Your network can help. But that shouldn’t be the only time they hear from you.
That’s lame, and that’s not the way you’re going to get a good response or much help.
The time you need a hand is not the best time to realize this.
Rather, you should always be active in your network, contributing to your network, and growing your network.
I try to do this as a matter of course. It’s a core competency I try to build as a professional. I encourage you to do the same.
As I reflect back on the past year or so, I realize that I’ve made good progress on this front.
I’ve connected with new friends and colleagues, I’ve reconnected with some old friends. I’ve been pretty good at keeping many connections active.
Most importantly, I’ve contributed to my network. I’ve helped many individuals and groups in a variety of ways. I like to be able to add value. I like to be able to give.
It feels good to contribute. It’s great to see the positive impact I can have on someone’s life or on a group’s drive toward their mission.
Just as important, I’ve expanded my network…in numbers, but I’ve also met many people in new and different disciplines.
Knowing people who have different perspectives and expertise is invaluable. It’s the fastest way to learn, and there is more to offer them because I am as different to them as they are to me.
Crucially, I’ve received tremendous help and support from my network this year. When I’ve asked, people have astounded me with their willingness and ability to help. It’s humbling and inspiring.
Of course, there is always more to do. And my hope is that you will do the same.
Because it’s one of the most important things you can do to support and advance your career. And it’s also one of the best ways that you can hep others.
I encourage you to activate your network, now, before you really need them. Because they need you right now.
Reconnect with old colleagues and meet new people. Find ways to engage. Find ways to help.
Attend meetings of your favorite professional organization. Go to a local meetup. Volunteer to help one of these groups or some other worthy cause.
Get involved. Be a giver. Contribute. You will be able to help somebody right now, and you will have more people that you can turn to when you need them.
Photo credit: Heinrich Plum