Since January of this year I’ve been working on a Big Project. It’s my first real audio product, called “Calm, Cool, and Connected at the Networking Event”.

This is not an advertisement or an encouragement to invest. In fact, as of this writing, it’s not available for sale.

The process of creating this beast was a serious personal effort, certainly. I mean just writing the script for three hours of audio — more than 30,000 words — was a huge undertaking. Then there was the recording, editing, processing, etc, that goes into the actual product itself.

But this isn’t a public service announcement about the value of hard work.

What this post is about is how often I called on my network to help me get this project done.

I am not a professional (or even an amateur) graphic designer. Fortunately, I know someone in my network — my good friend Gail Nicklowitz of GN Communications — whose work I’ve admired for a long time. She designed the packaging. She also, through her connections, was able to put me in touch with a great local printer who could take care of the actual printing at a reasonable price.

Thank you, Gail.

Creating a product like this in a vacuum — locked away in my office or recording studio — is a direct road to failure. I knew I needed a few other eyes looking in on the process and providing me the feedback needed to stay on track. Fortunately for me, I had a group of volunteers (mostly subscribers to my “52 Connection Tips” mailing list) who were willing to be my beta testing team. My only regret is not calling upon them more.

Thank you, Beta Testers. You are too many to name here, but you definitely kept me on the straight and narrow.

The real challenge with a project of this size is just keeping up the effort. I was excited to work on it in January and early February, but as week dragged into week, it became more difficult to focus on the effort. It’s so easy to just let things slide and end up with yet another product that never gets done. Fortunately for me, I had a couple of accountability partners. They were never mean, but they did push me along.

Thank you Penny Rosema and Jeremy Tracey. If it hadn’t been for you, those prototypes wouldn’t be there for one last check.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve started a project over the years only to have it fall through for lack of skill, information, or motivation. I look back at all that wasted effort and I realize that what was missing was me calling upon my network of contacts and friends who could help me find and stick to a path.

I wonder how many other projects are waiting out there, collecting dust on the shelf, when all they really need is the spark that a great network could provide.

Remember, a network is about helping you achieve success in all areas of your life — and they are just waiting for you to ask.