Networking, Enemies & Cleaning the Closet

People like to help those they know, like and trust. This is one of the many reasons it is important to try to not make enemies.

This said, when one is competing with others for market leadership, resources or other business related matters, it is, for most, inevitable–especially when making bold strides, to pick up some enemies along the way.

Competition may find all sorts of reasons to dislike you (Ex. competing for market resources which enable them to provide for their family’s well-being) and thus brings your enemy into your adventure. Every hero journey has at least one and that “enemy”, even if this status is only perceived by the other person, is much like the nemesis or shadow character one sees in the Journey of the Hero Adventure. This enemy, in hero tales, it is important to note, is or is nearly equal in ability and powers as that of the hero. This makes for an appropriate level of pushback for the adventurer. All things of value have an according price tag.

If you are a friendly person and you help others as they help you, you are likely to develop a good-sized and helpful network.

This is not to be confused with friendship. Friends can be quite difficult to work for and with. I refer to business relationships, each with respective needs. In the entertainment business, “business” is the operative word. When risk comes into the equation, as well as money, people can behave in funny ways.

In Hero tales, adventurers do develop enemies, as drama, by definition, is conflict. The hero’s job is to overcome this conflict, which can be accomplished in any number of ways.

Hero’s also develop allies (our network). Allies serve to meet each other’s needs. Here, this is no different than our personal relationships. All relationships are built on need. When needs are no longer being met, the relationship typically dissolves. Networking is no different.

With this in mind, it is crucial that we nurture our relationships, the positive, life affirming ones. The positive ones will generate more positivity. The negative ones will bring with them negativity, which can lead one to feeling poisoned. It is important that our relationships do not drag us down. This is just heavy weight and should be dropped at once. When one makes room in their life for other, new relationships and nurtures those, they grow in positive ways. The key is attention and mutual service.

The old cliche says, “It’s all about who you know”, which is true. Put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, director, producer or any other person assuming considerable risk and imagine what you would do. Would you first think to employ strangers or would you first think of those you know you can trust, and whom you get along well with? Wouldn’t you want to surround yourself with people who are not only highly skilled and knowledgeable, but also positive, creative and inspiring?

As entrepreneurs, we are creators of many sorts. One example is “Creator of Culture”. In establishing our tribes, our audience; in establishing our work places, we have the authority to hire those we want to hire and let go of those who are poisonous.

This can potentially both reduce our risk as risk-takers and create a healthy work environment that not only is fun to be at, is supportive and vital, but also more effective. Happy workers make for creative workers. When the risk-taker then encounters obstacles, they have the sweet luxury to ask their collaborators to aide in problem solving and opportunity having and making.

Networking not only enables us to gain opportunities, such as job offers, but also enables us to create environments we want to be a part of and which fuel both our own creativity and those we are leading.

Jim Hart is the Director of Arts Entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University (SMU) and founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway (TITAN). 

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