When I was in transition (the classy way of saying I was out of work) I felt like my hands were tied. The experts talked about giving to our network, not receiving, but I didn’t know what I could give.
I couldn’t really take anyone to lunch… how could I justify the expense of me eating out AND paying for someone else? That was money I didn’t feel like I had, when there were other expenses at home that needed to be taken care of.
I couldn’t really do anything I wanted to do, as far as giving.
I felt like a big mooch. It was like the “giving” part of networking was only for those who had enough money to really give. That wasn’t me.
After my networking epiphany, when it all started to make sense, I realized I had the only thing a job seeker would die to get. It wasn’t the comfort food and false sense of normalcy that going to a restaurant would provide. It was introductions.
By this time I had started to “get” networking. I was enjoying it. I was even seeing success, which I wasn’t seeing from my previous pathetic networking attempts.
Because of this, my network was growing and strengthening. And I finally realized the job seekers I was networking with would appreciate introductions to my contacts. Introducing contacts to one another put me in an interesting position, and my relationships strengthened… the more I met, the more I introduced, the more I grew. I started to see success, and I was helping other people. I became, as Keith Ferrazzi dubbed, a “power connector.” It was win-win-win.
And it didn’t cost me anything.
If you are holding back because you don’t have enough money, I encourage you to think about giving introductions to your contacts.