Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Confessions Of A Networking Addict

Next on this Week's Theme: Quality of Human Connection

I just hit the wall ...again.

I had out-networked myself. I was exhausted. I'd signed up for one too many events. Even though it was too late to get a refund, I blew off the $45 registration fee I'd paid for that final Friday lunch.


I didn't want to be literally a card-carrying zombie, trading pieces of paper with people. I had no ability to be fully present with any other human being. I was in no shape -- mentally, energetically, spiritually, or even physically -- to be meeting anyone. And I was certainly incapable of making a friend of someone new or being a friend to anyone I knew.

I went home instead.

Back in 1974, my mom made me a beautiful campfire blanket. It's a big navy blue wool felt poncho lined with warm plaid plush, half covered with my Girl Guide badges, and half decked out with dozens of camp patches I traded from troops and groups all over North America.

I pulled it out recently and was suddenly shocked to realize how many years I had "networked" -- well over three decades -- but missed the best part. If I had been paying attention, that blanket might represent a universe of vibrant friendships. I took a long time to learn the lesson.

And I still have to practice.

Sure, I ask myself, "Where does business comes from if not from being out there marketing?"
But how can anything positive develop from wandering around like a zombie?