Networking is an activity in which people focus primarily on increasing their odds of meeting someone who can do something for them.
In pursuit of these outcomes, networkers fall in the trap of attending mislabeled soirées where everyone is looking for a “plug,” where self-importance is the leading quality, and no one is vulnerable about their shortcomings. Networkers are the new speed daters. Lots of conversations, no meaningful relationships.
The question being asked is not, “What can you do for me?” but “How aligned are our values and what do you care about?” By connecting and working strictly and solely with those who overlap in values, the likelihood of mutually beneficial opportunities—personal and professional—exponentiates over time. Trust reinforces this.
If you stop trying to network and start building genuine connections with people, listening to them, learning to trust them, helping them get what they want, and you do these things consistently, eventually those same people will help you get what you want, and your circle will grow to include other aligned minds.
Do this long enough despite setbacks, and you will always receive every opportunity you seek. Because you will be surrounded not by people who can take you where you want to go, but by people who want to go to the same places, who understand that no one gets there alone. These are also the people you can ask help to because you mutually have each other’s back. A circle of influence is built on a foundation of trust.
Most people want to climb their summits so badly, they negate the value of forming a trusting tribe along the way. That’s where the actual value is, after all. So stop trying to “network.” Focus on finding your tribe.