Feel the fear and refer them anyway: Make-a-Referral Week

gothisway_dan_zen

In honor of Make-a-Referral Week, every day this week I’m posting my recommendations for various people who do either what I don’t do anymore or never did in the first place. The post below explains the concept behind this one-week project, and will remain up all week; each day, a new page will go live, introducing the next round of recommendations.

Does this economy suck? Holy hell, Martha, you’re darned tootin’, it does!

Do we have to cower and cringe, morph into greedy hacks or resort to any other old-school, fear-based techniques? No! Just the opposite, in fact!

This is a time for new thinking, big thinking, and mostly, for fearless thinking. It’s also a time for us all to be reaching out and connecting with each other, not pulling back and holing up.

In the spirit of this month’s (apparent) theme (i.e., “Control What You Can“), John Jantsch (he of Duct Tape Marketing) is spearheading an outside-the-box project designed to start pulling us out of fear and into action, and getting a few people some damned work into the bargain. called Make-a-Referral week, and it’s delightfully easy and simple to participate:

Pledge to refer at least one person to the small business provider of your choice.

I do this all the ding-dong day, every day, since I’m constantly getting queries for stuff I either don’t do anymore or could do but not as well as someone else. Usually, it is a thing that brings me great joy. Recently, however, I’ve started to feel weird twinges when I do it: Should I be referring people on? Shouldn’t I take the gig, when asked? Or pitch myself, when not? Am I out of my fucking mind, for chrissakes?

The answer, of course, is an emphatic “no” (except for that last bit, which most intimates will happily confirm). This isn’t about not taking the work meant for me; this is about hooking people up with what they need. It’s about getting the right tool for the right job. It’s about paying it forward.

It’s also about kicking fear right square in the pants.

It’s about acting from my bigger self, not my smaller self, and I mean that both in the sweeping, traditionally-understood sense of Being the Best Me Possible and from the Buddhist sense of letting go of this ego-me and having the All-That-Is run the show for a while. (If you’re new to the Buddhist stuff, Jack Kornfield is an amazing, funny, smart, awesome teacher of this stuff, and has a fantastic audiobook on the topic.)

Besides, there’s no false modesty or self-sabotage about this. To the contrary, I fully intend to use this week as a practice to remind myself about staying laser-focused on the three things I’ve identified as being things I both do well and love doing:

  • consulting with solopreneurs about how to get clear on their message, make it sparkle and put it the hell out there using all the tools at their disposal (link to my consulting)
  • speaking to people about how to market themselves using social networking without being a douchebag (link to my speaking)
  • writing creative nonfiction (and maybe starting with a new name for “creative nonfiction”) that illuminates and inspires, or illuminates and amuses, or, hopefully, all three! (well, you’re reading this already, but I also write: a monthly newsletter that’s FULL of ideas and recommendations, which you should probably subscribe to; a monthly column for actors which is conceivably useful for non-actors; and a weekly update on maintaining a kickass marketing plan)

See? I just tooted my own horn three separate times. With links! So now it’s time to refer you to some other people.

Because I’d like to make this as useful a tool as possible, and by that, I mean useful to me as well as to you, each day I’ll post a little piece about the nature of the thing I’m referring you to, which will link out to a page I can update, much like I do the links page for this site. People’s focus changes (hallelujah), so the person I refer you to this March may be doing something entirely different next June. Or I may be so far removed from that type of work by then that my referral is less than optimal. Or they might get bit by a zombie, become part of the night-crawling, brains-eating horde, and no longer be the best choice of service provider.

Whatever. I’ll date each of the pages, so you’ll know. You’ll use your best judgment from there.

So you can follow along, here’s the plan for this week:

Should you come visit on those days even if you’re not interested in having any of those things done? Up to you, pard’, but if you’re not blogging Make-a-Referral Week, maybe you could participate just by passing along some of these names to other people. Or pass along names that you have to other people.

But either way, pass it along..

xxx
c

Image by Dan Zen via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license. (It’s an arrow, get it? Pointing to the left? An arrow…aw, forget it…)

4 comments

  1. That is so awesome. I’ve just joined a networking group, and I’ve made a point of thinking of ways to refer the folks I meet to folks I already know. I believe that you can’t just go after yours in this world; you have to form part of a web of human connections.

  2. Deb – Ha! Yes, of course it does! Refer away, girlie!

    Catherine – Feel free to lift the idea for your own site, if you haven’t already. I know people usually have some sort of resources page; there’s no reason we can’t expand that idea to having a whole slew of ’em!

  3. I hope that the Make a Referral Week will only be the beginning. It is so important in good and bad times to refer businesses to other businesses. As an employee of a company, that generates a great deal of business from referrals I can’t stress the importance of overcoming the fear and asking for the referral or making a referral.

    I’ve wrote a post this week to encourage businesses to track referrals so they can be proactive and appreciative for referrals received. I also recorded a podcast with a customer who shared referral tips

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