How to Use Future Gratitude as Networking Fuel
What if you can decide how you want to feel in the future? What if you can use gratitude to fuel your strategic interactions so that you can become bolder, braver, and better paid? In this special episode, I share a quick five-minute exercise that you can do ahead of a networking event to transform how you think, how you feel, and therefore how you show up.
Full Episode Transcript
Hello! Welcome to Episode 44 of Born to Thrive with Jamie Lee.
I think when I do my 50th episode I should throw a party. Want to join?
It’s been my awesome privilege and pleasure to be hosting this podcast for 44 episodes and I plan on doing more podcast episodes in the future into 2019.
And I’m just really grateful for those of you who listen and those of you who have given me 5-star ratings on iTunes and those of you who come to my website, jamieleecoach.com.
Today I want to talk about gratitude because it is the topic of the week and I want to offer you a fun twist on it.
I think for most of us, when we think about gratitude, we think about what we already have, what we have received, and how we have expressed and experienced gratitude in the past.
What if you can decide to feel gratitude in the future?
And I think this could have a really powerful impact on your negotiation success.
In fact, I want to offer you a fun exercise that I dreamt up for one of my clients who is working towards a better paying job and he had to go to a networking event but the idea of showing up to that networking event - it was a very important one for his job search - it filled him with dread and anxiety and he didn’t really want to go. And at the same time, he knew that it was important, that he really should go.
So, of course, I coached him around that and then I dreamt up this exercise and offered it to him and after he did it, he went to the event and he wrote me that as a result of having done this exercise, he enjoyed all of his conversations at the event and he came out of the event feeling happy and satisfied with what had happened.
He was able to be in the moment at this networking event and really see every moment with the people and what was happening there as an opportunity.
And I think this is really important because when I ask my coaching clients,”How do you want to feel about your career? How do you want to feel about your leadership? How do you want to feel in the moment of negotiating for what you want?,” they all say the same thing, which is: present, calm, in the moment, focused, in the flow.
And so the impact of having done this exercise for him was all of that.
So, here’s the exercise. If you have a networking event or a social engagement coming up, I want you to go into the future. I want you to go visit the day after this event that’s coming up for you and I want you to get a piece of paper or a card - a thank you card - grab a pen and all you really need after that is your imagination.
So, when you do this exercise, go to the future. Go to the day after that specific event, okay? So, if you have an event coming up, let’s say on December the 6th, you are going to visit December 7th in your imagination.
And then pick one person. Pick one person with whom you will be conversing.
Maybe this is a future mentor, someone who could champion for you, somebody who is an influencer who can make connections and inroads in your career strategy.
Just pick one person and write a thank you card to this person today but it’s dated in the future.
And genuinely thank them for their insight, for the information or the story they shared with you on the date of this event.
So, again, just to be clear, you are writing a thank you card from the future for the event that you’re about to attend.
You’re pretending that the event has already occurred and you are already feeling grateful for the key strategic insight, that amazing information or really inspiring story this person shared with you.
And feel free to make up the details of this. Again, this is just you imagining, just making believe that this has already happened. There’s no right or wrong here. You’re not being graded.
Tell them how you enjoyed the meaningful conversation you had with this person at this event and imagine you really enjoyed it. Tell them what you learned from this interaction and what you appreciate about them and about this event or this company, whatever.
What do you appreciate? Appreciate in advance.
Again, make it all up. The only rule here is to be genuine in your emotion of gratitude. You want to be genuine in your emotion of gratitude but not needy. You’re not gonna be like, “Okay, so you’re gonna set up that interview for me, right?!”
Lose the attachment to whatever outcome that you really want.
Just feel the gratitude.
And then end the card with, “I look forward to the next time we speak…” and fill in the dots here as you like. Again, make it all up.
And if you have a card, actually write it in a card. I think there’s something really powerful and magical about writing it with your hand as opposed to typing it up. But that’s my personal bias for writing things on paper.
If you feel more comfortable typing it or maybe dictating it into your smart device, go ahead.
And just sit with it. Or if you want to send me a picture of your thank-you-in-advance card, feel free to email it to me. I’m firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, why is this so powerful? Why is this exercise so powerful and why is it effective?
First of all, it’s because what we know is not what we do. It’s what we feel that drives our actions in the future.
You know, most people think the circumstances of their lives is what they react to and that circumstances dictate what you do and how you do it but that’s not true.
If you have a networking event that you have to go to and if you are feeling apprehensive or dread because you have the thought that you’re not gonna be impressive enough or you’re not good enough or other people will look down on you, then it’s the feeling of dread or insecurity that’s going to drive your reaction. And from that feeling of insecurity or dread, you might show up small. You might avoid small talk. You might not engage fully, right?
And from there you create more evidence to support the thought that you’re not good enough or that people don’t like you. Whatever the Itty Bitty Shouldy Committee is whispering into your ear to make you feel small and not good enough, right?
So, how do you generate emotion on purpose so that you can take action on purpose?
You can imagine the future. The future belongs to you. The future has not happened. The future never arrives because we’re always in the present moment. We’re always dreaming of the future, right? So the future is whatever we make it up to be in the now.
And so, it’s really up to you what you can dream of, what you can imagine.
One of my favorite books is Finding Your Way in the Wild New World by Martha Beck and in this book she talks about how imagination is one of the four technologies of magic that help people create and live their best lives and I think this is so true.
And we are programmed in our brains for negativity and we are programmed to think about the worst-case scenarios.
That’s the first thing that will come to your mind if you try to do something risky or do something new, including negotiating, including networking, including asking for what you want, right?
But if we can trick the brain and tell the brain, you know what? What if we can feel appreciation? What if we can be grateful? What if the best thing can happen? And just let our imagination run wild in that direction, I think something amazing really can happen.
And that is because - this is something that I learned from master coach instructor Rich Litvin; he’s also the author of the book The Prosperous Coach, which is another one of my favorites - it’s always easier to come from a compelling vision rather that struggle to achieve a vision that you feel is unachievable.
So, the best way to come from and achieve it as if it’s already done is to imagine the end goal and feel it and see it and experience it from an emotional place because, like I said, it’s that emotion that’s going to drive you toward action and if you can create and imagine a positive future, then you can use that positive emotion to fuel your action towards the future that you most desire.
And gratitude is like this miraculous emotion, I think, because when I think about gratitude, there is joy, there is wonder, there is this feeling of being receptive, open, light, present and warm.
So, I wish you a really wonderful, warm, light, joyous holiday season, holiday week and I am grateful to you in advance for subscribing, for rating this podcast and giving it a 5-star rating on iTunes.
I’m really appreciative of that.
I’m really appreciative of you coming to check out my site, jamieleecoach.com, and I’m really appreciative of you showing up in your life and challenging yourself to that future vision, to become more of who you are, which is bold, which is brave, so that you can become better paid in the future.
So, thank you and with a warm heart, I will talk to you next week.