If you are going for a hike on the hill close to your home, you might be able to get that done on your own. However, if your goal is to climb the Mount Everest, you need to join a tribe that can help you become someone that can rise up to that task.
The right network provides you an unfair advantage. You can get a lot more done because you are now NOT alone. The right network is also the one where you equally contribute back to extend the collective power of the network for all those who belong there. If I have to summarize it in a short sentence - "the right network can help you accomplish more."
Now, that's a good background for me to make a point.
But, before that let me share a couple of conversations in the last few weeks:
The first conversation was with a long-time friend where we caught up on each others lives and then my friend asked me to explain one of my recent business decisions as he thought it didn't make sense. I explained my rationale and he explained another way of looking at the same situation. Before we knew we were into heavy brainstorming on that topic. Long story short - together we arrived at something far better than what I could have done on my own. More importantly, my "repository of worldviews" got upgraded with this new conversation.
The second conversation was with one of my mentors. We were discussing one of my new projects. I was very proud of what I had come up with so far. Within a few minutes, my mentor made me think about repurposing what I had created to get a LOT more value out of it - again and again. My mentor had not just helped me with THIS opportunity but had provided me a new way look at ANY such opportunity in the future.
What was common among the two conversations?
It was that conversation's ability to "make me a BETTER me." It was the ability of the conversation to increase my capacity to think better. It was that conversation's ability to upgrade myself.
Harnessing the Power of the Real Golden Network
The real golden network is one where you become a better person with conversations with the members of that network. It is not a club where you pay a fee and become a member. It's a network that you invest and build over the years.
Here are three things to remember as you work through this network:
1. The capacity boost is a side benefit of the network
You don't initiate, build and nurture these networks because you will benefit from them. The people here already make your life very special. The capacity boost happens as a side benefit. Once you understand this at the deepest level, you will start respecting the network in a whole different way.
2. You NEED to be vulnerable to make the most of this network
This is not a network where you wear your superman garb and behave like you are invincible. You may keep that image for one of those PR exercises. You won't need it here. In fact, you NEED to have the exact opposite attitude - you need to be VULNERABLE. In other words, you need to bring your REAL you for your network to contribute to you.
3. You need to fulfill your OBLIGATIONS
What this network brings more than anything is a new THINKING. You are the best judge on what is the right price for that thinking because you KNOW the the VALUE of increased CAPACITY that thinking has brought in you. Every such gift to you creates a future obligation and it's your responsibility to fulfill them.
Sometimes that gift comes from someone for whom there is nothing that you can do to help back because of where they are today. In such cases, your obligation is to pay it forward.