Earlier this week, I had the privilege to deliver a series of networking skills building workshops at the 60th anniversary conference of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) organization in Orlando, Florida. There were about 900 strategic communications professionals who support college athletics from across the country and beyond.
I was particularly inspired to attend the Hall of Fame Luncheon which honored this year’s CoSIDA Hall of Fame inductees, Lifetime Achievement Award winners and other notable professionals. One such individual, ESPN’s Michelle Smith-McDonald, was the recipient of the Jake Wade Award for outstanding contributions in the media to the field of intercollegiate athletics.
Ms. Smith-McDonald was interviewed on stage by her colleague, ESPN rising star, Maria Taylor, who asked what she loves about her job. She had this to say, “I love collegiate athletics. I love that it doesn’t last forever. It is a precious time. It’s a privilege to be able to chronicle it for and with these kids.”
Ooh! I love that! The idea being, of course, that we should appreciate what we have while we have it. We should take note of the impermanence of life. We should seize opportunities when they present themselves. We should not take anything for granted.
No surprise, I couldn’t help but think of Ms. Smith-McDonald’s concept in the context of networking. Sure, I’d like to say that relationships last forever – and many do. The trick is to recognize precious interactions when they occur. To recognize special individuals as they touch our lives. To not wait for a better time than right now to leverage those relationships by adding value to one another’s experiences when the moment strikes.
Consider these ideas:
- Who are some of the key connectors in your life?
- What opportunities presented themselves because of your connection with others?
- How did you recognize and leverage those opportunities?
- Did you pay it forward to others and/or bring them along on your journey?
- Did you say thank you?
- Are there relationships that have languished – perhaps simply due to the passage of time – that you would like to rekindle?
- What will you do to make that happen?
The simple message here is, whatever you are going through, irrespective of how busy you presently are, appreciate this time in your journey as something special. Capitalize on the chance to really make something good happen for yourself and others. And, find ways to chronicle the experience so that, in some small way, it does last forever.