December 6, 2021


Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold. We sang that song in kindergarten, and it’s still one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life.

The breadth and quality of our personal network determines what opportunities we’ll encounter. In business, the well-networked professional will have more sales opportunities, a better shot at finding his or her dream job, better information on marketplace trends, and more tools to help him solve problems.

These days, everybody knows networking is important, but that doesn’t make it easy. The obligations of work and life pile up and leave us short on time for nurturing new relationships. But there’s another way to invest in your network.

Over the years, I have lost touch with countless great people. Reconnecting with them is one way to strengthen my network and brings me a lot of happiness to see friendly faces again.

More importantly, I would not be where I am today without many helping hands. Reaching out to old colleagues, mentors and friends gives me the chance to repay some of their kindness with my heartfelt gratitude and an update on where I am in life. Even a small gesture can mean a lot, and gratitude is a powerful way to strengthen social bonds.

Fortunately, between email and social media, it’s never been easier to find (or re-find) people. My resolution for 2018 is to strengthen those faded ties by reaching out. Human connections are precious, so a short email or video updating old contacts on my life and expressing my genuine interest in their lives — that should be enough to build on.

Of course, strong networks are critical for our personal lives too. The broader our friend networks, the more variety of experiences we can have. Knowing more people also makes it more likely we’ll find the our social niche, with friends and collaborators who really fit us.

The simple recipe for a great network is to make new friends and keep the old. Engage with your communities and invest in long term relationship maintenance. Even if it’s been years, it’s never too late to reconnect. As long as you treat people well, they’ll always be glad to hear from you. That’s true gold.

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