I Never Saw How Valuable My Network Was Until I Needed It Most
A valuable network is one that provides opportunities, guidance, and inspiration. Finding the right ones can change your trajectory.
When I graduated college, it dawned on me that I had failed to build a network around my career or entrepreneurial goals.
The moment I began job hunting was the first time I even considered my network. Yes, I “knew people” from work and some connections on LinkedIn, but when it came time to actually reach out, I went blank. I was personable, charismatic, and outgoing, but reverted to the people I knew and rarely ventured out to meet new ones. Wanting to pursue new ideas and explore opportunities for entrepreneurship, I sought out new people.
What I experienced was a profound period of struggle, self-reflection, and success.
Who do I know? Who knows me?
After stumbling out the gates of university with a degree in hand, I was ultimately able to get a job through a referral from one of my professors. During my time in a corporate role, I never viewed networking as a need or really understood it, even though the reason I had my job was as a result of my network. The topic of my network came up again when I decided to launch a startup. My co-founder ended up being in the same fraternity as me. During the early years of our startup, we constantly found ourselves hitting barriers I could not overcome alone. Once again, we were faced with the question, “Who do we know?”
Fast forward over years of growth, multiple ventures, and new opportunities, at every single crossroad in life I was in need of help, my network was the catalyst.
No matter how hard you work, how much money you have, or what you’ve accomplished, your success is not yours alone.
Over time, this impact compounds. The longer your relationships, cliques, and communities persist, the more they shape your destiny. Choosing to build bonds with networks where you can both give and receive is essential.
Though seemingly insignificant at first glance, their impact is high and far-reaching. They become our “network” or inner circle.
We are a reflection of the people around us.
Our potential and outcome rely on something we often overlook: the people around us, including those we’ve met and hope to meet, whether through a targeted fashion at an event or serendipitously at the grocery store.
Take great care in building your network.