There is an African Proverb that says if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.

This is one of the benefits of having a strong network of people.

These people are those who contribute to your success and growth in your career, business and personal life.

A good network can provide job leads, business referrals, possibilities for advancement and opportunities for personal improvement.

True is the saying “๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ” and this is why we leverage on others to achieve success in life and career.โฃโฃ

For many individuals, success came on the heels of strong networking opportunities they have created and nurtured over time.โฃโฃ

But what really is ๐๐ž๐ญ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ค๐ข๐ง๐ ?

Networking is not merely the exchange of information with others โ€” and it is certainly not about begging for favors.โฃโฃ

Networking is about establishing and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet, whether in an elevator, a coffee shop, a supermarket or at a work conference.โฃโฃ

It is about contributing to their success just as you stand to benefit from their knowledge.โฃโฃ

But there is no doubt that a huge number of individuals are making cringe-worthy networking mistakes that in turn negativity impacts them.

Some mistakes include:

1. Not following up.

Rather than letting that great conversation with your new connect go to waste, ask to stay in touch. You can send a LinkedIn invitation with a personalized message.

2. Asking too much of your network.

It can be frustrating to open your inbox and see messages like, โ€œHi, i want a job at your company!’, “Can you give me a letter of recommendationโ€ (even though you have not spoken with the person in 3 years!)

3. You only reach out to people when you need something.

You never say “Hello” until you need something.

While making amends in our networking mistakes, it is imperative to pay attention to the circle of friends who surround us. These people will either mar or make us. Your ๐๐„๐“๐–๐Ž๐‘๐Š is your ๐๐„๐“ ๐–๐Ž๐‘๐“๐‡, so the saying goes.

As King Solomon rightly puts it: ๐™ƒ๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™๐™ค ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ก๐™ ๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™จ๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ก๐™ก ๐™—๐™š๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™จ๐™š, ๐™—๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™›๐™ค๐™ค๐™ก๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ก๐™ก ๐™—๐™š ๐™™๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™ค๐™ฎ๐™š๐™™.โฃ

Take an inventory of those close to you.โฃ

Do you feel uplifted or torn down each time you are in their midst? โฃ

Do they push and encourage you to be better?โฃ

Do they seek out growth opportunities for you?โฃ

Are they your “hype men”?

But then remember the ๐—Ÿ๐—ฎ๐˜„ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—”๐˜๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป: Like attracts like. ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’Š๐’” ๐’Ž๐’†๐’‚๐’๐’” ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’˜๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’‚๐’•๐’•๐’“๐’‚๐’„๐’• ๐’•๐’ ๐’š๐’๐’–๐’“๐’”๐’†๐’๐’‡ ๐’˜๐’‰๐’‚๐’•๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’“ ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’‘๐’–๐’• ๐’๐’–๐’•.โฃ

So ask yourself: Are you someone’s hype man/woman? Do you encourage those in your circle? Do you seek out growth opportunities for them?

Don’t just be a receiver, be a giver. For it is more blessed to give than to receive.

No matter the level you think you are right now, you can rise higher just by leveraging on your network.

Be intentional about growing your network.โฃโฃโฃ