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6 Benefits Of Networking & The Importance of Community

Female Community

The importance of community in our lives can’t be underestimated. Almost half of Americans feel alone and isolated, according to a 2018 study by Cigna. The study found that face-to-face interactions, physical and mental wellness, and work-life balance have the greatest impact on loneliness.

Indeed, in his book, Outliers, The Story Of Success Malcom Gladwell states; “We’ve fallen in love with this notion of the self-made man, with rugged individualism. We are so caught in the myths of the best and the brightest and the self-made that we think outliers spring naturally from the earth. No successful person succeeds just because of their own efforts.”

Outliers gives example after example of successful people who are seemingly individual geniuses. However, when you peel back the layers you find their success (in addition to their persistent hard work) is actually the product of their environments and the people in their lives.

If true, our connections are vitally important.

The book also explains why Bill Gates’s success can largely be credited to the 10,000 hour rule and being surrounded by a community that could give him every advantage possible to get to those 10,000 hours. At 13, through the moms in his community, he got access to 1,500+ hours of free computer time, which most of his peers were not getting as computers were rare and expensive at the time. This was Gate’s chance to test out and experience professional software programs for hours on end.

“The lesson of Bill Gates is about the power of community, not individual value of genius,” writes Gladwell.

You can’t always choose the time, place, family, or culture you’re born into, however, as you get older you do get to choose, for the most part, the community and support system you build for yourself.

Being an entrepreneur can feel isolating. There are so many benefits of networking and reasons why a community can help you achieve your goals faster, easier and in a way that supports you as a whole human. We’re not robots after all. Below is a list of 6 benefits of networking and the importance of community to achieve success.

 

1.    Networking Helps You Build A Valuable Support System

Having people around you to motivate and encourage you is vital to your success. Finding the right community means you’re surrounding yourself with people who understand exactly what you’re going through and the challenges you are up against.

Entrepreneurs, especially in the early days, are time and resource poor. In a community members can share their experiences and also pool resources and help each other get off the ground.

It’s a win-win environment. You can connect with like-valued people who are not only motivated and driven but excited for your goals too. They’ll cheer you on and pull you up when you are down. Your success becomes their success.

Impactful communities add value when they support members, provide a sense of camaraderie, make strategic connections, and act as a source of advice that members can apply to their own lives.

 

2.    Your Community Can Help You Learn And Grow

Community helps to feed the human desire that we belong to something, a place to learn and grow together. Community members often share a passion for personal improvement and continued learning.

The most effective learning strategies engage communities and foster discussion, rather than have individuals read a book or watch an educational video alone.

An estimated 45% of WeWork member companies claim the coworking giant has helped accelerate company growth, through workshops, facilitating connections or hosting events.


3.   
Communities Gives You Access To Different Perspectives and Real-Time Feedback

Communities can provide you with feedback without fear of judgment. Being able to bounce new ideas or Mastermind different approaches on each other without worrying if those in your community are going to judge you for it.

Being able to hear the perspectives of those who might have dealt with a similar issue, and how they were able to overcome the problem. A fresh set of eyes on a persistent problem.

 

4.    Actively Participating in Your Community Builds Rapport and Trust

A community can provide connections that can come back as word-of-mouth referrals opening doors and creating desirability for your product or service.

When you actively participate in community and add value by helping others and sharing your expertise it not only helps you build lasting relationships but it also fosters trust in what you do. There are many documented benefits of helping others, but once people have experienced the benefits first hand they will be more than willing to share their experience with others.

 

5.    Mentoring Can Boost Your Career

A community is the perfect opportunity to find a great mentor and to mentor others. There are endless benefits of being both a mentor and a mentee.

In fact a five year study conducted by Sun Microsystems found that;

  • Both mentors and mentees were approximately 20% more likely to get a raise than people who did not participate in the mentoring program.
  • 25% of mentees and 28% of mentors received a raise – versus only 5% of managers who were not mentors.
  • Employees who received mentoring were promoted FIVE times more often than people who didn’t have mentors.
  • Mentors were SIX times more likely to have been promoted to a bigger job.


6.    Diverse Communities Further Expand Your Network

All too often we tend to look for inspiration from people who are similar to us and build connections within our own industry. Other than becoming quite bored from hearing the same ideas and perspectives over and over again we miss out on gaining valuable inspiration, some of the best ideas often come from industries outside of our own.

By widening our view and joining communities that intentionally bring together people working across different industries you can gain access to new ideas and specialized knowledge that you might not have had access to before.

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    Martine Resnick
    Martine Resnick
    Founder of The Lola, a women's club, workspace, and digital community. Women join The Lola to intentionally grow their network, cultivate relationships and build their support system.
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