Here is my advice on how to get ahead in any industry. It may not translate into actual dollars, but it’s worth more than that.
Change your idea of “networking”.
I would much rather play the long game, so to speak. If I can slowly get to know one good person as a real human being – even if it takes four or five years to be able to call them “friend” – I will invest in that opportunity over a party filled with celebrities and influential bosses any day.
Because what good are “connections” if they don’t even necessarily like you? There are thousands of people who do what you do, and they’re probably better at it. But to make a real friend, without any expectations – that’s unique.
To be able to have one person turn to you when they’re in trouble and know they can trust you to ask for help – that fills hearts and makes life-long impacts.
Connections for their own sake are empty, much like fame for fame’s sake. Unless you’re a sociopath, the feeling you get in your gut from using people is a sick and sour one.
But friends who help friends simply because they care – that’s a solid foundation for big things. Those are the real connections you’ll reap the benefits of in business and elsewhere for the rest of your life.
One of those relationships is worth one thousand shallow business card exchanges.
So when you’re at your industry conventions and festivals, I encourage you to skip a few official schmoozing events to pop out for a drink with the people you’ve met. That’s where you’re more likely to start something lasting.