Connect for Life

The Power of a Network

A major component of Connect for Life is giving, since giving of yourself results in business success. By following the Connect for Life system, you can unlock your talents in the marketplace and find fulfillment beyond what you have achieved to this point in your career. What you realize as you pursue these factors is that you start getting things back. A favor, an introduction, an inclusion to a new group of friends, a deal on a new car, a warm smile and the feeling that you are not alone in the world.

 

When I look back on my upbringing, I have always worked toward the Connect
for Life philosophy. I was raised in an upper-middle-class household by educated parents who expected me to give my very best, to treat everyone with respect and dignity, and to be trustworthy and reliable. From a young age, I wanted to work for myself. I watched my friends toil as grocery stockers or paper boys, and it always seemed more advantageous to be independent. As a teenager, I always had a dollar in my pocket whether from mowing lawns or painting houses and fences or being a handyman for hire.

 

This was my first exposure to networking and connecting. Where did these jobs come from? They came from people I knew and those who knew what I was doing. They facilitated the introduction, or in a passing statement they said, “Hey, I know a guy who painted my fence. Let me give you his number.” Even before I could drive myself around town, my mom was toting me around with a lawnmower in the back of the family Chevy Nova. When my other industrious friends went on a family vacation, I mowed their clients’ lawns, and when I was out of town, they did likewise for me. We developed a small lawn mowing network. It worked because we could count on each other to keep our customers happy. I learned how important it was to be a person of your word.

 

As time passed, I began to think about colleges and decided I wanted to go to
school in the South. My family had spent summers at the beach in Georgia, and I loved it there. Living in New Jersey during my childhood, I saw many of my friends’ dads walking to the train station in the morning and commuting into New York City. I knew that was not for me, so I put a list together of good schools in the South and went on a family road trip between my junior and senior year in high school. During this search, a friend of mine who was going to be attending Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas, brought me a brochure for Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. SMU was not on my list but fit all my criteria. It was in a large, quickly growing Southern city known for its friendly people. While not in the Southeast (my favored location), it seemed like a natural choice. My father’s brother lived in Austin, and that made me feel like I was close to family. Having my uncle in Texas proved to be very comforting during some trying times in college, especially over Thanksgiving.

 

Suddenly, just like that, I was a Texan. Sometimes you think you understand
why actions cause other reactions. I’m not sure why my friend thought of me when visiting Texas schools, but now I know it was because I try to help others whenever it is in my power to do so. I teach a workshop on Connect for Life and when it comes to the people that should be in your network, I borrow from author Harvey Mackay who has a really cool long list of people from pastors to community organizers, to people who can get tickets to a game to auto mechanics. Over the years, I have my list at the ready for whenever someone asks. The network is powerful! Not only can you not out-give it, but it will also sustain you through life when times are good, and when times are bad. You will always be able to lean on your network.

The Power of a Network - Discussion with John

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