I have been so grateful this week for the various people who’ve shared news about Juliet’s School of Possibilities. It’s been a reminder of what an amazing network of people I’ve been lucky enough to tap into. I’m not a “connector” in the sense of naturally reaching out to people or putting people together; my brain doesn’t automatically work that way. But over the years, I’ve somehow managed to get to know a reasonable number of people. Reflecting on how this happened, I have come to see something:
Putting stuff out into the world is networking. The books, the articles, the blog posts, the newsletters, the podcasts — all of this is networking, even if it doesn’t immediately seem so.
Creating is networking in both an active and receptive way. Here’s how this works. On the active side: To write my books and articles, to get guests for a podcast, I have to reach out to people. Generally these people are experts on a topic, or people who are successful in some way or another but — interestingly enough! — experts and successful sorts are people too. I have stayed in touch with many of them. I have followed their careers, and over time a good number have become friends.
Straightforward enough. But here’s the more intriguing side of it. My books, articles, newsletters, and podcasts can be out in the world in places I can’t physically be. They introduce me to people. I commute with them. I (hopefully!) make the laundry-folding experience more palatable. I give people something to read while they’re waiting for their kids at soccer practice.
If I make myself accessible (generally through email) people will reach out. This includes a few cantankerous sorts. But these are vastly outnumbered by wonderful people (including thoughtful critical people who I’ve also had some great follow-on discussions with).
For a while I didn’t see writing stuff as “networking.” It doesn’t look much like making connections at a cocktail party. But it feels more natural to me, and writing has introduced me to more people than I’m probably going to be able to introduce myself to in person.
In any case, if you’re trying to find space for both creative work and building a network, it might help to see that these can be the same thing. People can get to know you through your cartoons, your songs, your videos. At least that’s true if you put your work out into the world. But with all the world can give back, why wouldn’t you?
In other news: Some more links! Working Mother ran a piece I wrote on “5 Ways for Working Moms to ‘Choose Well’ and Make the Most Out of Their Time.” And I was the guest on Erik Fisher’s Beyond the To Do List podcast — a great productivity focused show that I know a number of readers here originally found me through (from past interviews). Please go check both of these out!