Kaylie and I had just finished our Karate class. We decided to stop upstairs at the coffee shop to get a little snack. As always, she got her favorite – a fruit and yogurt parfait. We headed further into the store to pick up a spoon so she could dig in. On our way, we passed a gentleman who was struggling a little on his way to the same destination. After she retrieved her spoon, she immediately turned to this man – a complete stranger — and asked him if she could help him get anything.

He thanked her and said he appreciated her offer but that he would be OK. She smiled and started heading out the door. As I followed her past him, he reached out and touched my shoulder. He looked me right in the eye and said:

“You’ve done a good job.”

If you’ll allow me a moment of fatherly pride: I want to be more like Kaylie. She shows a level of compassion toward all those around her to which I can only aspire. She’s my hero.

The funny thing is, in this, Kaylie naturally shows one of the fundamental skills that we should all have as good networkers – paying attention to the needs of others. The more we are able to do this, the more they will value us as a part of their lives and the stronger relationships we will have.

The next time you are sitting over coffee with someone, be sure to listen for where they face obstacles and challenges. Think hard about how you can connect them to resources which might ameliorate those difficulties. You never know what a difference you might make in their lives.

Even if you can’t, at least they’ll know you care.