I had a networking meeting at Starbucks the other day with a smart person. She is in professional services and is probably very successful. She lives in a nice beach community and drives a nice car.
She didn’t seem very comfortable, but days can be like that: Life affects our daily attitudes and outlook.
I asked her where she went to network and she looked at me and said that she didn’t do much networking because her business was doing well. She basically told me that she only networks when she needs more business.
The moments after turned into an awkward silence; I wondered why I was there.
She and I obviously didn’t network for all the same reasons. As a self employed Consultant I am hunting all the time and realize that my network also provides other currencies. Just today somebody asked me if my blog monetizes me. I am not really empirically sure, but it certainly has broadened my community. If I was rich but isolated, would I be wealthy?
For years I have met people who only get out there and network when they need more business, or a job. Once they reach that objective they stop. If they fall off that plateau, how far is the drop if they’ve stopped networking? Earning your network back can be a tedious endeavor.
Do you only network for money or do you network for an enriched life? For me networking has both benefits. I live a rich life in a village of three million in Orange County, but my definition of rich may be vastly different than the ones held by the Housewives of Orange County.
Some people only network for money. I believe that you network for life. There are networking places that I go to where I don’t expect anything in return financially. I call those events “networking for community”. This basically consists of talking to people around me. Does it lead to financial currency? Hard to tell. Does it lead to social currency? For sure.
My local watering hole is about two miles away on PCH, it is called Salt Creek Grill. All my changes took place there. You can smell the ocean when you enter the door because the ocean is just behind you. I landed my first project there for Blank and Associates when I started my company. It didn’t come from a pitch. It came from talking to somebody when I was by myself drinking a glass of wine. I was alone but I wasn’t isolated because I engaged with somebody around me.
In the end, does one dimensional networking lead to a one dimensional life? It would for me but then again measures of success are all different unless you are willing and looking to make a difference.
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Watch: She’s Not a Great Networker