This Sunday morning, I woke up thinking about the 5 people who have had the greatest impact on my career. Specifically, I wanted to see if I could come up with a learning to attract more such people into my life.
The common thread across each of these people was that our relationships first started with my giving something valuable to them. This was never a physical good, but an experience or an opportunity which resulted from using my time to produce something that they value.
I was surprised to see that none of these relationships started with me asking for something. I can think of many examples where asking for something has produced a short-term win for me, but each of the long-term wins with the greatest impact on my career started by giving.
And in each case what I was giving was my time to produce something valuable. Since time is a finite resource, this means that you can’t give to everyone around you. You need to prioritize who you give your time to. Reflecting on my experiences, I seem to have prioritized the giving of my time based on my personal goals and how big of a need I would be fulfilling for my counterpart by dedicating that time.
However, these are very rough guidelines. In the end I didn’t know whether, and if so how this giving would have a positive impact on me in the future. I focused simply on the act of giving.
When you give your time, the getting somehow takes care of itself.