Everything valuable costs you something.
I believe we are living in a relational economy. Leaders are looking for people they can trust, invest in, and grow over time. That level of discernment only comes from experience, interactions, and a sense of connectedness which results in confidence and commitment.
To some extent, it’s always been a relational economy. Networks have a way of bringing people together under a common set of assumptions and moving them forward. There are community groups, professional groups, and industry groups which exist to connect people with similar interests, skills, and experiences.
What’s different today is you don’t have to rely on someone else to build that community infrastructure for you. You can do it yourself if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. Everything valuable costs you something; investing in the right relationships will pay you back in spades.
It’s never been easier to connect with others and expand your network.
Just consider social media. That platform has democratized access to celebrities, political figures, and CEOs unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. While you may never have a direct relationship with the biggest figures online, you can still follow and learn from them. And in doing so, you’ll discover people who also think like you. And you’ll start to see that person again and again through comments, posts, etc. What a great opportunity just to reach out, learn about each other, and see how you might be able to help them achieve something important to them.
I’ve never met a successful person who didn’t also have a relational network behind them. It’s critical for success. While I do believe education—formal and informal—prepares us for life’s great adventure, it’s relationships that guide the way.
Each relationship will look different, but each one will offer you something valuable.
Not every time you meet someone will it turn into your next great opportunity. Sometimes a casual encounter will affirm a lingering idea. Sometimes an intentional connection will result in a mentor relationship that helps you break through the barriers holding you back. And sometimes a referral can open doors for you never imagined possible.
I can tell you from experience that when I need someone I can count on, the first thing that pops into my mind is not their resume, college major, or even their last speech or published book. It’s what type of relationship and experience I have with them. That helps me accurately assess if I can trust and count on them to follow through.
If you’re stuck, it could be time to expand your network by building intentional relationships. Just start. I promise it will lead you places you never thought you would go.