Maybe it was the phase of the moon, maybe it was just dumb luck, but yesterday was a surprising day. Like anyone, I love receiving packages… it’s not my birthday, nor Mother’s Day, nor have the winter holidays quite arrived, but yesterday, I received lots of packages. Truth told, of the six packages, four of them were from vendors… things I had ordered that, unbelievably, all arrived on the same day. The other two packages, however, were totally unexpected.
First, in the morning, my friend, Pascal Finette, at Mozilla, who is someone that I quote in my book, put together the most delightful care package. It was full of fun Mozilla Firefox goodies (a t-shirt, a couple of lanyards, a bunch of cool buttons for my backpack). He also wrote me a note, thanking me for sending him a copy of my book (it was the least I could do… he gave me tons of great ideas and information) and indicating that he, too, would like to write a book someday. He went on to say that since he hadn’t written a book, yet, he couldn’t provide a copy to me, so he was including the next best thing: A copy of his favorite book! It’s a lovely little gem. A book entitled, Do the Work!, by Steven Pressfield. I can’t wait to read it, especially considering that Pascal says he’s read it at least 20 times! Wow. What a thoughtful gesture. Made me smile ear to ear and started my day off on wonderful footing.
Little did I know that another surprise was lurking in the mailroom…
Just before I packed it up for the day, I dropped by the mailroom to check my inbox one last time and, would you believe it? Another package was sitting there… with my name on it! This time, it was from a new contact, someone who learned about my book and blog through a mutual acquaintance. The sender was a fellow named Don Gallagher. In his package was also a note that said, “…sometimes things show up in a person’s life right about the time they need them. That’s what I would say about your book.” OMG. Perhaps the nicest complement one can receive about something they’ve produced. Made my day. But, that’s not all. Also in the package was a book! It was entitled, Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids by Paul Axtell. Ah… perfect! What a thoughtful thing to send. I am confident that it will provide wonderful fodder for many conversations with my Ian. I’m so excited to read it!
Here’s the deal: In both cases, these two individuals have already added more value to my life than I feel I have brought to theirs. It seems I should be sending gifts to them; not the other way around. In both cases, they have provided me with reams of useful content… not just content to share with the CLC community, but content that has enriched my life. Some content included practical advice (like how to use Evernote from Don); some included life lessons (like ways to make meaning in your life by putting your skills to use from Pascal).
I often say that the best networkers do so without expectation for payback or remuneration of any kind. They engage in networking to connect with others. They are passionate about their interests and want to share that passion with others who are equally passionate about their own interests. It’s a wonderful , virtuous cycle. Taking it one step further, I am convinced that the more you give in networking… in relationship building… the more you will receive in return. Mind you: Material goods are unimportant. It’s not about receiving packages or books or other physical gifts (although I am very, very appreciative); it’s about the care and thought and authenticity behind the gestures. It’s about not thinking only of ourselves, but of being generous with our time, information and resources. Special appreciation to Pascal and to Don for proving me right.