Markus Gull
Chess pieces stand in the light, shadow casts a king's crown

Networking - only the other way around.

Whenever the second half of the year is a week old, two strange birds share a birthday. Ringo Starr is the other.

What will he be thinking about this year? Honestly, at 83, there are a few obvious questions. How often will I go on tour with my all-star band, for example? We all ask ourselves things like that sooner or later, again and again, in a sense, don't we?

What else is to come?

What else is going to work out anyway?

What do I absolutely, actually, still want at some point ...?

What else do I want to know urgently, what else do I want to learn?



In the blogcast, I read this recent blog article to you. With emphasis, of course!



Which chapters of my story still have to be written so that something similar to a happy ending can come about, because I was able to transform myself into a human being who was at least halfway successful? It's a hero's journey, only in real life.

Well, someone has to say it, and I hate that I am the one: The life time does not become more also for geniuses. Therefore it is advisable to use the time which remains with the greatest accuracy, thus in wide areas probably differently than before. 

Because we already touched on the hero's journey, let's borrow from Joseph Campbell: "If you want to change the world, you have to change its metaphors." For something to happen, for something to change, we have to have a story to go with it, or renew the story we have. We can do that quickly by twisting some of our time-honored stories into a new, better perspective.

Let's start with the story of the Bucket List, the so-called spoon list. On it, you write down neatly what you want to experience at least once in your life, what you absolutely want to do before you kick the bucket. The vast majority of these plans come to nothing, that's right. We all know this from our New Year's resolutions. All of a sudden it becomes clear that if I can't play the drums at 83, things are going to get hectic...

Let's turn this story around, let's create The Upside Down Bucket List. It follows one of my favorite creative methods that works with amazing frequency. The trick is, "Try doing the opposite of what you've been doing." 

Thus, on the inverted bucket list is everything that from now on we will no longer do quite intentionally and for good reason, so that space is created for what we want to do. 

The story-twisting trick succeeds in many different subject areas. 

To stay on topic: Coming into old age well, i.e. being young & vital as long as possible and then becoming vintage, has a lot to do with everything we eat, but probably even more with what we DON'T eat (and DON'T drink). The reverse shopping list, in other words. You could say: it says what we're doing without. In the story reversal trick, however: what we are freeing ourselves from.

In fact, we can free ourselves from a whole lot. 

On my "don't do it anymore" list, the promise of invitations "for an exchange over coffee" shines prominently. The result of these exchanges is that in almost 100 percent of the cases, the exchange is quite one-sided. My interlocutors' questions are exchanged for answers from me. In other words: I provide one to two hours of consulting services free of charge and then pay for everyone's coffee, old school as I am and always will be. 

And then there's networking and small talk. These uncultured techniques have been at the top of the Platinum Edition of my inverted bucket list all my life. When I think of networking events and the small talk that is secreted there, with which one's ears are chewed off, I am instantly afflicted with a full-body phimosis of the highest order.

But even that we could turn around.

The story that the networkers of this world tell themselves is: "Let's go, there are important people there, I can make contacts there, otherwise I'll miss out, because there is a lot in it for me. Right?

This kind of instrumental reason, to exploit, use and instrumentalize everything and everyone, to always see what's in it for oneself, what one can get out of it for oneself, to grab, skim and garnish - this is a rampant primal evil in our society and in business anyway. In fact, as far as business is concerned, it's a contradiction in terms. And otherwise, too.

Network?!? My ass! - That's just a smoother word for using other people as objects, as resources, as levers. In this way, one quickly deprives others and oneself of dignity. What this means has been brilliantly described by the wonderful professor Gerald Hüther in a life-enriching book entitled "Dignity" . You should read the book now(!). If you want to experience a lecture by Gerald Hüther, you can do so many times online, for example here .

The time you invest in it will be returned to you many times over. Among other things, because you don't waste yourself networking afterwards.

The calculation is quite simple: If you meet in a place to get something apart, everyone goes home somehow empty, hollow. Hollowed out, sucked dry, infected with important contacts who are then important for you, or for whom you yourself would be important if there were still something in the other person that could be used. Eaten but starved, because as they say in "The Lion King": "The belly of a hyena is never full."

However, if we told the network story the other way around, we would all go home fulfilled. So, "I have to go there, there are committed people there, they'll miss out on something without me, because I can contribute a lot for them." Change the story, change the world.

That would be something: NEW STORY-Networking on the model of "The Lion King" - minus hyenas. Do you remember the scene in which little Simba stands next to his father on the cliff? He looks down into the infinitely vast territory and with blissful proud anticipation he says, "One day, all this will be mine." Mufasa, the old Lion King, then says, "While others seek what they can take, a true king seeks what he can give."

NEW STORY-Networking for true kings, that would be something! 

If you're one of the first three organizers to put on such an event, I'll give an opening keynote there and waive my speaker fee as a gift for Ringo's next birthday. Deal? - Hakuna Matata!

So we are back to Ringo, the incomparable. What he brought, as a late-comer in the group of boys from Liverpool, proved to be the decisive spark that finally made the four of them the Beatles.

John & Paul as a congenial songwriting duo, inspired by rock'n'roll and their love of Motown R&B, inspired by inner rivalry, who thus lifted themselves into unimagined spheres to invent, in principle, what we have long called pop music: grandiose talent. 

George, the quiet, smart, manfully inspired, the fabulous guitarist and songwriter: phenomenally talented. 

But it was only when Ringo came along that the momentum developed. Why? Because Ringo brought in a whole package that complemented, nourished, completed, connected everything else. Google videos of other world-class drummer heroes talking about Ringo. What this strange bird pulled out of his sleeves with his minimalist drum kit still leaves even those in awe whose drums are so richly stocked that any highly gifted centipede would be overwhelmed to catch all the drums and cymbals in the course of a show.

The story of networking (if we want to stick with this term) urgently needs to be retold, I think. As a story of contribution, instead of a story of extraction. Bringing in useful things instead of taking advantage of them. In fact, if we mentor each other, that is, support each other in achieving our goals, we will weave a dense web of winners:ins who will inspire each other without needing to use or even defeat anyone in the process. In this way, we make each other strong as people, teams and society.

Ringo Starr would say, "I get by with a little help from my friends," while my grandmother, old Story Dudette, Beatles groupie from the very beginning, would beat the beat for the anthem of a connected future: "New Story. New Glory."


Markus Gull | The Story Dude

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