You get to a point in your career when you realize that your value isn’t so much in what you know, but it’s your experience in how you apply it. There’s community value in sharing your knowledge. While perhaps initially counter-intuitive, my optimistic self would like to believe those that say this raises your value at the same time. Yes, competitors (existing or future) might have access to what makes you special, but the odds are they won’t be able to apply it the way that you do. You’re the special sauce that holds it all together.
When was the last time that you identified some people that might benefit from interacting with you? Or people that you know will have mutual benefit with you? Or people that YOU want to learn from? The fact is that most people like to chat with others if they feel that they are being valued.
That’s the point of this! When was the last time that you felt actively valued by someone? That they shared a part of themselves with you to help you be better?
It might just be the fact that I don’t roam in the right circles, but I have a feeling that our culture doesn’t prepare or encourage us to reach out (other than to therapists?). Are we convinced that we need to fight our own battles, and that sharing struggle is weakness? I think there’s relief when we do reach out. I know that I feel it when someone actively reaches out to share notes with me.
So… I choose to initiate it when I can. Not only do I feel like I’ve provided benefit for others, but I KNOW that I have gained. I have perhaps gained MORE, because I’m the one who initiated it and had my own internal hopes and goals for where it might go.
Life is about relationships. Relationships are about connections. We gain community value when we increase our connections and relationships. Everyone gains.
Reach out to someone this week to actively engage for their knowledge, or to be their learning peer, or to invite them in for some mentorship of you.
Seriously… we don’t do this close to enough. I guarantee that if you seek to build someone up, you will also benefit.