2007/03/12

Initiating Relationships, Building Networks and Growing Communities

In the past several years, much time has been spent learning about and putting into practice the following three activities:
  1. Initiating relationships
  2. Building networks
  3. Growing communities
Many people are much more skilled at these three areas than I am -- I'm certainly not as skilled as I'd like to be. But continuing work in those areas and continual learning from others and from my results will gradually help me be more effective in all three.

These three activities are pretty much like any other area of life. Those areas which are not of high concern to an individual generally seem to be some combination of very difficult, relatively unimportant to most people, utterly foreign, or quite misguided (wrong).

However, when one becomes interested in a particular area, such as initiating relationships, one studies the topic, finds out that topic has been the single focus of many people's professional lives, has a multitude of books written about it, has hundreds, if not thousands, of websites related to the topic, and is generally very important to many people.

It's somewhat the result of an egocentric world. If a guy is married but has no kids, he often doesn't notice kids or pregnant women too much. Once his wife becomes pregnant, however, he sees pregnant women everywhere. And once he has a young baby, he notices there are babies everywhere, and he takes more interest in them. The same principle applies to most activities and aspects of life, whether it be sports, music, cars, health, restaurants or most any topic you can name.

Because of a focus on the three activities listed at the start of this post, I've become aware of continual opportunities to meet new people and to introduce them to others. Opportunities to build my networks and to connect other people to networks from which they may benefit. And opportunities to grow, nurture and put a spotlight on communities organized around activities or purposes in which I'm passionately interested.

While egocentricism naturally makes us feel that what's important to us is important to most other people, it seems focusing on the above three activities will help just about everyone enjoy their lives significantly more. Maybe it's the social nature of man, but associating with people who have many of the same interests as you is generally a Good Thing. And building networks and communities around your areas of passion will help you enjoy life a little more than you would have otherwise.

Take the time to learn more about initiating friendships, then practice the knowledge you gained. Build some new networks and help others build their networks. Finally, join a community you're interested in and help it grow in a meaningful way, or start a new community or two. If you want my two cents on those subjects, contact me. Or connect with someone you know who is skilled in each of those areas and learn from them.

You'll get as much out of these activities as you put into them. But even a few hours a month spent on them will be well worth your time!

*****

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