On Building a Network
Building a network is not about attending the hottest conferences, having the perfect social media tool, or having that one respected thought leader retweet your message. Simply put,
Networking is about finding ways to make others more successful.
The first time I started to take this approach to networking was a day on a soccer field in Chicago my senior year in college, his name was Thad. He was an energetic freshman, full of optimism and leadership potential. In that first week of soccer practice, which was known to my teammates and I as “Hell Week,” I saw a man of integrity full of determination to be the best soccer player on the pitch. His leadership was contagious as he ignited his teammates on the field, a rare quality that you don’t come across to often. He was someone that I wanted to connect with and empower on his journey.
“How you cultivate relationships is often the greatest determinant of the type of life you get to live” – Gary Vaynerchuk
The art of cultivating relationships is how you tangibly build a trusted network whether it’s around a product, cause or venture. How you cultivate those relationships will determine the quality of the network that is built. Over the next four years Thad and I met together for coffee to talk about the dynamics of social business, serving together in Chicago with local non-profits, and connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs. Prepare, Promote, Mature and Foster relationships in your life to build a network that is mutually encouraging to those involved.
“The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage” –Dale Carnegie
If you want to create a network, awaken the possibilities in those that you connect with. You can grow a more vibrant community in the next six months by genuinely listening to others, than you can in the next six years by trying to get others interested in you and your plans. Getting to know Thad over time I saw his tendencies and gifting’s, which provided the opportunity to speak into his life at crucial turning points. People don’t forgot when others listen.
In the past two years I have seen Thad develop into that admirable leader, which surpassed the potential that I saw on that soccer field years ago. He has exceeded me in so many ways and is now leading an organization for at risk youth in inner city Chicago. Thad is more than just a part of my tribe; he is one of the catalysts’ of influence in my network.
How are you cultivating your network and generously making others successful? Answer those two questions and you are on your way to building a successful network.