Another mentor, and friend, is author Dorie Clark, who not only embodies Seth Godin's advice but also models generosity to others as a core networking strategy. Dorie's two terrific books, "Reinventing You" and "Stand Out," as well as the example she gives as a professional speaker, content marketing writer, and in her personal relationships, continually emphasizes how we can improve ourselves by reaching out to others in an authentic way.
Dorie Clark begins by understanding that all brands and people seek desperately to be different. Dorie also offers the secret to achieving the all-important goal of brand and individual differentiation -- be yourself, for there is no one else like you. "Reinventing You" is more about finding you and valuing you, instead of acting the sheep-like way you think your boss, your company, your clients, or friends want you to act.
Dorie Clark has revolutionized the way people network and market themselves by suggesting (even insisting) that we act like humans, embracing who we are and giving others space to do the same. Manipulation, game playing, acting like a bully don't work to build human connections. Listening, being empathetic, being ourselves, speaking our own truths and valuing the truths of others, maybe even learning from them -- these build sustainable bonds in business and life.
Networking, suggests Dorie Clark, isn't about passing out business cards or adding names to some database. We don't need to be fake or bring our smooth, practiced elevator pitches. When it comes to networking, keepin' it (and ourselves) "real" is the best and only thing that works.
When we help others and expect no immediate return, when we give without taking, as Seth Godin and Dorie Clark so often suggest (and have done), we do the most important thing any person or business can: we build connections and deepen human relationships that sustain us.
While I'm not suggesting that "being human" is the only business strategy, I am suggesting that it's the only one that works today.