What 5 Minutes a Day Can Do for Your Career

Jen Adams here, kicking off our third day together with a special secret from Adam Rifkin, who Fortune magazine refers to as America’s “Best Networker.”

His secret is responsible for building him one of the most admired networks in Silicon Valley, where he’s a well-known entrepreneur and advisor.

And, the best part? It takes only five minutes a day.

So, what does Adam Rifkin do that others don’t?

He does one small five-minute favor for someone else daily.

It’s a habit he’s cultivated over the years. Just one small action – the kind of thing that can be completed while you wait in line at the grocery store … as you sit in traffic … or as you’re on the way out of a party.

But these actions have added up over the years into a stream of circulating information, introductions, and goodwill that have amplified his career – and the careers of others. In fact, Rifkin’s action became the centerpiece of a Wharton Business School study and book by Adam Grant, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success.

The book is fascinating as it tries to figure out why Rifkin’s strategy gets results. Some say it’s pure reciprocity – I do something for you, you do something for me. Yet researchers note that Rifkin does all his favors with no expectation of something owed back to him. As a result, he’s creating deeper, stronger relationship and friendship ties than simple IOUs would provide – and that’s what makes it work.

So, what exactly does he do? In an interview with Forbes magazine, he highlighted six tasks:

  1. Use a product and offer concise, vivid and helpful feedback.
  2. Introduce two people with a well-written email, citing a mutual interest.
  3. Read a summary and offer crisp and concrete feedback.
  4. Serve as a relevant reference for a person, product, or service.
  5. Share, comment or retweet something on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+ or other social places.
  6. Write a short, specific and laudatory note to recognize or recommend someone on LinkedIn, Yelp, or other social place.

Source: Forbes Pay It Forward

There’s nothing on his list that’s rocket science … and nothing on that list that wouldn’t be greatly appreciated by the person receiving the favor. Plus, there’s no denying that these favors trigger a ripple effect of positive action daily.

So, for today’s action step, take a page out of Rifkin’s playbook and do a genuine-but-small favor for someone else.

Try commenting on a great article someone shared on Facebook – favor #5. Introduce two friends who may not have met yet – favor #2. Give thoughtful feedback on an article in progress – favor #3. Or even leave a special recommendation, endorsement, or positive note for someone publicly – favor #6.

Share what you’ve decided to do in the comments. Let’s see what we can start. And then tomorrow, I’ll show you how to follow-up on your actions to keep a chain of goodwill growing in your life.

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Published: May 28, 2014

10 Responses to “What 5 Minutes a Day Can Do for Your Writing Career”

  1. I try to do something nice for someone without taking credit for it. I try to pass along something nice to brighten my friends' day. I pass along information of awareness of a situation where maybe somebody will see and can help. I tell my husband every day how much he means to me. When someone does something good for me, I pay it forward!

    Willow Rose

  2. Great tip. Sounds like the basis for all social media networking. I re-discovered this recently. We all love being appreciated, which is what a short note does.

    George Austin

  3. Hi Jen, Let me practice the wonderful activity you suggest by complimenting you and the entire AWAI team for providing encouragement and encouraging persistence in the copywriting coursework.
    It's more challenging than I anticipated, but I'm following an earlier recommendation made in the AWAI materials: Keep Moving Ahead. And that's what I'm doing...
    Dr. Ben

    Guest (Dr Ben)

  4. Your tips are always sound and make sense. It is important to actually do the work to make it work. Thanks for all you do.

    Guest (Diane Knaus)

  5. I LOVE THE WAY ALL OF WRITING I SEE I HOPE AND PRAY THAT I GET TO BE THAT GOOD OR BETTER SO I WILL BE JOINING YOU ALL IN THE BIG LEAGUES ONE DAY SO I CAN GET THEIR SOON I WILL READING EVERYTHING I KIND ON BEING A GOOD COPYWRITER

    pandora

  6. I found eleven unusual pictures of yoga students in that each person had been given supports by her instructor. A blanket or multiple blankets, multiple foam slabs, a body-sized wooden arch for lying on, and ropes, wood or foam blocks, another person -- all these are used as supports.
    Amy, a yoga teacher in our network, conducts very small classes so that she can devote careful attention to placing supports exactly as needed. I hope these pictures will help her.

    Guest (Dave)


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