Focus on others

I’m a member of a real-life (i.e., not online) networking group of business people.  While the group allows only one member per industry, and thus is competitive in that way, it is dedicated to the cooperative support of members in offering warm sales leads to one another.  Making these referrals and introductions is required of each member on a regular basis. 

It’s an old fashioned idea, still in full force.  And it reminds me of a fundamental rule in performance improvisation: Be responsible for your partner.

The way this works on stage is thusly:  one may think that one’s cleverness and charisma are called upon to stand out when in front of an audience.  But the secret to successful improvisations (as well as to any enactment) is to make the other guy look good.  Rather than asserting his own prowess, the actor  who is solely focused on cooperation with his partner has the most power on stage.

Success through focus on others.  This is contrary to common practice.  But consider the online emphasis on social networking and blogs; consider the fast-growing clout of Open Source; consider the increasing reality that before you can make sales (at least online) it is becoming necessary first to give something away.

Try making this significant switch in your thinking.  What if, rather than worrying about your sales, you deeply concentrate on making your customer look good, or on making your neighboring business look good, or on making your community look good.  Your own success will naturally follow along.

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