I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know, that counts”. Well, they got it half-right.
In reality, both sides of the equation are important. Look at the possibilities.
- If you don’t know anyone and you don’t know anything, well, you are largely useless, but at least no one knows about it. You can safely keep your incompetence in obscurity. Congratulations?
- If you don’t know anyone but you are an expert in some line of endeavor, your great knowledge is wasted. You are like the mustard seed cast upon stony ground. You can neither grow nor can any other gain benefit from your abilities.
- If you know a lot of people, but you are largely clueless, this is probably the worst situation to be in. Basically, you are ignorant and everyone knows it..
- Finally, if you have both great knowledge and know a multitude of people, then you not only have knowledge, but the network of connections necessary to apply that knowledge to the greatest benefit.
Have both sides of the equation, of course, helps you in other ways. Knowledge expands in contact with others. They help us test what we know to refine and improve it all the time. Likewise, as our knowledge expands, we attract more people to us as we become a more valuable resource to those around us.
Be sure, as you continue to expand your network, that you also expand your value to that network. Your expertise can become one of your strongest tools in your networking toolbox.
Image by Duke Innovation Co-Lab