Much has been written about networking, its importance in advancing our careers, expanding horizons, and elevating our connection universe. Most are familiar with such networking opportunities as meetups, exchanging business cards at trade and social events and the granddaddy of them all – LinkedIn. But how many of us actually take advantage of all of these? And if we’re not, why not? As the saying goes, you reap what you sow, and that’s especially true when it comes to networking.
While you never know exactly where the network leads, it’s usually someplace helpful and productive. So let me suggest that you open up your Network Savings Account. Why Savings account? Think of it as an investment that pays dividends down the road. But unlike depositing cash, you just need to deposit your time that you spend working on building your network. Let me share my personal story of how networking paid dividends for me.
About a year ago, I moved to South Florida where I knew virtually no one. I was looking to take a step back from working with the company I was with, but didn’t want to completely retire. But one can only play so much golf. I was looking forward to doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.
Consulting seemed like a good way to go. My LinkedIn connections exceed 2000 so I posted what I was looking to do. Shortly thereafter a number of consulting opportunities came my way along with an invitation to join a speaking group. I met with the inviter and he suggested I write a book to give me “street cred” for garnering speaking engagements. Not having a clue on how to go about doing that, he put me in touch with a publicist and I found an editor through Upwork. The publicist in turn has put me in touch with Money Inc and the rest, as they say, is history. Now my shameless book plug – “Don’t Be a Schmeckle” available on Amazon.
To further illustrate how even starting a small network can grow rapidly, I submit the “shrinking world theory,” also known as six degrees of separation. The theory is all living things and everything else in the world are six or fewer steps away from each other so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. Numerous studies including those done by MIT, Columbia University and Microsoft have confirmed the theory as being accurate. When thought of in those terms, you can appreciate how small the world truly is.
So what are you waiting for? Start making those deposits in your network savings account and watch how quickly it can start paying dividends and lead to compounding when you reinvest your dividends while the quality of your contacts rises similar to a stock price increasing while your dividend adds more of that stock to your portfolio. Reinvest and it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving . . . and compounding.