“Networking is not about hunting. It’s about farming. It’s about cultivating relationships.”
― Ivan Misner
The Importance of Networking
Valuing my network as my net worth, I invest time and effort to nourish my current relationships and to continuously expand my social circle.
In early 2013, I was working for a start-up biotech company in the San Francisco Bay Area as a process development engineer. Due to the lack of sufficient funding, the company had to cut its monthly cost by reducing the number of employees.
Fortunately, I was one of the few employees that were retained.
The first few months came after were torturous because workers were asked to work long hours in hopes to create tangible results to attract new investors and/or potential buyers.
Initially, I was content with that vision and goal. But slowly, my motivation slowly faded as I didn’t see any progress towards the aggressive goals. The company was shooting in the dark hoping it would get acquired.
Feeling unchallenged and unmotivated, I actively started looking for a new job. My first strategy was to use the shotgun strategy by sending cold resumes to different companies. Although landing interviews, I get satisfactory offers.
As more months passed by without finding a new job, I experienced more misery at work because of my negative views for the company’s senseless direction and underdeveloped leadership.
There were days which I took time off just to volunteer at the local animal shelter to avoid going into work. Feeling desperate, I expanded my job search to nationwide. In the process, I also reached out to my existing professional contacts, including my former manager.
He was and still is one of my respected mentors because of his wide and respectable knowledge in the industry and a person with high integrity. In addition, we also had many things in common such as sharing the same favorite baseball team, enjoys hiking, and values work-life balance.
To express my current situation, I practiced vulnerability and told my former manager about the level of unhappiness and misery I experienced at work. I was on the edge of quitting my job without another job lined up.
After hearing my story, he was extremely proud of me because he truly believes life is meant to enjoyed instead of enslaved to work for money.
Although I didn’t quit my job, he told me if I did, I would soon find a new job. Still actively searching for a job, I came across an opportunity that was a great fit for me. In this new position, I would learn new skills in a leadership role.
Without hesitation, I asked my manager about his thoughts on it. Coincidentally, he was a consultant for that company. He asked me to send him my résumé so he can send it directly to the hiring manager with his recommendations.
The company, in San Diego, contacted me the next day to determine a date for an in-person interview.
After flying me down for the meeting and asking for references the same day, the company offered me the job the following week after checking my sources. And after some negotiation, they also agreed to pay for all my relocation expenses.
That’s when I discovered the importance of maintaining healthy connections with everyone in my network. These are the people who know me well and are willing to put their reputations on the line to help me.
To reciprocate, I must invest time and effort by adding value to them. Valuing my network as my net worth, I want to further deepen my existing connections and to make new ones. Because I trust the power and the strong connection I have with my social circle, I saw their successes as my own.
The Power of Your Network
Trusting my former manager’s judgment and recommendation, my colleagues didn’t hesitate in giving me the opportunity for an interview.
After I was hired, one of my colleagues even told me that interviewing me was unnecessary because he fully trusted my former manager’s referral.
Recommended me for the job, my former manager also put his reputation on the line.
But knowing about my work ethics and previous professional achievements, my former manager had no problems referring me to the position.
It was a win-win situation for me, my former manager, and the company.
The positive results were I got the job, my former manager strengthened his reputation and credibility in the with his network, and the company can now achieve their goals and milestones faster with my help.
Add Value to Your Network
Everyone in your network deserves your attention. And if they don’t, then they shouldn’t be in it.
It’s important to prioritize them by keeping in touch with everyone. Put them as reminders in your calendar (monthly, bi-monthly, etc.) so you don’t forget.
They will appreciate you for making the effort and will set you apart from everyone else. If you want to take this to the next level, you can send them one of the following items based on their love language.
1. Valuable Content
- This can be online articles, podcasts, videos, or pictures you think they will enjoy or benefit. This shows thoughtfulness as it requires knowing their interests, needs, and wants.
2. Handwritten letters
- This shows you truly care because you took the time to write out a personalized letter. This original act will set you apart since many people no longer write handwritten letters. This will put you in a whole new category in their hearts.
- This is a great way to reconnect with them because it allows them to see and hear you, especially if they haven’t seen you in a long time. Strive to keep the videos short and succinct. State clearly in your email the duration of your video so they know in advance.
- This shows even though you’re traveling, you still keep them in mind and they have a special place in your heart. Write a short note on the postcard similar to that of a handwritten letter.
5. Unique Gifts/Souvenirs
- Buying gifts that others want is difficult to do because it requires a great understanding of the other person. But if you can purchase something that they enjoy, it demonstrates you pay attention to them. The mere fact you put thought into buying the gift is what sincerely counts.
Grow and Expand Your Network
Networking is a skill you do for the rest of your life. Everywhere you go is an opportunity to build new relationships.
Places include your local coffee shop, grocery store, or the gym. Take charge, initiate and lead the conversation by adding value to them. It can be simple as smiling and asking them about their day.
Arm yourself with the fundamentals of social dynamics to create meaningful connections with others.
Planes, trains, and buses are some places I have met people who I still have deep and meaningful connections with. Because of them, I have also created many enjoyable and lasting experiences and memories.
No matter where you go, have an open mind and engage with others with the mindset of giving.
That’s because you never know who you’ll meet and the level of impact they could have in your life. After you have created rapport with them, ask for their contact information so you can follow up with them.
To get to know them, invite them to your events and gatherings. Over time, you’ll grow a network of people whose relationships you value and vice versa.
Your network is all of your relationships.
Are they strong that you can ask them for help?
Have you added value to them in the past?
Do you genuinely care about them?
Learn to give without the expectation of anything in return. And when times in needs, others are more inclined to help you when you have already displayed genuinely generosity.
That’s because most people want to help those who they like and trust. Therefore, it’s crucial to dig the well before you’re thirsty.
When you add value to others, they subconsciously keep track of it. However, there are some people who take advantage and don’t give back.
Recognize those “takers” and filter them out from your network. Focus your time and effort on those who do treasure your relationship because it must be mutual.
While deepening your existing network, continue to expand your social circle by creating new connections everywhere you go.
Opportunities are abundant and it’s up to you to create them. Your dream woman, job, client, or business partner is always just one connection away.
Now go out, socialize, and connect.
I am on a mission to help 1,000,000 people, but I can’t do that without your help. Please share this article with anyone who you may think will find it valuable and helpful.
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