How entrepreneurs neglect the most important person in their network

Our connections are a spider web with us in the middle. The larger our circle of connections, the larger our web, and the more chance we have to catch flies. Or so it seems.

Are connections just about building the biggest web we can? Or should we worry about the kind of flies we catch?

We weave our own webs. To weave a web we must start with the connection that we too often neglect: the connection to ourselves.

Our entire web is built around this central connection. Since we’re all just human, we have to consider that the webs we build represent our fears, concerns, and insecurities as well as our strengths. This means that perhaps we aren’t always catching the right flies. Our tangled webs may just confirm and empower the parts of ourselves we want to change.

Networking is often seen as the quest for a bigger, better web. At networking events we stand with rapt attention, eager to know and understand others. But if our network reflects us then we need to get to know ourselves just as we would get to know the most important people in our network.

As it turns out, you are the contact you have been hoping to meet all these years. What makes you tick? What are your fears, your worries, your concerns? What makes you happy? Do you feel enough love? Are you compassionate? Do you get angry? Why?

Read: How will artificial intelligence change the way we network?

We neglect this connection because it takes hard work and courage to face these questions. Sometimes the answers are far from what we expect. It’s easier to pass a business card, to send a LinkedIn invite, or to listen to someone else talk about their business. But getting to know our most important contact is the heart of personal success, and the payoff is enormous.

As we learn about ourselves we unwind troubles from our minds and hearts. We start to become more ourselves. We learn to discover and embody our passions in a way that gives them real purpose and meaning.

When we spin a web with a strong connection at its centre, we build something different and enduring: a web that honours our integrity, the good and the bad we all have within.

Some might say, "Yes, that’s fine. But I need contacts for my business, new clients, or a way ahead in my industry!" However, something remarkable starts to happen when we build a web based on our true essence: all our connections become more powerful. Our web-spinning pushes us towards fulfilling our real purpose and gives us new strength to help others fulfil theirs.

As we build our webs we ought to ask, "What flies do I want to catch?" Only by knowing ourselves can we find the answer.

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