Who is in your network? Or your circle or on your team? Do they all look like you? Are they the same age? Same background? If they are, you're missing out and potentially limiting your success.
Your network grows over time and with focused effort, you can ensure that it continues to offer you and those you connect with, ongoing value.
Mindfully Growing a Diverse Network
When networking groups still gathered in person, I took a chance and asked if I could attend a meeting that wasn't really for my age group.
The host said yes.
5 years later those connections, of people 20 -30 years younger, yes that many years, (sometimes I'm surprised too!) are still people I reach out to for their unique wisdom, knowledge, and perspectives.
They're a diverse crowd.
A great network is found in its expanse of knowledge, backgrounds, and desire to help
From sector to ethnicity, it's a dynamic and generous group. They were interesting and interested, two components that make for successful networking.
As an introvert, my goal is to speak to 5 people. They made it easy.
The connections and friendships I made continue to connect me to information, perspectives, and ideas that I wouldn't otherwise be privy to.
This is the true power of a diverse network.
If your network mirror reflects more than what you look like or know, you've got a huge advantage.
Leveraging your knowledge network
Last week, I chatted with Greg Horton, owner of The Casual Athlete.
I reached out to him because I've been following his work with people, some with profound disabilities. Work that includes the use of VR technology.
Since I'm researching technology and becoming more familiar with the metaverse, web3, etc., then I knew he'd have valuable insights to share. And, he did.
That conversation led not only to a better understanding of the applications of how he uses VR (which is tremendously inspiring) but he also suggested two other people for me to connect with.
And so the network grows.
Had it not been for that networking meeting 5 years ago, it's unlikely our paths would have crossed. Different business sectors, different ages, and genders.
What are you missing out on personally and professionally by sticking with people who look and sound like you?
We live in an interesting and complicated world.
The stories shared with me are what bring richness to my work as a freelance writer.
A Network Challenge
So here's my challenge to you.
Whether you own a business, run a community group, or are on a team, have a look around.
Is it time to widen your group, make space for others and their talents, and hear new stories? If the answer is yes, start now.
Leave a comment, let us know your networking successes. And then...
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