I firmly believe that life is a contact sport. What do I mean by that? Well, simply that no matter what your position in life, success often hinges on who you bump into. Always look for opportunities to meet, and get to know, new people. You never know who you may need or who may come into your life and affect you at some future point in time.
Your Network of Connections May Impact Your Success
Throughout the course of my career I’ve held several leadership and executive positions. Yet I can’t think of one role or major position that I’ve been awarded that was not in one way or another brought about by a direct referral from someone in my life. Every single position began as a referral, which positioned me for the next opportunity. Here’s a real example of how the network of connections you build have the potential (for those of us who like to take a little risk) to impact your future success.
When they were both young, maybe in their mid-20’s, Don Keough and Warren Buffet were across the street neighbors in the friendly town of Omaha, Nebraska. At the time, Don was working for Butter-Nut Coffee as a salesman day in and day out. His neighbor and friend, Warren Buffet worked out of his upstairs home office. On Friday nights, it was customary for their families to get together and play bridge. One Friday evening, Warren Buffet said to Don, “How are you going to pay for your children’s college educations? I’m starting this new company called Berkshire Hathaway and I’d like you to invest $10,000.” Don proceeded to laugh and said “Warren, you’re a nice guy and I like you a lot, but I’m not investing $10,000 of my hard earned money with a guy who doesn’t go to work every day.”
The Full Circle of Life and Networks
If Don would have invested when Warren asked him to, his $10,000 investment would be worth well over $90,000,000 today! Nevertheless, Don Keough went on to be the president of a beverage company that does fairly well called Coca Cola. Don and Warren remain friends to this day, and Don even sits on the Board of Directors of Berkshire Hathaway. Their relationship began as young neighbors and has since grown into lifelong business associates.
Life is a contact sport indeed and a complete circle that begins and ends with the neighbors, friends, colleagues and people you meet each and every day. Stay true to yourself and stay true to your friends. Treat people as you wish to be treated and keep your eyes open. You never know what door of opportunity awaits – even from a friendly game of bridge.