Do you have a healthy “vital network” that serves you well? Becky Robinson’s blog post at Weaving Influence really struck a chord with me when I read it today – and it prompted this post.
I define one’s “vital network” as an association of individuals with a common interest who provide mutual support, clarity, and assistance. A group like this can become a proactive support system, far beyond casual workmates and acquaintances. Your vital network is a community of compatriots who keep you on course, serve as “truth tellers,” and surround you with positive energy.
Building Your Vital Network
Creating your vital network begins with an evaluation of who in your broader network of co-workers, friends, and family fits your criteria for “vitalness.” Here are my criteria (yours might be different):
- Values-alignment – Potential vital network members share your values and demonstrate aligned valued behaviors. There are few if any situations where you wonder “What the heck were they thinking when they did ‘X’?” with these folks.
- Mentorship – They have life experiences that they share willingly when asked. You trust their perspective because you’ve seen them successfully negotiate a variety of human circumstances.
- Demonstrated Caring – “Vital network”-worthy players go out of their way to check in, unprompted. They reach out with a thought or article of interest, or a query about your well-being.
My lovely bride (of nearly 32 years), Diane, is my most important vital network member. Nearly everything I consider enjoys Diane’s insights.
In my journey towards greater effectiveness in the social media space, I have found fabulous “vital network” members from outside my established circles. Becky Robinson responded to my request to “pick her brain” about how to gain traction with followers & listeners in this space – she has become a wonderful friend. Kevin Eikenberry helped open the door to a fun project and has provided fabulous insights from his experience.
I stumbled upon Lolly Daskal‘s vibrant LeadFromWithin tweet chat and community on Twitter (it recently expanded to Facebook). She welcomed me with open arms as a valued colleague. Lolly is a confidant and vital friend.
Dan Rockwell has shared his expertise with humor & focus, a unique combination! Blanchard colleagues David Witt and Jesse Lyn Stoner offer support & clarity as I continue learning to expand my influence in this space.
Serve the Members of Your Vital Network
I’ve spoken here about how much I’ve learned from my vital network members. Yet the network only serves me so long as I am willing to invest time, energy, and heart to serve members of my vital network. I don’t yet feel that I have “balanced the scale” with some of these wonderful people, but I’m working on it – by reaching out, connecting, offering support, and being present when they ask for help.
What’s the Condition of your Vital Network?
There is no time like the present to examine your vital network. Does your vital network include the kind of peers and experts that you will benefit most from? Are you serving as well as receiving?
What are you waiting for? There are fabulous partners just beyond your reach – stand, open up, invite conversations. You’ll be glad you did.