Networking is about helping others and then trusting that in time they will help you in return. By that definition, it starts with you. You need to take the initiative in doing for others and you need to become patient in waiting for those efforts to come back to you.
When the attention turns to you and others ask how they can help you, don’t get consumed asking for “game changing” opportunities. You know, the game winning “home runs”. While these are wonderful, they tend to be very few and far between. And unless your network has one readily in sight, they will quickly stop trying to find one.
Rather focus your requests on little things. Things that are of benefit and relatively easy to find. These “base hits” might not be exciting. Over time, however, one by one these seemingly mundane acts serve to collectively move the needle. And in the end, this strategy will be most productive for you.
On June 10th, 2010, Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga was only two outs away from pitching the perfect game. This is one of the rarest of achievements in major league baseball – facing 27 batters and retiring 27 batters in the same game.
Unfortunately for Galarraga, the first-base umpire, Jim Joyce, made a mistake. He called a runner safe at first base when the replay clearly showed he was out. The perfect game was lost.
After the game, players and fans were outraged at Joyce. They demanded the umpire’s termination or suspension. Tensions were high.
Realizing he’d made an errant call Joyce made an uncharacteristic move. He went out of his way to find and apologize to Galarraga. In turn, the young pitcher made a public declaration of forgiveness. These gestures served to defuse the situation.
The lesson is simple. In time you’ll be wronged and in time you’ll do wrong. Always be open to contrition. And always be open to forgiveness.