Have you heard the adage about networking? It goes something like this, “your network equals your net worth.” A friend of mine, the great speaker, Richard Hardon, can easily motivate you to reach out to others to help you succeed to greater heights using that phrase. Without a doubt, he is right about that. But, I get something else from what he teaches, too. I understand that networking is something even more valuable than your net worth or its ability to open doors to increase your income. I get that networking is important because it allows you to connect in so many ways. For instance, during networking, you realize more intimately that you are not alone in your endeavors or your struggles.
For instance, a few months ago I was asked to share some self-publishing advice with a writers’ group in South Atlanta. If you are on the southside and want to join this vibrant group, they are called The Turtle Queen Author’s Club. The Turtle Queen is Pauline Mansfield who has written several books, two of which on how she survived domestic abuse. Ms. Pauline is a very charming woman whose heart is the source of her network. She hasn’t met a person that doesn’t instantly fall in love with her. Many of the writers in her group had been published traditionally and self-published, and many were seeking insight on the mechanics of writing and publishing. But, it was a sharing event that increased the value of their minds and spirits. Mine, too.
Fast forward to two weeks ago when I attended a book club in midtown. I found it on Meetup and since it was sponsored by the Black Lit Society, a very active organization founded by author Tamika Newhouse, I thought I would check it out. Tamika is a young powerhouse. Having authored and published 19 books, she owns a publishing house, a production company, a book club and book review website, and is the founder the African Americans on the Move Book Club (AAMBC) Awards held every year to highlight the achievements of African Americans in the literary world. Tamika attended this event and shared her life’s successes and failures along the way during her exciting career. Again, in attendance were not just readers but writers and aspiring writers looking for that small crumb of motivation to keep at it, not giving up on becoming a writer. Ms. Newhouse was very easy to chat with, very open, and relaxed. I don’t think anyone walked away without some form of encouragement. What I walked away with though was something more than the networking value of hearing and seeing someone else’s success, but in comparison where I had not succeeded. I won’t use the word failure, because that I did not do that overall, fail. But, I didn’t succeed in moving forward with my writing and publishing as she did. And, that had been my dream as it had hers. You see, the lesson I walked away with from her networking event, was not to quit this time. She and I had attended our first ever book conferences in Houston, Texas years ago, exact event. At the time, we both had only one book. Yet, for me after spending hard-earn dollars on several book conferences later, I no longer believed that I was going to make it in the business, so I quit. She didn’t. She kept trying until she got it right. I stayed in my career and kept earning a paycheck. She worked for herself and built her empire.
Yes, networking with the right people will put you in the right position and afford you the right mindset to uplift your income, your net worth. But, overall, it’s those networking eye openers that uplift the soul as well and that net worth is priceless. So writers, get up from your computer, walk into the sunshine, and get into your car. Go meet someone new. Maybe they will increase your value to the Universe.