02 Apr Your Network is Your Networth
You invest in your money, but do you invest in your relationships? I’ve spent many nights thinking about money, worth and finances. I’ve plugged my assets and liabilities into online retirement calculators and dreamt about unexercised stock options in attempt to forecast my future worth. These types of exercises can be useful, but somewhere along the way I realized that if I wanted to assess my present or predict my future, I was spending too much time focusing on the value of the wrong set of assets.
I believe your social capital, or your ability to build a network of authentic personal and professional relationships, not your financial capital, is the most important asset in your portfolio. I believe that seeking out and working in collaboration with others who share your interests and values will provide a stronger foundation, enabling you to reach a higher level of success than you would on your own. Therefore, I believe that your “net worth” will be based not on the size of your portfolio or the size of your network but on your ability to define and stay true to your passions and values and that working with other people who share them will allow you to build a strong and enduring interpersonal safety net that will carry you through any financial calamity to greater output and personal fulfillment.
Connecting with people that shared my values and interests has changed my life. I feel so strongly about the concept called Your Network Is Your Net Worth. I will further share an experience I had about Networking that brought me success.
It was at the Jefferson Chamber Gala in 2015 when I could have been arrested for being a stalker if my network was not strong enough. At the time I was working hard to get (YND) my healthy food line into Ochsner health systems, which remains the largest hospital system in the state of Louisiana. My goal for the night was to get someone on one time with Warner Thomas, Ochsner’s CEO. But as you can imagine that was also the plan of many others. I pretty much followed the popular CEO around all night, but could never quite nail him down. So I went to plan B. My secondary plan involved me waiting for Warner to leave and walking with him the 200-300 yards to his car. And it worked perfectly, as he was leaving alone and I approached and chatted him up for the entire walk, which ended with Warner agreeing to connect me to his number two who would ultimately decide to bring us in. This plan worked for one reason and one reason only, Warner knew who I was before this encounter. We had met multiple times at multiple functions, so it was not like I was a stranger walking up to him and making an ask, but I was someone who he knew that just happened to be walking to his car at the same time. Because I was already at least somewhat part of Warner’s network this plan was able to come to fruition.
Here are some reasons why Networking is so Important:
For a start, you get to be guided by those who know what they are doing. Could be mentors who are teaching you what to do. Or advisors sharing their opinion and letting you decide for yourself. Could be regularly attending events in your industry to get inspired, introduce yourself to new people, be around influencers, hear advice directly from the source, and to see your role models and maybe have a quick chat.
Secondly, there are the opportunities that start coming your way, from anywhere, once you start investing more time into building a solid network. Even if you’re not looking for something in particular, but just putting yourself out there and enjoying the company of other professionals, like-minded people and high achievers, you’ll receive a lot in return. That will come in the form of ideas, collaboration, offers, recognition, referrals, career opportunities, friendships, and more.
Thirdly, it leads to growth in many areas. By being exposed to the thinking of new individuals in your industry, you gain a new perspective. That’s crucial for the next steps you take in your own ventures. You also don’t allow yourself to have doubts or get lazy, as you’re always aware of how hard others are working.
I’m sure you know pretty well how powerful information can be. Well, by networking consistently and strategically, you can gain knowledge the smart way. Meaning, you can learn about industry trends without having to do your own research and waste time. You can find a new potential client or partner by casually giving a business card after a friendly chat, instead of investing in online ads and marketing research to get in front of your target audience.