or even giving them a real substantive idea of what you wanted from them to show them that you put in the work and you did your research, and you were respecting their time." So those really are some of the baseline critical things that I think are important. Another example of this is years ago, when I wrote my kids book on financial literacy. My primary goal was to become the Baby Einstein of financial literacy. So to do that, I thought, well, the creator of Baby Einstein is obviously the person who I need to know. So I spent hours researching everything that Julie Agnar Clark had ever done or said and was public online. I sent her an email and I said something along the lines of "Dear Julie, I'm so admiring of your work. And here's why. And here's where I am in my career. And I have this one specific question for you (and share the question). If you'd be so kind as to take a moment to answer that question over email, I'd be sincerely grateful. And if you'd feel so inclined, it would mean the world's me to hop on a 20 minute phone call and expand upon it." The next day, I got a response from her, which I was shocked by. And she said, "I'd be happy to get on a call with you." And we spent close to an hour. And then we talked many times after that. And I know deep down that the reason she answered me was because, one, I was kind to her. Two, I flattered her, which always has to be sincere, but it goes a long way. And three, I put in the work. I spent so much time doing the work to make sure that the question I wasn't asking her wasn't easily google-able. Which, frankly, as I'm sure you know, Scott, as well, is one of the most frustrating situations. That if you could find that answer with a quick Google search, then it's pretty rude, frankly, to reach out to someone and ask them to reiterate something that you could have found out more quickly on a basic search, or it's listed on their website, or their LinkedIn or an interview they recently conducted or something like that. And so the fact that I did those things, and came to her sincerely, didn't presume that she should help me, didn't leave it so open ended that she had to fish to figure out what I wanted, or how long this might take. It made it an easy yes for her. So make it an easy yes for someone and put yourself in their shoes and think, what does this person value? Might they see themselves in me. Might they want to help. Because people want to help. You just have to make it easy for them.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:17

That is so interesting. And I'm thinking about it at this point, I'll get literally hundreds of emails in my inbox every single day. And I have had so many different emails that are the opposite of that, they are not kind, they have not put in the work. You know, we've spent now five years putting content out there where they could literally google it and it would pop up. And as much as I love... I absolutely love helping people in the way that we do and that's why we're in this business. I also literally cannot, there's not enough time in the day, even if I were answering every single email that people sent out, to be able to get them that information. And when they're not making it easy, it doesn't even matter if I want to, I can't. So I love what you have pointed out and just reiterating that really quick in terms of being kind and being complimentary, or that flattering piece and then putting in the work, and then making sure that it is easy for them. And I think that's part of putting in the work too. So I'm curious, you probably, since you have actually a couple of different platforms, you probably get emails like this at this point too. And or not just on the one side of it as well, right?

Darrah Brustein 20:35

I get them all the time. So when I write for Forbes, and when you write for Forbes, you get a lot of unsolicited people, either pitching you their thing and their press release, or saying hey, "Can you mentor me on this? Or can we have coffee or hop on a call to teach me about this" or any number of other things, or same thing with having a company called Network Under 40, where, you know, we have 30,000 people in a number of mid tier US cities, who are a part of our organization. And because of the natural framework of a brand around networking and connection and relationship building, there is a misguided perception or assumption that you can spend one on one time with every one of those 30,000 people, which is not the goal, the goal is to help you find local connections that you really click with. And I much like you do through this platform since so much free content to answer many of the questions that they have or might have in the future, so that I can allow them to have that access more easily. And I'd say for anyone who gets those types of inquiries, there's a few ways that can be really useful to handle them. Because saying no can be really awkward. However, I don't love to ignore people. The only times I really ignore emails is if I feel like it wasn't personal to me whatsoever, like you sent out a bulk press release and wanted to just send it to every person whose email you could extract off of a list somewhere. But beyond that, I think it's again, in that human relationship piece that even if I'm unwilling to do the thing that you asked, I'm still going to try my best to be gracious to you and tell you now, but from there, my hope is that, you as the recipient will respect that. Because I've had many times and I say this from a me perspective, but hoping that this will resonate with some people who struggle with this as well. That there's many times where you say no and the other person does not take that well. And they look at you like "what a jerk" or "how dare you" or I was entitled to that when none of us are entitled to other people's time and resources, it's generous of them to offer them. So in those moments, choosing to respond and say, whatever it is you choose to say, for me, it's typically something like I'm at capacity, but really appreciate you reaching out or, you know, and these are templated emails, in some cases, you can create and put, I use a tool called mixmax, which has a ton of robust stuff in there free option, where you can do everything from calendaring and email sequences and a number of other things. But in this case, I have a drop down menu within your inbox of templates of emails, so I have one called No. And it's something along the lines of, you know, "My focus right now is on XYZ. And this doesn't fit within that. And I really wish you all the best. Thank you for reaching out and hope our paths cross again in the future" or something along those lines, where it's gracious, it's honest, but I didn't ignore them and make them feel like they didn't matter at all. And maybe you don't, maybe not everyone has capacity for that. And that's okay. But all I can then do is know that I did my best to keep true to my values and my integrity and handle that situation how I think is in alignment with those things. And then it's up to that person. And this is where I struggle, to not take it personally to know that it's up to them, however they translate that and how it lands with them.

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:01

That is a challenge for me as well, because one of the reasons why I got into this business as I want people to be helped and it almost feels like in some ways, and I know this isn't true logically and silently as we're talking about it now. I don't get to control their reaction and what comes back. Bif I am not careful, I will feel pain if they're not having a great reaction. And I have to remind myself of exactly what you were talking about. Here's what I'm super curious though, let's flip this around on the other side, and look at the okay, here's what happens, here's the situation for a lot of people that might be harder to get hold of. And I think it's really important to understand what's going on, on the opposite side. Like, if there's somebody like you who you've got a few different organizations, and you get a lot of email. And there's lots of people that have different perceptions around your time and what you're doing and everything else that's going on. But let's say that we want to contact somebody like you in that situation, or we want to contact the hiring manager, or anything else, aside from that couple of elements that you just laid out, being kind, being complementary, you know, making sure that you put in the work and make an easy yes. What else can we do? Or how else can we make it an easy yes, so that we don't get the no email? Because I've got several variations of those two.

Darrah Brustein 25:30

It may seem obvious, but the best way always is to be introduced. Having the ability to ride on someone else's reputational equity, will always benefit you. And doing so, comes with a lot of trust and expectation that you are going to treat it well and not be damaging to it, hopefully continue to elevate it. That is always the best way. And now more than ever, we live in a time where it is so much easier to figure out who knows whom, through all of the social media tools that we have at our free disposal and access that everyone's constantly updating. Like, for example, I always say that LinkedIn is like my CRM that other people update. And for those who don't know what a CRM is, it's Customer Relationship Management. But in this case, it's basically just a living breathing Rolodex that other people are constantly updating with, where they are in the world, what they're up to, and who their connections are. So if you're talking to a hiring manager, and you're looking for someone, or you're wanting to talk to a hiring manager, you're looking for someone to make that introduction, go to LinkedIn, go to Facebook, see where the mutual connections are, there 1, 2, 3 degrees away, and start to get introduced through the change that person, because then you open the door. There's a study, I maybe bastardizing this as well, but it's, I believe it came from Stanford. And it's called the idea or something along "the idea of the power of loose ties" and it talks about how most things happen…

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:01

The power of weak ties.

Darrah Brustein 27:03

Thank you, weak ties. Thank you. Yeah, and it's how everything really happens statistically through weak ties. So it's not always or often the first degree connection but it's the second third or fourth, where someone introduce you to someone who introduced you to someone who then makes that introduction that you're looking for, or someone who you don't actually know super well, but they feel good enough about you that they're willing to make the introduction because it can actually work against you sometimes when you know someone too well, where they think well I actually know too much about you and I know you're good, and you're bad. And maybe I'm less inclined to make that introduction for you, because they know so much about you. Whereas the person that you met at a conference, or a cocktail party or a dinner party, or on an airplane, might feel like that interaction they had with you for five minutes or 20 minutes, was positive enough that they're willing to open the door for you. So there's so much power in those, and we should never underestimate them, which is why it's really important to follow up when you meet someone to make sure that when you meet someone in the first place, that you're doing so thoughtfully, and you're making a great impression that you're continuing to nurture that relationship over time, because they're likely will come a time where you're going to want to turn around and ask for something. And it's never a good time to ask for something when you've let the ball drop, and you've not been in touch. And suddenly you want something from someone who barely remembers you or your name.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:29

So let me ask you this, then, if we know that one of the best ways to to be able to make this happen and reach people that we want to reach is through introductions, let's say that we're in the situation where we have somebody we want to get introduced to, we know somebody who knows them, what can I do to make it even easier or more successful? How can I, let's break this down even a little bit more, what can I do from there?

Darrah Brustein 28:59

Similarly, you're going to want to make it easy for someone to say yes. In this case, I think you can craft emails like a one paragraph email that they just can tweak, if they feel like it doesn't match their tone, or their writing style, and say, "Hey, here's a little example of something you're free to use." So it makes it super simple. And just spell it out, do it directly and easily. So that they say no problem, or they can just forward it on, send them the email knowing that, whatever you're saying, that you'd be more than happy for that other person you're looking to get connected with might read. So again, just creating this templated situation where that person can say no problem, copy paste, send it over or forward, send it along, took them 10 seconds or less, but they feel really great about it. You got the outcome that you wanted and needed and then hopefully you can get the yes.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:57

What if you don't get the yes?

Darrah Brustein 29:59

That's okay, too.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:01

I'm curious, where have you had a situation in the past where you didn't get the yes. And what ended up happening from there, that you were able to either overcome it or something else good came from it?

Darrah Brustein 30:15

The first thing that comes to mind is something that happened very recently, which is, I'm in the moment of planning a virtual summit called "Life By Design, Not By Default." And in doing so, I'm booking talent. And I've got about 60 speakers, even Deepak Chopra involved. And I really wanted Scooter Braun to do it. And Scooter Braun is someone with whom I went to college, but we only casually knew each other. So I reached out to a friend of mine who is very close with him. And I said, "Tom, I know that Scooter is someone whose relationship you probably protect quite dearly, because he's in high demand. And I wouldn't ask you if I didn't feel like this was something that you're going to look good for doing. It's not going to put you in a weird spot. But more so, if this conversation goes no further than my asking of this, I completely understand, if you don't want to ask him at all." And he got back to me and said, "I'm actually going to see him this weekend at the March in DC." So this was a couple weeks ago. And he said, "I'll ask him." But here's the thing. I never heard from Tom about it again. And I'm completely okay with that. Because to me, that means, he didn't say yes, he's not interested. And that's okay. Because Tom did me and maybe Tom didn't even ask, I have no idea. But I didn't want to push Tom. Because there's a place to be persistent. And there's a place where you're annoying. And I didn't want to push Tom because my friendship with him comes first. And the outcome of, if he can get me an introduction to Scooter or reintroduction to Scooter was not more important to me than the quality and the consistency of my friendship with Tom. So even his silence, while it may be a yes one day or maybe it'll remain silent, I took it as a no and are at least a no for now. And I'm okay with that. And I have other angles that I can massage to get to Scooter if I so choose. But I'm not valuing my own goals and outcomes over my relationships ever, no matter how big the goal.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:15

Here's what I'm curious and I'd love to ask one more question about. You know, for people that are in this place, and they are not considering themselves necessarily amazing relationship builders, but they want to really get started, and they're interested in doing this. And it's kind of more in the beginning stages for them at least thinking about it in this way. What advice would you give them?

Darrah Brustein 32:40

For starters, you already have a network no matter where you're beginning. And people often underestimate that. For example, I sit on my University's board, and I talk to college students all the time where they say, "I don't have a network, how am I going to get a job? Everyone talks about value adding before extracting and taking, but I have nothing to add, I'm just a college kid who's had an internship maybe, what am I going to add to the world?" But no matter where you are, you've had classmates, you have family, you have friends, you have your friends family. And this is your network. And they don't have to be the biggest names. They don't have to have impressive shiny titles. But they can often be valuable to you and valuable to the people that you're going to interact with for a number of reasons. So start there, start where you are. And then don't be afraid to ask because the people who are the perfect testing grounds or the perfect resourceful to go to are the people with whom you already have depth of relationship where you already have trust, where they already like you. And they're going to be interested in helping you if you ask them in a gracious way, instead of just going out into the world thinking well, crap, I've got to build an entire network, and work towards my goal at the same time. So instead, you can go where you've already been sowing your seeds, which sounds weird, but like planting seeds and growing a garden of the relationships you already have. And you've been watering those just through the friendships and family you've been building over the years. And start, truthfully, and honestly approaching them and saying, here's my challenge, or here's my goal, this is what I need, do you have any ideas? And that's a really low pressure way to get someone's buy and to assist. So sometimes it can feel daunting when people feel targeted. So instead of maybe saying, "Hey, I know you know this person, or you're in this industry, can you open a door for me?" To just allow someone to do something most of us naturally enjoy, which is to share advice and counsel and be helpful. So if you open it up, a more open entity, to someone who already knows, likes and trusts you to say, "What do you think about this? Do you have any advice or any ideas for me?" And then generally, they will draw the dots together. And say, "Oh, well, let me introduce you to so and so or have you considered this?" And in some cases, if they're not getting to that conclusion, you can walk down that path and then say, "Would you be willing to make that introduction?" In which case, they'd generally say yes. Or they'll say, "No, it's not a good time, or here's why that person's not a good idea." But that's all great knowledge and data points for you to keep taking into other interactions. And it's also great practice, to be unafraid to ask, to be unafraid to be authentic and vulnerable in those moments about what it is that you need. Because what you're also doing there is deepening the relationship.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:34

Hey, if you've been listening to our episodes here at Happen To Your Career, and you want to make an intentional career change to much more meaningful work, and have it neatly laid out into an organized framework, well, guess what? We actually have that available for you in the Happen To Your Career book. It's available on Amazon, Audible, anywhere else where you get your books. You'll learn about the five hidden obstacles stopping your career change, how to figure out what what truly makes you happy with your career, and what brings you more happy more often, and more importantly, how to transition to a much more fulfilling career and life. You can find the book on Amazon, Audible, anywhere where books are sold. By the way, people are particularly loving the audio book, which you can access right now in seconds.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:28

Here's a sneak peek into what we have coming up for you next week right here on Happen To Your Career.

Speaker 3 36:33

I felt more controlled and not having as much autonomy and freedom as I would like, both professionally and personally. I was a co-founder of the business but didn't really feel like I had a lot of the perks and benefits that go along with being a co-founder.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:50

Flexibility has become somewhat of a buzzword ever since remote work became more accepted in 2020. Now you hear it offered as a perk from organizations that allow their employees to work from anywhere. But as it turns out, that's not really the full picture of what people are looking for. In many cases, it's autonomy that is really what most people are missing. But it's much more difficult to find than flexible work, which is just a small part of that picture. Autonomy, it turns out, isn't just about where you do your work, but also the what, when, how and why. And a lack of this can have a severe impact on your job satisfaction and leave you feeling like you have no control over your career, which as it turns out, isn't any good.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:37

All that and plenty more next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click Subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep, and you get it automatically, even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until next week. Adios. I'm out.

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