If you view networking as just something you have to do to get ahead and to get other people to help you with your career, you're in the wrong game. It needs to be a two-way street and become part of your life, a part that freely gives to, shares with, helps and supports others. Think of the film, Field of Dreams, where Kevin Costner's character keeps hearing the voice say, "If you build it, they will come." Apply the same theory to networking: If you build the right foundation, are willing to give of yourself and are patient, good things will come back to you. It's kind of like the old what-goes-around-comes-around theory.
As in any other competitive business, you will always run into those individuals who are too into themselves and too ambitious to see the benefit of helping others. They're unwilling or are extraordinarily selective about putting themselves out for anyone else, sometimes doing so only if there's something in it for them. But from my perspective, this business is also made up of good, talented, creative, hard-working individuals who are willing to help each other. This big secret seems like common sense, but so many people just don't get that it works. I've seen it happen (to myself and to others) too often not to be a firm believer and practitioner.
In this industry in particular, networking should become part of who you are, because by supporting, giving to and sharing with others, you ultimately enrich your own life and career.
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