Do you have a network you can count on if the chips go against you, making you a minnow or a whale as the saying goes? What about baling you out of jail because some lady at a restaurant suddenly recognized you as a terrorist? Would someone in your network still believe in you enough to help even then?
Bestselling author Harvey Mackay, in his book “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty”, the only networking book you will ever need” relays a story about himself. In it he says that after a golf game several of his group were conversing about recent events. The issue how far would you go to help a friend and how many real friends do you have that you can really count on came up? He related that most of the rest of his group each figured if they had to call a member of their network at 2 AM and needed $20,000 they would all have only a small handful of potential loaners willing and able to help to that extent.
Then Harvey was asked the same question. He replied he could call on at least 50 members of his network who could help him in just that way! This book was written in 1990, so $20K was a bigger number then even though it is still substantial in 2013, 23 years later. That is someone who has put blood, sweat, and tears into building his network. By the way, his book and even the others he has authored are well worth their money, in my opinion.
He goes on to relate how anyone can create and maintain a network. The acronym R.I.S.K. is how he states it, Reciprocity, Interdependency, Sharing, and Keeping at it. The bottom line is that he writes and still today on his Face Book page puts out positive messages and good core values that he has lived by and still endorses for all human interactions. I subscribe to his blog as well, just because I need to keep many of the MacKay maxim’s refreshed in my mind.
Every empowered volunteer should be increasing their network all the time. Connections between people which are genuine and worthy always help both of you well beyond the tool swapping or stock market tips you might exchange.
Maintaining a network is a particularly powerful way of combating life’s negativity if you are in a bad situation at work or some other place of interactions.
Birds of a feather flock together, so if you are increasing your social capital by increasing the value of your network, you should not only benefit from that tool you borrowed but also from the mental and physical health aspects associated with social connections that are deep and meaningful to both parties.
Another real life example, if you and another family always did things together when suddenly a falling out happened over the children, say criminal things were involved? Would you be able to engage your network for support as well as even finding a new church because the two of you always attended the same one? This is extreme but life is full of extremes. Networks know you and support you in good times as well as down times.
The purpose of a network is to engage in reciprocity, or hook ups as we called them in the Navy. I hook you up with a favor when you need it and you owe me one when I need something. It is like emotional bartering. But it can go much deeper, which is a must if you get a call at 2AM needing something pretty extreme. Even family can balk at that kind of call.
If you want to have folks there for you when you need them, you need to be there for them. This is simple to say but very hard to do in real life when the pressure is on and time is short. How do you get to that point? I have never done this before in a post and I don’t expect to do it very often, but if you really want to know, read Harvey’s book. I can’t imagine a library today that doesn’t have a copy, or hit the book store and get a copy. It long ago came out in paperback.
The quality of the network is supreme, much more than the hundreds or thousands of so called “friends” in a social network on the internet. Use the internet social sites carefully. The networks on the internet don’t give you the face to face contact that builds relationships where one person will go to bat for another. To get that kind of personalized response when you need it, you must build it up face to face over time.
Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph. D. expands on the concept of relationships and their positive or negative nature in her book, Positivity. Barbara writes on how to maintain your positive attitude in reality, not faking it and how much it helps your health and general well-being. She goes on to give specifics on how to deal with negative people as well as how to increase your own positivity in your life.
So even if you have a negative boss (and who hasn’t at one time or another?) or even a negative person in a group you attend on a regular basis, there are strategies you can employ to help your emotional health.
Barbara’s book is from 2009 and already in paper back too.
For the most part nearly all of the wisdom of mankind is contained in books or other published works. Very few of our problems are so unique that we can’t find some worthy guidance in a book or in our network or both. Your network should be able to supplement any personal library, and with a lot more interesting stories than those of people you don’t know. A real good network can enhance a library and enrich your life. Use both for the most bang from your emotional buck.
Enjoy building your network.