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Better than Networking: Netgiving

Better than Networking: Netgiving

By Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck
National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling CoachesSM


Networking is a common topic in career books and articles.   Randall S. Hansen defines networking as "developing a broad list of contacts -- people you've met through various social and business functions -- and using them to your advantage when you look for a job. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to other so that you can expand your network."

In his book, It's Not Just Who You Know, Tommy Spauding takes a fresh look at the familiar idea of networking. He says that while "networking isn't bad.  It is just not enough.  With a paintbrush and a can of paint, you can create chaos or beauty; it all depends upon what's in your heart.  The same is true of networking.  When a heart centered on others drives your actions, networking is replaced by something far, far more powerful---netgiving."

Networking vs. Netgiving

Here are the key differences between networking and netgiving:

-Networking is all about you; netgiving is about others.  Networking asks "What can I get out of this relationship?"  In contrast, netgiving starts with the question "How can I help this person?"

-Networking is about working hard to gather as many contacts as possible and then use them for your own benefit.  Netgiving is about building relationships to help others succeed in their career, family, community and life even if you have nothing to gain from doing so

-Networking is finding out about others so you can figure out what they can do for you. Netgiving is about finding out about others so you can be a resource for them. Netgiving can be as simple as sending an encouraging email to someone who is facing a difficult challenge, or going out of your way to introduce someone to one of your contacts who could help them.

- Ultimately, Spaulding says netgiving is about love.  It is about where your heart is when you are building relationships with others either in person, by phone or online.  It can be summed up in what Jesus said, "Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:31). Netgiving  is about choosing to live out the Apostle Paul's words in your business life: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others" (Phil. 2:3-4).   

Steve Farber, president of Extreme Leadership, author and speaker, fleshes out this concept with his GTY-Greater Than Yourself-principle in his book by the same name.  He believes that each of us should mentor someone else "with the goal of intentionally making that person "greater than yourself." Tommy Spaulding has been the personal recipient of Steve Farber's invaluable mentoring. Spaulding says of Farber,

Steve's approach works because it's based on sincere, authentic love for another person. When that exists, ego doesn't go away, but it's relegated to its proper place. When we love someone, his or her success is more important to us than our own. And we realize that no matter how much of ourselves we give away in helping make that happen, we never get drained of our own success.

Success is Not about You

True success in life happens when you realize that life is not about you; it is about serving others. When you are able to make that mental shift in how you view the purpose of your life, you will find you are successful in the whole of your life, including your business life.  Spaulding says that "you will not only make money but change the world-not because of what you know and not because of who you know, but because of how you live. The most important thing in your life is not what you do or who you know; it's who you become."


© Article copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, National Certified Career Counselors, and  All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.