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Networking is not about you!

I have a completely new mindset when I think about networking!

Recently I attended a “Coffee and Contacts” meeting. It is a gathering of local business people that features a guest speaker or some other similar learning opportunity. At this particular meeting the topic was Networking (yuk) and the format was a panel discussion. The panel members were all very qualified and one in particular was a new friend who had been very kind to me and helping me get comfortable in my new role as a new business owner.

The questions from the audience were thoughtful and the panelists gave good advice.  I sat there taking notes and role playing in my head how I would put all these ideas into play.  I was feeling good about the event but my inner voice was doing some serious negative talking and I could feel my networking anxiety growing. It was then that my panelist friend stopped me right in my tracks when he said with wisdom, compassion and firmness:

“Folks its not about you! It never was about you! It never will be about you! 

I’ve heard and read this before but this time it hit me hard. Probably because he didn’t just say it, he has been demonstrating it to me for almost a year.  It also resonated with some really deep beliefs I have about people.

I believe:

1. Everyone is born with a tremendous amount of potential.

2. That from this potential special, unique, talents, skills and abilities can emerge.

3. That we are responsible for discovering, developing, and sharing our gifts.

4. That we are also responsible for helping others find , develop and share theirs.

5. That the world wants and needs us to develop and share our gifts.

Networking is really about helping others. Successful networkers seek to enrich others rather than themselves.  Its not about you! 


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