When some people hear the term network or networking, they start to cringe or think about someone who tries to meet people just to see what they can get out of it.  That’s really not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about developing friendships and relationships with people, but the benefit is mutual. There is no doubt that I get a lot of benefit from knowing these people, but I strive to be of benefit to them as well.  

I’m a big believer in the concept of Shalom. You may associate that word with a particular religion but you’ll actually find it in several. It’s talked about Judaism, Islam, and Christianity extensively. There are very similar concepts in Buddhism and Hinduism. A simple way of explaining what Shalom means is “Everyone and everything working together for the good of everyone and everything.”  

That may sound a little out there to some but imagine what the world would be like if everyone lived that out every day. Even if everyone won’t do it, imagine what kind of impact you can have if you lived it out every day just in your circle of influence. It’s an extremely powerful concept. That’s what I think of whenever I think of networking.  

While at the conference, reconnecting with old friends and making new friends, it really helped to reinforce the power of a great network. I got the support and positive feedback that I needed from people who enjoy this newsletter. I learned things I didn’t know from people who had more or different experience than I had. I was able to share my experiences with other people who might be able to benefit from them. I also just had a good time talking to people who I had a lot in common with. I have no doubt that at some point down the road, many of us will be able to help each other out in both business and life.

Jim Rohn said that you are the product of the five people you spend the most time around. If he’s right (and I think he is) then we need to carefully evaluate who we are spending time around. I think we should actively be moving away from negative influences and continuously try to expand our network of positive influences.  

As adults, no one is actively trying to help us do this like many of our parents did when we were teenagers. That means it’s our responsibility to do so because we are going to be one of those five influencers for our children, for our spouses and for our coworkers. If we truly care about them, it’s our duty to become the best people we can be.  

To everyone who I connected with at that conference, thank you for being a positive influence on me. I hope I can do the same for you.