You know the old adage – “It’s not what you know but who you know.” Well as with most old sayings, there is of course, some truth in that statement. I venture to say it’s an 80/20 split in the case of who/what you know. In life, we are all born into a community – by our nature we are in relationships. We are connected and that’s really all we know. Our every achievement and learning has come because we either heard it, saw it, or was physically directed by another to learn it.
I’m not sure why anyone would venture into the “real world” and think it would be any other way. And yet, I frequently hear people making that statement as if this is a foreign concept. Rather than disdain this fact of living as social beings, I believe we should not only practice it to learn and connect but we should do it in both directions.
What do I mean by that? Well, when we need to know or get something, we go to the closest “expert” to ask. One person directs us to another and we network our way into moving ahead, either in knowledge or in career, etc. But how many times do we look around to see who needs to know us? Do you have a spirit for teaching but hesitate to reach out to do that? Do you have expertise, experience, or knowledge that would change someone else’s life, or even the direction of their struggle, but talk yourself out of sharing? I often wonder what is it in our nature or raising that makes us hesitate to share without being asked. Do we have to let people struggle to “earn” their right to proceed or succeed? I think not, but I am discouraged at times by the way we live in a society that cherishes taking care of our own and letting the rest be damned.
I can’t tell you how badly my life would have gone if that was the case for me. Not everyone gets the privilege of being born into a family or situation that edifies and lifts them up and guides their way. I am ever grateful that as a child I was given a hand out. Out of poverty. Out of abuse. Out of despair, dysfunction, and possible destruction. I was also given a hand up – people who didn’t know me chose to love me. I learned to live in a family that gave without question. They were generous with time as well as with resources. They lived their faith through volunteerism and I was blessed to live with and learn from them. I have tried to instill that in my family. I know I crave the opportunity to give back as a way to balance the books for what was given to me.
Sometimes, on our better days, I wish we would see more examples of people voluntarily sharing and networking who and what they know on behalf of someone else and not just for themselves.
Ask yourself – who do you know? Who else needs to know them too? Join me in looking for who needs to know you and me. And be blessed!