Over the last few days I’ve come to truly understand the necessity of a varied personal and professional network. During my train ride back from Washington, I had quite a while to reflect on my experiences at the Leader 2 Leader conference as well as my career so far.
I’ve always found it valuable to connect with as many people as possible. If I’ve learned one key idea in life, it’s that I have no idea what the future will bring, and if I’m able to bring my best to all that I do (still something that I am regularly working on), then the connections I make stand to benefit just as much from my work as I do from working with them.
This transactional nature of relationships might seem to take away from the value of connecting with others, but in reality, it is a true fact of life. Aside from family, where we might have little choice, we tend to form relationships with those people who we feel we can help, and who can likely help us.
There is nothing wrong with seeing connections through that lens. And, there is nothing wrong with forming a varied network, a network that includes people from very different backgrounds who do very different things in their work and in their lives. After all, the more we know about others, the more we are likely to learn about ourselves. And, in all honesty, the more people we know, the fuller a picture we get about where we can go in the future, as well as where our past has brought us.
I’ve enjoyed forming connections with others through my work at BOCES, through my experiences with ASCD, and through my own daily experiences. People are what make us learn and grow; we can’t continue to get better in a vacuum.
Varied networks allow us to see the world in a more vibrant set of colors. It benefits us all to form as many relationships as possible, and work as hard as we can to continually sustain them!