The answer to “Who should be in your personal network?” is simpler than you might imagine. Pretty much everybody that you meet and like.
There has to be more to it than that, right? Nope, not really. The challenge lies in meeting new and interesting people (and, ideally, people who wield lots of influence). My cousin, Richard Crawford, is very successful in the financial services industry. Richard went completely blind at the age of ten. For as long as I have known him he has never said “no” to doing anything–high school wrestling, snow skiing, water skiing, deer hunting, parachuting, riding a motorcycle, and hitchhiking. Yes, hitchhiking. In the early days of his career–when money wasn’t plentiful–he thumbed a ride to work every day, meeting people and building his personal network and his business. In today’s environment, hitchhiking may not be the best method of getting to meet people. But the real story here is that Richard took an apparent weakness (being blind) and turned it into a strength. He put himself out there and, in the process, connected with others.
Here are some ways–besides hitchhiking–that you can connect with others and build your personal network:
- Get involved in something for which you have a passion
- Create a social group of friends and meet on a regular basis
- Begin writing a blog
- Attend seminars
- Sign up for a community education class
- Ask a friend to introduce you to somebody that you don’t know
- Introduce a friend to somebody that they don’t know
- Have a purpose
Real networking occurs when people put themselves out there–often when trying something new.
Related posts on how to build your personal network: