Some of you have already learned this lesson and I tip my hat to you for discovering this oh-so-important fact yourselves. But for me, I have been laboring under the mistaken belief that I knew the scope and extent of my network. What do I mean by “network”? I mean that vast group of amazing people whom you have either connected with directly or are aware of through a mutual connection.
Next question, how did I discover the limitless potential of my network? Well, I recently undertook the daunting endeavor to strike out with a couple friends and start a business (which is something I’ve never done before, let alone imagined). While I knew, at the time, I had plenty of people who would vigorously support me as well as others who could provide specific insight and guidance into particular relevant industries, I had no idea there would be so many people in my immediate and extended networks who would volunteer their expertise to help me get my business off the ground.
How I learned this, though, was rather out of character for me – I put myself out there and made a conscious effort to directly connect with these people or at the very least, make them aware of my pursuits. For example, I was idly surfing (ok, stalking) Facebook one evening, when I noticed someone I’d met during high school (and hadn’t talked to many years) seemed to be pursuing a new business venture of his own. Normally, I would mentally spend a few moments puzzling about this and move on,but for some reason (ok, I may have been drinking a glass of wine), I direct messaged him and just asked him about it upfront. Well, you can imagine my surprise when he almost immediately replied and explained his pursuit. We exchanged messages like this for a few days and eventually set up a call where we talked for over an hour, sharing start-up stories, inspiration, and advice.
I’ve had so many encounters like this since starting to put myself out there that I’ve lost count. Whether it’s a friend whose mom knows a guy who is in my start-up field or a relative who actually has extensive experience in this arena – they all seemed to come out of the woodwork. But what I finally realized is these people were there all along – I’d just never bothered to reach out to them.
And this limitless network of truly fabulous and awesome people exists for just about everything. Whether you’re looking for health and fitness inspiration or someone that knows how to play the obo, there are people, who you are already connected to, that are ready and willing to lend their support and knowledge to you. You just have to be bold enough to seek them out.