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Networking is Like a Garden: Nurture Your Connections

Networking is Like a Garden: Nurture Your Connections
By Niall Maher • Issue #39 • View online
“ Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” - Seneca

To grow your garden, you need to put in the effort to cultivate it. The same can be said of your professional network. Just as a garden needs water, sun, and love (among other things) to thrive, so does your network. 
Like any good fruit or vegetable growing, networking takes time and effort to build and maintain. You can’t just sow some seeds (i.e., attend a few events) and expect your network to grow.
Instead, you need to carefully tend to it so that it will blossom into something beautiful. 
If you want your garden (network) to be healthy and diverse, you need to plant various flowers (connect with different types of professionals). 
Just as too much of one kind of plant can crowd out the others and create an unhealthy garden, having too many connections of the same type can lead to an unbalanced network. 
To ensure your network is diverse, try connecting with people from different industries, levels of experience, geographies, etc. Not only will this give you a well-rounded group of connections that you can turn to for advice and support, but it will also prevent your network from becoming stale. 
Get out of your comfort zone and find seeds you’ve never held before! 
It’s essential to not take from your garden too quickly and not allow it to grow to its full potential. 
I know many people who immediately ask for favors, destroying the quality of their connections, just like picking from your garden before it’s ripe.
Provide value, and be sincerely caring with your connections; someday, you will enjoy the fruits of your labor. 
Remember, the goal is not just quantity; quality matters just as much, if not more. 
Focus on building strong relationships with the people in your network rather than just trying to add as many names as possible to your contact list. 
Just as a garden needs water, sun, love, and care to grow, your network needs your time and effort to flourish. 
Please don’t treat it as a selfish endeavor; our goal should be to help as many people as possible achieve their goals and dreams. 
You cannot just pick from a garden and expect it to flourish…
Connecting and helping with people has been the most rewarding thing I’ve started doing over the past few years and has created a much greater sense of fulfillment in my life. 
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