Taking Versus Contributing
I have no appetite for the word networking. It's feels non-human and transactional; I'm going to talk to you not because I'm interested in you, necessarily, but because you might have access to a job or resource I want.
The basic mindset in a transaction is: What can this person do for me? It's about taking - people's time, expertise, contacts.
So I'm not interested in networking. Save that for the computers.
But what I am interested in is community building. Because communities are all about interactions. Vibrant, energetic interplay between two or more humans.
And when we interact with each other - when we call someone by his or her name, listen fully, engage totally - we open the doors for a relationship that is way more powerful and lasting than some one-off transactional networking.
So through interactions, we build a community of people who share advice and opportunities, who celebrate us when we rise, lift us up when we fall.
And just as importantly: We do the same for them.
Really beautiful, enduring communities aren't a one-way street where people take, take, take. They are a generous two-way street of contribution.
So, perhaps the basic mindset in community building is: What can I contribute?
And with that as our starting point, there's no end point to the communities we can create.
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