How “networking” led to an amazing trip

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I’ve been MIA for the past month plus as I was gallivanting around with my woman.

Near the end of the trip, the latest issue of Entrepreneur Magazine came out, and in it was an article titled “Want to get better at networking? Think smaller.”

This article stemmed from a pitch I made to the magazine a few months ago (how I made that happen is for another article).

The gist of the article is that while networking was perhaps a numbers game before, with the proliferation of events and the breaking down of borders and barriers due to the Internet, it was no longer about quantity. Quality mattered. Relationships mattered.

To that end, I introduced them to some exceptional people running highly-curated events:

The common denominator? The events are about building deep relationships, not just about being exposed to an untold number of humans.

Networking is not a numbers game. It’s about building deep relationships

So much to do, so much to see

I want to take a slight detour and highlight a few of the things we did. There’s a common theme that runs through, and I’m curious if you’ll pick up on it…

We started off in Japan, which included bizarre Japanese art –

The mildly alarming sculptures of the Nippon Television building. #japania

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scrumptious food –

Tapas Molecular Bar, first of the 13 courses. Exceptional. #japania

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scuba diving in Okinawa, bowing to deer that bow back –

Getting attacked by deer in Nara park. #japania

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(they ended up trying to maul me)

@hiimsol Running away from the deer mauling ???? . #japania

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the haunting Koyasan, the impressive Nara, being approached by a random fan of my work in Osaka (of all the places!), eating at a noodle house established in 1465 (!!), the badass Fushimi inari –

⛩ . . . #vermillion #perspective #japan #kyoto #fushimiinari #straighttothetop

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– the insane robot cafe –

go karting in downtown Tokyo (we hit a peak speed of 85kph on a bridge!) –

OMG this is happening right now! Central Tokyo. Watch out! @hiimsol

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– the freshest sushi you can imagine, way too much meat, and some serious sumo action –

Sumo live is so much fun. Highly recommend it. #japania

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I then headed off to Carmel for the indomitable Jayson Gaignard’s MastermindTalks. This included a hilarious 3-hour drive with Steve Kamb and Matt Kepnes, hanging out with old and new friends alike (for example, the indefatigable George Raveling), talking about the importance of enthusiasm, and finally a drive back to San Francisco (that included a massive detour to San Jose due to Nathan Barry).

In SF I got to hang out with a bestie of mine, which included a trip to the amazing Armstrong Redwoods Forest (10x more impressive than Muir Woods). I also spent a day putting faces to people I had initially met through the Internet.

The final leg of the journey involved us flying over to Calgary and exploring the Banff region. Our exploration included the infamous Lake Louise –

– the astonishingly reflective Emerald Lake, the pretty bad-ass Natural Bridge, whitewater rafting in legit rapids (due to a record snowfall), and going caving (involving some ferocious squeezes, aptly named because it feels like the walls around you are squeezing you).

We finally concluded with me presenting at NSCA Calgary, meeting my buddy Bryan Krahn’s ferocious bulldogs –

and hanging out with him and other friends while consuming the oddest combination of foods –

It was a grand ol’ trip.

A trip manifested in relationships

I had started off with: “There’s a common theme that runs through, and I’m curious if you’ll pick up on it…

Did you notice the common theme?

Wherever we went, there was a friend to hang out with.

I’m usually reticent to talk about my personal life (note that all of the pictures are via friends), but the reason I broke it down was so that you could appreciate that none of this would have happened if not for the relationships I already had.

Without Andy Morgan, Japan would have been half as good. He helped translate everything, guide us around, and was a walking tour guide (more on him later).

Without being friends with Steve Kamb (I initially said hi to him ~4 years ago when he mentioned Examine.com on NerdFitness.com), I would have never met Matt (I’m a big fan of his Nomadic Matt site). Hell, without my friendship with Jayson, I likely would not have come to MMT anyway.

In SF I hung out with a buddy I met in my first year of engineering… over 15 years ago. Even though he’s not on FB, we still find ways to stay in touch; it was his suggestion to go to Armstrong Woods (the most impressive tree there was the eponymous Colonel Armstrong tree, which is 1400 years old and over 300 feet tall!!) Same with all the people I got to hang out – I only heard of Ryan Delk because of Nathan Barry, and without him and Amy vouching for me, we likely would have never met!

And finally in Banff, it just so happened that not only does one of my woman’s friends lives there, but she also happens to be in the tourism industry. Everyone who goes to Banff has heard of Lake Louise, but my two favorites (Emerald Lake and Natural Bridge) were her ‘local’ suggestions.

Throughout this trip, we were always hanging out with locals. Without these amazing people, the trip would have been downgraded to merely “good.” It was their time, thoughtfulness, and company that leveled it way up.

I would have never gone to Japan without already knowing Andy Morgan. I likely would have declined to speak in Calgary without our friends in Calgary and Banff. Not only did the relationships help elevate the travel, but they were also a key part of why I traveled.

The deep relationships I build greatly influence where I visit and make traveling 10x more fun. Networking should be treated as synonmous to “making friends.”

“Networking” 101.

I’ve been talking about writing about the various facets of networking for a while now, so consider this my foray into it. I already have the next two lined up – 1) a bit more about Andy Morgan and how/why he was our ‘guide’ for Japan, and 2) when someone randomly recognized me in the street in Osaka (of all the places), how he did a complete no-no during our interaction.

I should note here – when I say networking, I mean it in the context of what was in Entrepreneur Magazine: it’s about building relationships with people who you connect with.

There are far too many “#influencers” and cool people for you to even care about getting along with everyone. Find the ones you do get along with, and forge deeper relationships with them.

In the meantime, I’m gonna be visiting Vegas, NYC, Seattle, and Egypt in the next few months. If you’re in one of those places, say hi!

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