September 23

Build Your Networks (Before You Need Them)

In June 2011, I was preparing for a trip to New York to launch my first book,The Accidental Creative.This event was for two hundred people in Manhattan, including several important publishing figures. I had a connecting flight through Philadelphia, and as we prepared to board the plane, I learned that a storm had grounded flights into La Guardia, effec- tively stranding me and making it impossible to make my book launch speech. To make matters worse, because of the storm’s impact on other flights, all the trains were filled to capacity, and all the rental cars were gone. It seemed like my book launch, which I’d planned many months for, was destined to be a massive failure.

Distraught, I took to Twitter to share my frustration. I couldn’t have predicted what happened next. A woman named Mindy, who lived in Philadelphia, happened to be on Twitter at that moment. She had been following my work and said that if I could navigate to the central Philly train station, she would be happy to drive me to Manhattan for my event. I followed her directions, and she lived up to her word, delivering me to the doorstep of the venue with only twenty minutes to spare.

I share this story because it is often a reminder to me that when you are generous over long periods of time in giving yourself to others, you will often find that your networks are there for you when you need them most. You need to build your network through unexpected generosity well before you need it. Then you will be delighted to find it there for you when you need it most.

Be generous with others, and build your network well before you need it.


How can you be generous toward others today?

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