Thursday 9 October 2014

Networking for Military Leavers - and Everyone

This is one of a series of posts on useful tools for entrepreneurs leaving the Armed Forces. Here is the full list and links.

A couple of years ago I started speaking to military leavers about how to prepare for the transition to civilian life. Most often this has been through Heropreneurs events and visits to serving military units, and addressed to servicemen and women who want to start their own businesses.

But one piece of advice applies whether you want to set up your own business or not - and whether you're serving or ex-military or a lifelong civilian: the value of networking.

Back to Kevin Bacon

In 1994 Kevin Bacon famously claimed to have worked with everyone in Holywood, but since then the world has become much more connected. In summer 2012 I went to Linkedin to find that I was 3 removes from Kevin Bacon - 7 people I knew knew someone who knew one of the 142 people he listed as connections. 6 months later I knew 11 people who knew one or more of his 204 connections.

Now in October 2014, Kevin Bacon's status as an icon of networking has been raised by his advertisements for EE, the mobile network. Meanwhile he now has 234 connections - and my third degree connections have jumped to 42.

Bringing Home the Bacon

You may not be looking for a role in Kevin Bacon's next film, but whether you're leaving the armed forces or developing your career options, remember that networking brings you inevitably closer to opportunities. So it's essential to keep building relationships with people you like, admire and can learn from.

Networking is about meeting people and pursuing connections and interesting leads. My advice to everyone whether ex-military or not, is to set up a LinkedIn profile and start to build their community of shared interest. Especially for those leaving the armed forces, this is a very quick way to secure introductions among people who will understand your background, your values and your ability.

And in case of doubt, I'm not stalking Kevin Bacon, or earning commission from LinkedIn!

This is one of a series of posts on useful tools for entrepreneurs leaving the Armed Forces. Here is the full list and links.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

It Couldn't Be Done

I recently came across this poem by Edgar Guest.

It Couldn't Be Done

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

Edgar Guest