Network = Net worth#

First, I’m struggling with this effort to post regularly, but I’ll keep trying.

"It's not what you know, but who you know"
I always hated that phrases, I wanted my hard work to be of value directly.  Using just who you knew to get ahead seemed like cheating.  After I entered college, however, I heard a different version:
"Your network is your net worth."
This one was easier to accept eventually.  When put into context, it's really about not just that knowing people will get you ahead, but that your network and everything they know is a part of your value-added.  In addition to your own skills, knowing when to help someone or refer them to someone you know who has a more appropriate expertise increased your value to those around you.  Being a connector is more efficient than trying to help everyone-- and that's what I had trouble accepting.   I wanted to always be able to help people by myself. The realization that just connecting people to someone else who could help-- especially if the other person is truly an expert would be just as valuable as directly helping came a little late for me.  

The key in this though is that it’s more than knowing people, it’s about having people in your network.  It’s a two way relationship.  You need to know the people and their expertise well enough to recommend them to other people for help and be able to pass on a request for help.

This came into play for me most recently inn supporting  another member of the NSBE Boston eboard.  I was able to come up with someone I knew who could complete the panel she was trying to form for a meeting.  She was grateful, but I felt like I barely did anything, I just remembered someone’s name and certification.  We had sent out numerous requests through various outlets - social media and mass e-mail- but the way we finally got the panelists was careful individual outreach.  Leveraging board members’ individual networks was much more powerful than the chapter’s likes, followers, or even list-members.  The personal touch was key.

Having a valuable, well maintained (ie: keep in touch), network is definitely a core component of what I want my professional brand to be.  I want to be able to help as much as possible– even when it means just connecting people.