Don’t Be a Stranger, Create Your Own Luck with Larry Perkins | PoP 517

Image of Larry Perkins, author of Don't Be a Stranger, speaking with Joe Sanok on his podcast for therapists about fostering relationships and staying top of mind

How can you start the process to create meaningful and genuine connections within your work environment? Can these genuine connections set you apart from the crowd in the business world? What can you do to deepen your relationships with fellow colleagues in your life to improve and elevate your work experience?

In this therapist podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Larry Perkins about fostering relationships and in turn creating your own luck.

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Meet Larry Perkins

Image of Larry Perkins speaking on the therapist podcast about creating relationships and not being a stranger.

Larry founded what is now SierraConstellation Partners at age twenty-nine with few connections and very little capital. Lawrence grew SCP into a nationwide management consulting group serving nearly 100 large companies in their times of most dire need.

Today, Larry is a recognized industry leader who’s spoken at major industry conferences and has been cited by The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The New York Times, CNN, CNBC, and The Washington Post. Outside of work, Lawrence spends as much time as he can with his wife and daughter while still pursuing his diverse interests ranging from reading and writing to singing and dancing to cooking and running.

Visit his website, connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • You won’t build a life with people who help you by actively working harder
  • If you’re top of mind, you skip the line
  • Every conversation you enjoy is inherently valuable
  • Relationships aren’t trophies
  • Use the intimacy scale to determine the best form of communication

You won’t build a life with people who help you by actively working harder

Larry discusses the importance of building interpersonal relationships within your workspace and how these can help you to stand out from the crowd in a meaningful way, instead of you only working the same hours as everyone else is.

Ultimately what I realized is that he had the relationships to help him bring in the business, and of course he was really good at his job, but he had found a way to leverage his relationships and his intellect into a way that made a much happier life than kind of what I was doing, which was kind of grinding away at the hours as I was doing my job. (Larry Perkins)

If you’re top of mind, you skip the line

The average working person knows hundreds of people throughout their profession, and when someone is asking for referrals, a person will refer you if they are close to you or if you are at the forefront, or near the forefront, in their mind.

You can deliberately keep in contact with your connections to maintain your position in their thoughts so that if, and when, a referral comes up, they will think of you sooner rather than later and put your name forward.

By reaching out to fellow colleagues, or aspiring connections, you maintain an open-ended conversation that does not require anything on their part, merely affirmation and goodwill, and these go a long way in the business world.

Every conversation you enjoy is inherently valuable

Every time you have a conversation with someone and there is an exchange of information, it benefits you both, because sometimes you do not need a direct business referral but perhaps a recommendation for a good dentist in your area.

Consider opening up conversations with people at conferences or online seminars that vary in topic, and you can find interesting information that helps you or connects you with other people.

This links to the above point of being top of mind with people because through these more genuine human connections that surpass the working barrier, you can create and continue an open-ended relationship as it develops into both a friendship and a working relationship.

Relationships aren’t trophies

Do not hoard your relationships or friendships with high-flying successful people over others. If you can create and give out connections, do so, because everybody benefits from good connections.

Use the intimacy scale to determine the best form of communication

There are different levels of intimacy, and throughout the development of your work relationship your intimacy may deepen, however, do not start off too intense. Start with a friendly email or a text message to build the relationship and elevate it from a work environment, slowly, towards a more genuine friendship.

If you are introverted:

  • Start this intimacy development with people you already know in your life. Through deliberate, friendly actions you can compound the kind messages into a friendship.

Books by Larry Perkins

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE]:
I don’t know about you but when it comes to business stuff, I knew nothing when I started my private practice, I mean, I had read a book or two. But when it came to the business of running a private practice, I had no idea what I was doing. That’s why I started Killin’It Camp. This year, we had over 30 speakers at Killin’It Camp, we have over 20 hours of recordings to help you get to that next level. It’s broken up into three different sections. They’re all about equal in length. The first one is pillars of practice. These are 25 minute quick sessions focused on things that are most essential for you to be able to level up your practice. Second, we have scaling your practice, these are 55 minute sessions, all about scaling your practice, adding clinicians, getting to that next level. And third, we have multiple streams of income. These are ways to go beyond just your clinical work. We’re talking ecourses, podcasts, all sorts of things that help you go so much farther beyond just your clinical work. If you want access to over 20 hours of focused training, go over to killinitcamp.com. Again, that’s killinitcamp.com. Over there, you’re going to get access for only $197 to over 20 hours of training. And you’ll get future discounts on Killin’It Camp tickets. So sign up today before this deal ends.

This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok. Session number 517.

Well, it’s so exciting to be doing this podcast while we’re here on the road. And you know, it’s interesting because back home, I could leave all my podcasting stuff all set up. And now I can’t, we’re living out of this camper. And right now this microphone is sitting on my bed, and I have foam kind of all around it to reduce the sounds. As I started recording just now I heard a beep in the background, which means that the refrigerator for some reason isn’t getting electricity or gas, I have the AC off even though we’re in Arizona, and it’s like eighty, let’s see how many degrees, it’s only 81 degrees here inside the camper. But you know this, this is life, we’re living on the road, we are experiencing just really as much as we can try to experience. Every day, it feels like our girls have this awe-inspiring moment where they see a mountain or they see a new animal they’ve never seen, or our youngest, Laken, when we left Michigan, she said I want to see a cactus. And boy, Arizona’s got some cacti. We went to one of the desert museums recently, and they have this cactus garden where they have all these different kinds of cactus and to just see kids explode with wonder is just so exciting. And you know, we’re talking about all this on the Leave to Find podcast, which is our family adventure podcast.

But today we’re talking about don’t be a stranger and creating your own luck. And it’s interesting when you know, at least kind of the culture here in parks, in these RV parks is very similar to college. When you’re in college, you have those kind of basic first couple of questions to get you going, where like in college, it was, you know, where are you from? And what are you majoring in? And here you know, you see your neighbor, and you know, hey, where are you from? Oh, I’m from Pittsburgh. Oh, awesome. We’re from Michigan. Oh, yeah, we’re neighbors and you have something to talk about. Whereas, you know, when you’re back home, you don’t really go up to strangers and say, so where are you from? There’s just this kind of commonality, you know, our neighbors on one side, it’s a single mom with four kids who’s been on the road for two and a half years. And she said they’re probably going to keep going to the five year mark at least. And just meeting these really interesting people who are doing life differently. I love getting to know strangers. And you know, of course, social distancing, and making sure you have that space and being safe and all that. But we’re such social creatures. And so today I’m so excited about Larry Perkins talking about don’t be a stranger and what you can do to create your own luck. So without any further ado, here’s Larry.

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[JOE]:
Today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Larry Perkins. Larry founded what is now Sierra Constellation Partners and at the age of 29, with very few connections and little capital. Larry grew SCP into a nationwide management consulting group, serving nearly 100 large companies in their times of most dire need. Today, Larry is recognized as an industry leader, who’s spoken with major conferences, has been cited by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNN, CNBC and The Washington Post. Larry, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.

[LARRY]:
Thanks for having me, Joe.

[JOE]:
Yeah, well, I’d love to start, you’ve written a book recently, and I want to get into that, but first, I want to hear a little bit more about your work with major corporations. And how did that work kind of lead into this book? Tell us a little bit about that backstory.

[LARRY]:
Yeah, sure thing. I mean, it all starts probably like, as many of the people listening, I mean, it starts with, you know, an entrepreneurial bug and ultimately an entrepreneurial journey whereby, you know, at 29, you know, decided that I was sick of working for other folks and decided that, you know, I’m going to take a shot at doing this on my own. And that’s all, that’s all fine and well, and, you know, it occurred to me, you know, what I call in my, you know, late 20s, existential crisis, you know, I’d just gotten a job in a firm that I had really been trying to get a job at for a long time, you know, a really high-end firm. And then I realized one day while I was out for a jog, that, you know, this just wasn’t for me. And you have this, this moment where you’re kind of saying, oh, my gosh, what do I do?

So, you know, the way I joke about it is kind of the reverse narrative is a lot cleaner than what it was at the time, you know, at the time, it was just, you know, hey, let’s give this a try and see if it works. And if it doesn’t work, I’ll try something else type of thing. In retrospect, that works; it’s a very elegant story. But at the time, it was kind of like, oh, shoot, I’m sick of doing this. Let me just try it for myself. So you know, you do all the things you think you need to do, you know, you go get your business cards, you get a little office, you do all those sorts of things. And then you start there on the first day, and you’re like, oh, my God, I need someone to pay me for these services that I purport to be able to do, who’s gonna do that? So, all of a sudden, it kind of clicked into the fact that, you know, the phone’s not gonna ring itself. You know, I’ve been reasonably successful so far in my career, but I was still just a kid. And I’m not that much older now. I’m only 43 now. But it was one of those things. Oh, yeah, I gotta get someone to know that I’m out there. And that’s what ultimately started this whole journey that led to, you know, SCP’s success along the way. But it also yielded this book that’s out there, which basically codifies that philosophy that was formed out of desperation, you know, all those years ago. So I guess that’s the penny summary of kind of how we got started.

[JOE]:
Yeah, no, I would love to kind of hear a little bit more, you’ve got five main points in the book. And the first one is [unclear] build a life with people who actively help you by working harder. How’d you realize that? Give us some examples of people implementing that, maybe stories or applications of that idea?

[LARRY]:
100%. Yeah, I mean, the first, you know, the first thing I noticed is, you know, coming out of school, I’m an ambitious young guy. You know, I’m working for a big firm, I was working at Arthur Andersen at the time. It’s defunct at this point, but at that point, you know, it’s a very high-end, prestigious consulting firm. And I was there and you know, working, you know, get in the morning at seven o’clock and leave at 11 o’clock every night, you know, just really busting my hump, to do what we were doing. And what I noticed was my boss at the time, this great guy, his name was John. You know, he’d kind of stroll in around nine o’clock, and he’d go to a long lunch. And then he’d, you know, what seemed like to me at the time, was just kind of chit-chatting with his buddies on the phone. And he had this very pronounced laugh. So I’d hear him laugh through the cubicle walls, and just like, what is this guy doing all day? And then he’d, you know, then he’d go play golf in the afternoon or do something like that, like, oh, my gosh, like, how do I do that? He, you know, he doesn’t seem to be, you know, chained to his desk kind of working away, you know, on red eyes going across the country and doing all that sort of stuff. Like, what is it that he has that I don’t. And what I realized was, you know, he had the relationships to help bring in the business. And, of course, he was really good at his job. But he had found a way to leverage his relationships and his intellect into a way that made for what was really a much happier life than kind of what I was doing just kind of grinding away the hours as I was kind of doing my job. So I think that was probably the most specific takeaway.

You know, along the way, it became apparent because you get these kind of little, you know, suggestions of things that are affirming this, this theory. And I remember, I talked about it in the book at one point, but, you know, we had a big client at the time was, you know, a giant engineering firm, international. And we finished the first part of the project. And then, you know, the second part of the project was to come up and, you know, we were bidding for the work and it was a big contract. And I was a 22 year old kid, I was just kind of the baby on the team, on a team of 20 people. But I remember at that point, the CEO who was in touch with my boss at that time, said, yeah, we want to give you the assignment, but we want you to bring the burrito guy, and the burrito guy was me because what I would do is I’d always find the best place to go get a burrito and bring them back for the team for lunch. And I was good at my job too. And I could do my spreadsheets and analysis and everything else that everyone has to do in their job but what they really took away is that I was establishing relationships beyond just the strength of my back and the ability to do this work but I added some value some other way and what that was was bringing burritos, which is something everyone can do if you like burritos, but that was the thing, that really made a big deal because there’s 20 people on the team and they want the boss and they want the most junior guy but the reason they want the most junior guy is because yeah, of course I was good at my job but at the end of it it was because they liked me and I you know, I added a little bit of, you know, at worst, burritos, butat best, levity along the way to kind of make the whole thing work. So that was a really informative lesson for me along the way.

[JOE]:
You know, that reminds me of Gordon Brewer who has the Practice of Therapy podcast. And he’s spoken at a bunch of our conferences we’ve put on and my wife, Christina, will always ask, if she’s coming along to an in person conference, is Gordon going to be there? And Gordon is a great fun guy, but he always brings bourbon. And my wife loves bourbon. And, you know, the two of them sit and drink bourbon and have like, they just laugh so much. And he’s just such a fun, unassuming guy that knows his stuff. And people, everybody loves Gordon. And I feel like, those are the kind of people that really are successful, because they aren’t just like, let’s get down to business, and they’re just fun to be around.

[LARRY]:
I think that’s right. I mean, it sounds like Gordon employs a lot of the same tactics. But you know, at the end of it, at a certain point, everyone’s good at their job, right? You know, I’m good at my job. But there’s probably 1000 other people that are good at their job, just like me, but at the end of it, someone’s gonna call me or refer business to me because A, they like me, they trust me, of course, I’m competent, right? Okay, that’s an assumption, I call it don’t be an empty suit, you know, you have to be able to do your job. And assuming you’re good, then you have to find a way to differentiate beyond what’s good. And well, I wish the world was a pure meritocracy. I just don’t think that’s the case always. I mean, I think the cream rises to the top. And the people that are more successful or better at their job will ultimately get more work. But what I’m trying to do is kind of hack the system more than anything else. You know, of course, word of mouth works, but it takes a long time. And if you’re impatient, maybe ambitious, it’s a way to kind of hack through that whole process. And that’s what I really I’m trying to get through with the book.

[JOE]:
Yeah. So your second major point is, if you’re top of mind, you skip the line. Tell us more about that.

[LARRY]:
Yeah, and this is really the kind of the guts of the book and what I mean by that is, you know, let’s pretend that the referral sources for your customer base, you know, they probably know half a dozen therapists, maybe they know 20 therapists, right, but the one, you know, when someone gets asked for a recommendation for something, in my world, it’s like a lawyer. Right? I probably know 1000 lawyers, right, and some are corporate lawyers, and some are litigators or whatever they may be. But in any bucket, there’s probably 100 people that I know. So what I mean by that, when you’re top of mind, you skip the line, what that really means is, the person I’m probably gonna think of is either A, someone who I’m really close with, right, so there’s this notion. And Malcolm Gladwell talks about this, there’s this concept called Dunbar’s Number, which is this idea that there’s kind of 150 things you can keep sorted in your head. And it’s a pretty high minded concept. But what I take away from it is, I can basically keep track of 150 people kind of organically with my brain, but there’s, you know, 3000-4000 people in my contact book.

So for me to kind of tap into which lawyer should I refer to, it’s either going to be one of those people, one of those 150 people in those brain, but that’s also clouded with my, you know, my tennis teacher, and my wife, and my kids, my dad and all the other people that are in my life, or I could think of the person that I had lunch with yesterday, or shot me a text yesterday asked me about the Dodger game, or, you know, was interested in bourbon, or whatever it may be. And those people kind of hack your way into being top of mind. And I spend a lot of time being very deliberate about that. And what I mean by that is, you know, I will deliberately, once a week, once a month, whatever period of time for the depth of the relationship, just kind of try and plumb my way into somebody’s brain. And it’s not sending a big fancy spam message about how great I am, or all the things I’m doing, but it’s trying to connect on a human level, and just saying, you know, hey, Jeff, we haven’t talked for a long time, you know, how’s COVID? How are you reacting? How’s your family doing? Hope you’re well, no occasion, you know, thanks. And inevitably, someone could say, hey, thanks for thinking of me. And hopefully, they’re like, you know, I was just talking to someone and they need your services. You know, that’s kind of the holy grail of what you’re talking about. But you’re just kind of reminding them that you’re alive at any given point. And, and that’s what ultimately skips the line, if you can always be top of mind with someone, then you’re going to get the call when someone else may just not be top of mind. So, that’s what I really try and get through with that.

[JOE]:
Now, so I’ve got the cell phone numbers of several kind of bigger time podcasters, where I’ve met them a couple times, we texted a little bit about maybe a topic, but then it just the relationship didn’t become a relationship, they would be acquaintances at best. I mean, what would you, I don’t want to be annoying, I don’t want to be that guy that’s like trying to use someone because they wrote a big book, or they’re a big podcaster. But I also see the value that I could give to them, and they could give to me, what would you recommend in a situation like that?

[LARRY]:
Yeah, great, great question. And I keep it at the right level. I mean, I have a high tolerance for what I call buddies versus friends. You know, I call friends the people are gonna, you know, God forbid, bail me out of jail if I ever get in trouble. And that’s a very small group with me, right. But there’s an awful lot of people that I know that I’m friendly with. We’ve chit chatted, you know, we’re not deep, dark friends. It’s not something that is terribly profound, but you know, I’m in the business, they’re in the business, you know, we can hopefully make a little bit of money together, we could do whatever we want to do. So in a situation like that, you know, I just would periodically reach out to whoever it is and say, hey, Joe, I really liked your podcast last week, it was really good. No occasion, just thinking of you, hope that maybe we can collaborate sometime, you know, terribly innocuous, doesn’t really mean anything, doesn’t even warrant a response necessarily. But you know, you’re affirming something that they do. I mean, unless they have millions of people listening, they probably don’t get 20 texts like that every day, you know, they can take the five seconds to say, hey, Joe, thanks for reaching out to me. I appreciate it. Love the feedback, let me know if there’s anything I can do for you. And then that opens up a conversation.

And again, you’re not asking for anything, you’re not asking for too much. You’re just kind of helping them, you know, even better, you know, if you have something that you can offer them, it’s like, hey, I was here, I was listening to this thing. And it really made me think of you, maybe this is something you could do for your show, you’re kind of offering ideas or trying to do something that’s out there. So I don’t keep, it’s nothing profound, it’s nothing uncomfortable. I hate that feeling of like, I’m a pain in the neck. And I actually avoid that. I don’t want to be, in Hebrew or Yiddish, they call it being a nudge, I don’t want to be a nudge, you know, you want to kind of be the person that’s just kind of helpful. Again, at worst, it’s pleasant. You know, that’s what I’m trying to be. I’m not trying to do anything too profound.

[JOE]:
Well, I think that kind of leads into your third point, which is every conversation you enjoy is inherently valuable. What do you mean there?

[LARRY]:
I mean, you know, what’s a good way to think of it, you know, pre COVID, obviously, when you’re going to conferences, or dinners or meeting people along the way, and you could have a conversation about anything, you could be talking about basketball, you could be talking about books, you could be talking about a podcast you like, whatever it may be. And you think about those things, you remember those things, at least in my business, there’s kind of a randomness to it. And for what it’s worth, I think that’s in everything business. But also, even in personal relationships, there’s always a randomness to things like, maybe you need a good dentist, maybe you need a good dry cleaner, maybe you need a good tailor, whatever it may be. There’s all these things that are out there in the world. And if you just have a pleasant conversation with someone, you open up that relationship, there’s some way that you’re going to be able to help that person in the world.

Maybe it’s not providing consulting services, or providing therapy or providing anything else. But maybe you can tell them, it came up in conversation that you really like spending a lot of time in Wisconsin, right, and you know the right Steakhouse to go to in Wisconsin. And that comes up because they’re going to Wisconsin, you remember having a conversation about Wisconsin, you reach out to that person and say, hey, I’m going to Milwaukee next week and, you know, I’m wondering, I remember you went to school out there, anything I should be thinking about? And it’s just, it’s just a way to keep that door open. And again, the whole goal is just staying Top of Mind with as many people as possible. There’s no harm, no foul in doing something like that.

[JOE]:
Yeah, yeah, I think about who I’ve genuinely connected with versus when it’s felt like they just want to connect with me because I’m a podcaster, for whatever reason, it’s almost always just enjoyable conversations that go beyond your typical conversations about how we choose to live our lives, or just interesting things that we’re into. And I think on a human level, we all want that as well. And so just kind of taking that into our businesses, and not even necessarily saying I’m doing this just as a strategy to get more business, but because I want to connect with more people as well.

[LARRY]:
Yeah, well, I hate feeling used, you know, I hate that feeling of when you know, now that we’ve achieved some level of success, you know, I get kind of sales people calling me all the time. And, and it’s one of those things it’s just so annoying. I mean, you think about the LinkedIn things, everyone gets 1000s of LinkedIn things, and half of them are probably robots, but at the same time, you know, it’s like, hey, can I sell you stock brokerage services? Or can I do…? One of the ones we get now like all these like, website testing [unclear]? Like, I don’t even know what that is half the time.

[JOE]:
Yeah. It’s like, I just got a message from you. Like, I don’t even know who you are. You didn’t even have the courtesy to be like, hey, Joe, I like your podcast.

[LARRY]:
Yeah. And they don’t even do any research. Like, sometimes it’ll be like, oh, like, I know, other financial advisors like you. It’s like, I don’t even do that. Like, did you even like bother changing the copy of your message? It’s bizarre to me, but you get the idea, I hate being sold to. And I mean, just the overarching philosophy is, I think any business person has to play kind of the long game, you know, you’re not going to get married after the first date type of thing. You know, you have to play this relationship game of just saying, you know, things may work out down the road. In my world, if someone refers me business twice in my lifetime, that’s great. You know, it’s a good relationship. You know, I have some that will refer a lot more than that. But at the end of the day, you know, you never know where things are gonna come from. And I think there’s a randomness of life, which A makes things interesting, but B, you know, you have to spread your message widely is, I guess, the takeaway from that.

[JOE]:
Yeah.

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[JOE]:
I’m so excited about one of our Podcast Launch Schoolers podcasts that just started. Betsy Bylers new podcast, the All Things Substance podcast is the place for therapists to hear about substance abuse from a mental health perspective. Betsy Byler is on a mission to help her fellow therapists gain the skills and confidence needed to add substance use to their scope of practice. Each episode, Betsy brings you information on substance abuse topics that impact our work, helping you gain knowledge and confidence. So listen to the All Things Substance podcast on your favorite podcast player.

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[JOE]:
Yeah, well, your next point in the book is that relationships aren’t trophies, which I think kind of goes along with what we’re talking about. Tell us a little bit more about that. Any, any stories that made that kind of truth come to light for you?

[LARRY]:
Yeah, I mean, you know, there’s this kind of name droppy type aspect that some people get where they kind of hoard relationships. And they lord them over people. And, and I think, I think that’s the opposite of what you should do. I mean, I think you should share your relationship. I have this, I’m kind of a little bit of a math geek but I have this concept in there called the transitive property of guys. And what I mean by guys is not guys necessarily, could be guys, gals, whoever it may be. But the idea is that, you know, I love that expression where you know, I’ve got a guy, you know, I’ve got a good, I’ve got a good tennis stringing guy, I’ve got a good barbecue guy, I’ve got a good whatever it may be, I like being able to share those things. I mean, I think it helps. I think it helps the other person, it helps my “guy” on the other side.

But when you talk about things as a trophy, it’s when people hoard them, they think that there’s not something that they can share with the world. But I think, in general, people like to be connected. And if you can get a warm introduction, saying, hey, you know, I was just, I was just in need of a good therapist, you know, I’m looking for a therapist, you know, I know that’s a little bit different, because sometimes people get a little bit squirmy sharing that stuff. I don’t. But it’s kind of those things like, hey, I’ve got a great guy, you should talk to my guy. And that’s the opposite of being a trophy, right? It’s not something you hoard and look at and hold precious, right? It’s something that you share with the world.

[JOE]:
Yeah. I love that. That idea that, I got a guy, I got a girl, I got somebody that can help you in that area. There’s something about being able to help others and be the person that later on, oh, my gosh, thank you for that referral. That was amazing. That person helped me out. Like our marriage therapist that we go see. Unfortunately, she’s always full. I haven’t told her to listen to my podcast, because I don’t want her to raise her rates, but she really should. Because there’s all these amazing people we keep sending to her that then they’re like she’s full. Ah, but you know, when people do get into see her, it helps their marriages. And so oh, yeah, it feels good to help your friends or to help people with things when you can say I have a person that can help you in that area.

[LARRY]:
And sometimes it’s not even I mean, that’s a great example of how you’re helping someone who’s kind of in your little ecosystem of the world. But it can be I mean, my daughter needs a recommendation to school. Great. That’s a great way to help someone. You know, I’m looking for tickets to a game. Yeah, I may know a guy who could help you on that. Hey, I don’t know where to go to lunch in this neighborhood. I can help you with that. I mean, there’s lots of ways to help people that are just, I mean, I don’t think it’s being kind of creepy or, you know, you’re just being helpful. And I think that’s just if you help people, then they think of you more, and they think of you more they’ll call you more about work. And I think that there’s just this kind of mutually beneficial kind of cycle that comes out of that. And I think that’s a big part of what I try and focus on.

[JOE]:
Yeah, well, your final point is use the intimacy scale to determine the best form of communication. So tell us about the intimacy scale, you kind of referenced that earlier on in the interview. Talk a little bit more about that, and help us kind of understand how to break down the best form of communication.

[LARRY]:
Yeah, I mean, I typically, what I mean by that is, you know, that I feel like there’s at least in my world, it’s different for everyone, different generations. You know, I feel like there’s different levels of intimacy, there’s kind of the innocuous kind of business email, which is kind of safe for everybody from my standpoint, but then there’s, you know, of course, there’s texting, there’s telephone calls, there’s going to dinner, there’s lunches, there’s coffees, again, all pre COVID. You know, there’s going on vacations together as a group, you know, there’s all sorts of things to do that. But I think on on balance, where I try and keep it is, you know, kind of keep it at the level there where you are, you know, I think, I think people generally, you know, elevate naturally, it’s like, you know, if you’re talking to someone on emails, like, hey, we should get together for lunch at some point, or socially distant, whatever it may be at this point, you know, and there’s kind of an evolution of a relationship where you’re just kind of chit-chatting with someone, and then it evolves into the next level, but you don’t want to force it. Um, you don’t want to say you meet someone at a random conference, say, hey, you know what, we should all go on vacation together. That’s just weird, right? You don’t want to be the weirdo.

But if that turns it, I mean, people I go on vacation with now, at one point, we’re just email correspondents, people along the road, and then it kind of elevated along the way, maybe we worked together, maybe we find that we have common interests, kids are in the same schools, blah, blah, blah, whatever it may be. And then all of a sudden, we’re going on vacation a year later, because you know, we’re all friends. And I think you just want to be mindful of. It’s something you talked about, Joe, is you don’t want to be that kind of creepy guy who’s kind of pushing too hard at the beginning, you know, trying to kind of plumb your way too aggressively. I think A, that’s uncomfortable for me. I just don’t like that feeling of, you know, I don’t want to bring my wife and daughter on vacation with someone I don’t really know. You know, you kind of want to elevate naturally. But if you’re talking to someone on email and then they shoot you a text message, hey, the door is open. Or if you feel like you’re bold enough to shoot a text message, like, hey, man, I was watching this thing on TV, was just thinking of you. I mean, that’s not terribly innocuous, I mean, it’s not terribly controversial.

And there’s also things on the relativity scale. You’re having trouble with your wife, that’s probably not something you say to somebody. But hey, I just read a really interesting spy novel, that’s something that you can share, and no one’s really going to be offended by that and just kind of helps elevate and push along the relationship in an organic way.

[JOE]:
Yeah, well, you know, for people that are more introverted, I think that they often, and that’s a lot of I think the therapists that listen, they hear this, they go great. You extroverts want us to go form connections, and text people and all that, what would you say to them are some kind of first steps to take, that would help them feel like they’re still being authentic to themselves, and maybe their introversion, and they’re also applying what you’re talking about?

[LARRY]:
Sure, so I actually test out on the introvert scale. So contrary to probably as I’m talking to people that are listening to you, a lot of people don’t believe that, but it is how I’m kind of oriented. The way to make it easiest is to make it with people to start this with people that you already know and like, right? I feel like there’s this belief, and I hate the word networking, but it’s what people kind of lump this into. There’s this belief that you have to, it’s like the cold handshake at a cocktail party where you don’t know anybody. And I think that’s the last place to start. I mean, you already know hundreds of people, I don’t care who you are, the most introverted person on earth knows tons of people, it could be their former colleagues, their former classmates, their former students, whatever it may be, you can stay in touch with those people. And if you’re deliberate about it, there’s kind of a compounding effect that comes out of it. And, and that’s where I want to start, you’re not starting with this awkward cold email, you’re just going back to someone that you meant to stay in touch with and you just forgot, right?

I have hundreds of people, I’m good at this, I have hundreds of people that I just forgot to stay in touch with. And if I’m feeling so inclined, I’ll just go back and say, you know, I just forgot to stay in touch with you. I enjoyed our conversation. Let’s uh, we’d love to catch up with you at some point, hope you’re well, nothing urgent. An email like that to someone, especially you used to work with them or have some level of kind of a close relationship. Everybody has people that they’ve fallen out of touch with. And it wasn’t because there was a falling out or a blow up or anything weird like that. It was just, you know, you fell out of touch, stuff happens, life happens. And just reaching back out to those people. That’s, with the introverts, that’s where you start, you just start with a friend who fell out of touch with.

[JOE]:
Oh, that’s great advice. Larry, the last question I always ask is, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?

[LARRY]:
It’s not as hard as you think. And the other thing I take away is, you know, 10 is better than five, you know, five is better than four, four is better than three, but one is better than zero, just start with one, try it, you know, don’t take my word for it, you just reach out to one person, and they’re not going to bite your head off. I mean, I think in doing this 1000s and 1000s of times over the course of my career, very rare. I mean, maybe once or twice, if someone says, you know, I don’t have time for you. People just don’t do that. You know, it’s not social media when you’re actually interacting with someone on a one on one basis.

[JOE]:
And if they do that, they probably aren’t the people you want to be around. Like, if you reach out to them, and they’re like, bite your head off, like, good, that revealed who they are. And so just pushing yourself to do it is such great advice. Well, Larry, if people want to connect with you, if they want to get your book, if they want to read more about it, what are the best ways for them to connect with you, follow your work, get the book?

[LARRY]:
Sounds good. There’s a website for the book. It’s called don’tbeastrangerbook.com. And that has, you know, where you get the book, speaking stuff where you can find me, I’m also on LinkedIn, I don’t do too much other social media right now, just because I think social media scares me in general but I’m on LinkedIn. My name is Lawrence Perkins, and you can typically track me down through LinkedIn there. But the book website or there is probably the best ways.

[JOE]:
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.

[LARRY]:
Great, I appreciate it.

________________________________________

[JOE]:
Well, thanks so much for listening to this episode. One of the big things, we don’t have a sponsor today. Well, I guess we do, but it’s Killin’It Camp. So if you want to get access to the Killin’It Camp archive from this year, so many amazing speakers. I mean, we’ve got a whole day of talks on pillars of practice, these quick hit 25 minutes sessions, from amazing speakers like Gordon Brewer, Jessica Tappana. And then we’ve got longer ones that are on group practice, 55 minutes sessions, and then 55 minutes sessions that are all on levelling up and multiple streams of income. So you’re gonna want to grab that, it’s only $197 right now, and we are going to be continuing to promote that for a bit here. But we want to make sure that you grab that access and it’s self-paced. You can watch these at your own pace, so head on over to killinitcamp.com to grab a copy of that today.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music; we really like it. This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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