EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

When you are out in the middle of the ocean, it is easy to think of the world as being endless. Every direction you look there is only water. (And yes, water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.)

However, the truth is that although over 70% of the earth’s surface is salt water, 30% of the earth’s surface is land. In addition, there are parts of the ocean that are shallow. My point is that things are not always what they seem to be. And, if you allow yourself to think of things as having infinite possibilities, it can hamper your thinking.

In truth, the world is a finite place. To give you some examples, there are only roughly 40,000 members in The FENG. (Perhaps “only” isn’t a good word to use in describing our organization, but stay with me a minute.)

Like the oceans, you can’t drink in that many individuals, nor can you network with that many folks at any one time.

So, what you have to do is learn to divide and conquer. Although all of the 40,000 members of The FENG are potentially available to you, they aren’t all relevant to you. The tool you need to apply to great effect is our Member Directory Search feature. Utilizing this tool, you can take what is an infinite and impossible to use resource and covert it to a finite resource of infinite value.

As a cousin of mine likes to say, there are only 37 people in the world and the rest is done with mirrors. What I mean to suggest by this is anyone’s relevant circle is actually relatively small.

A few years ago a member of our Tax Special Interest Group called to tell me of his problems identifying relevant networking contacts. As I probed his background, it was clear he had a wealth of experience in Private Equity, which in FENG terms is Capital Markets. Looking for the incidence of Tax and Capital Markets yielded about 125 people nationwide. Narrowing his search to just those in the New York City chapter reduced the count to 44, and since he wanted to try to meet these folks, it made sense to only consider this group, at least for his initial pass.

40,000 down to 44. And, this was only on one pass. Mentally considering 40,000 can lead to a brain cramp. Focusing on 44 led to him springing into immediate action.

How you as an individual narrow your world tends to be unique to your own very personal circumstances. If you are a High Technology/Information Technology type in Houston, that’s only 40 members out of a chapter of roughly 1,250. 40 is not only finite, it is manageable.

Just as birds of a feather flock together and apples don’t fall far from trees, viewing the world in finite terms allows you to focus your energies on specific issues instead of flailing like a drowning man in the middle of the ocean.

Your survival in an ocean of unemployment depends on the development of your inner circle of friends. You can’t meet everyone, and you can’t be relevant and/or helpful to everyone.

You can, however, be a gift to those who bear some resemblance to your areas of expertise. Networking is a two way street. You have to give to get. And, you get when you give.

I hope these thoughts will help you to better utilize the one finite resource in our lives, time itself.

Regards, Matt

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