Leave it to me to only realize how important networking is in my late 20s, and to only act on it in my early 30s. Better late than never, as they say. The inspiration for this blog post came from a couple sequences of events that really got me thinking, that the smallest action going back decades could lead to a new client all that time later. The other was someone who came into my life very briefly, but changed everything and opened so many doors, and led to a level of happiness, however brief, that I never knew existed.
With every person we meet in life, a new door opens with a world of possibilities. We may not always want to act on the possibilities within those doors, sometimes the doors can lead to a world of hurt but they are open, and we can choose whether or not to walk through them. I feel this is a necessary post, mostly due to the frustration of how many missed opportunities I’ve had throughout life which was the result of my unwillingness to socialize. These are things I have to live with for the rest of my life, but so long as I learn from my mistakes, I can move forward.
People come into our lives in different ways. Every person we come across is written into our life story. Not every character will be an integral part of this story, nor will they remain throughout the entire book. Sometimes we meet someone and think, they are going to play a part that spans the entire book or many chapters and yet they’re only around for a few pages, or a single paragraph, sometimes a single sentence. We don’t know if a character may be reoccurring, or if they’re a one time appearance. We will only know these answers on our deathbed, until then it’s all a guessing game. Only at the end of our life can we look back and see who had what kind of impact and for how long. While this may be disheartening at the time, these characters can have such a tremendous impact that the course of the story will never quite be the same. I know this, I’ve lived it. As hard as it was to comprehend at the time, looking back I realize how integral to my personal development those experiences were. I wouldn’t be where I am now, with a much more positive and experienced view on life, had I not met them.
These people change the dynamics of your existence, lead you to new experiences. They create a shift in your story, which isn’t always easy to deal with but it’s also up to you to decide how to process and move forward with that shift. Yes, this is networking but it’s also friendship. As isolated as i can make myself, I am eternal grateful for my friends. They’ve gotten me full time jobs, they have found me photography clients to work with, gotten me DJ gigs, helped find my cars to rent on trips when I had no clue what I was doing and so much more. Some of these people I recently got back in touch with, others have been there for years.
The more people we meet, the more we can connect ourselves with the wild web of human interaction in our universe. This only increases the possibilities in our lives. I wish I knew at 20 that networking is more important than almost anything when it comes to business, and even happiness. As trivial as this may seem, there’s a lot of people who don’t realize this. Putting ourselves out there can be hard, especially for all the introverts out there, but I can tell you from my own experience, it’s absolutely liberating. Business and collaboration possibilities aside, the feelings of confidence, pride and the warmth of connection to another human being, well… That’s priceless.