Often, I’m inspired but sadly, rarely do I write about it and share. Yesterday morning, I was inspired and this time, I’d like to share the story.
Many of us talk about the power of networking. Some really enjoy it and do it often. Some do not enjoy it, but do it because they feel they need to in order to be successful. Some don’t do it at all. I’m in the first camp. Spending time with others talking, hearing their stories and helping and learning from one another is one of the best aspects of my work.
Networking is defined as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically, the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” While I suppose this is accurate, it’s not quite descriptive of how it works, or actually should work, and the tremendous reward to one another when it’s done well. It’s really about giving more than receiving. And as the saying goes, the more you give, the more you receive, or good karma, if you will.
The Great Lakes region is one of the most giving business communities I’ve ever seen and in our professional circles, those that give of themselves genuinely, freely and without expectation are the ones who are most successful. And, I could cite many examples of that, but instead, I’d like to share a story.
Yesterday morning, I attended an HR “un-conference.” What is that you ask? It’s a pretty cool concept that promotes table topic open forum discussions, as opposed to expert presentations, in what I would call an intimate setting where each table is no more than 10 people. My good colleagues at Your Partner in HR were the organizers and thank you for the start of an inspirational day!
When I arrived, I spent the first 20 minutes greeting many long time colleagues, many of whom I am lucky enough to call my friends as well. After I grabbed a cup of joe and made my way to a table to find a seat, I found that I had a seat saved between two colleagues without even asking. I got myself comfortable and one of my colleagues immediately began to introduce me to those at the table that I didn’t know. His introduction was extremely complimentary and kind. Each person that I met responded with a smile, an extended hand, a business card and an ask that we connect. You see, the trust card is big in these parts, and if a colleague introduces you with trust, it is most often immediately accepted by the other. Again, pretty cool stuff in my book.
As the event continued, I was honored to facilitate one of the table topics alongside another well-respected colleague. The table discussions were robust and interesting. The exchange of information included a genuine desire to help others as each shared their challenges. We all walked away learning something new and meeting some great new people. What a great way spend the morning! And as I drove away, the windshield time on a sunny mid-day gave me pause to reflect and consider how very grateful I am to know and be a part of such a dynamic, giving group of people.
Perhaps this story is a common one for some of us, and if so, then we are fortunate. But, we are not fortunate by accident. We are fortunate because we genuinely value being inspired by and helpful to others and simply standing up for each other. This is the true power of networking.
To all of my friends and colleagues who have and continue to enrich my life: I am inspired by each of you every day and I thank you greatly for sharing your gifts, ideas, and feedback, for challenging me to be my best self, and for your unwavering support and trust.
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