Thin threads that grow stronger – a true networking story

Many years ago I was involved in Nutrition for Life International (NFLI) , a company I was proud to be associated with, and a role I thoroughly enjoyed. During that time, as a leader, it was my job to support the sales staff who needed leadership and were in the UK, even though I had not recruited them.

As one example, and there are many, I was lucky enough to meet Malcolm Charlaw. Just like many others Malcolm had taken up the right to sell NFLI’s products. However, he could not relate to his line manager, and as one of the four company’s leaders in the UK, it was my job to ensure they received the support to have a fighting chance of making more sales. As we chatted, we became friends, and on his travels with his day job as a computer network specialist he would pop in for a meal at our home. Malcolm relates to us, as we relate to him, our thinking has more in common than it has not in common.

If you consider this relationship in terms of networking (as in relationship building) theory you could have considered Malcolm a stranger. Yes, we had the company in common, but it was a relationship that grew around what we were, rather than who we worked for, indeed Malcolm soon quit marketing NFLI’s products. At that point in time, what would happen in the corporate world, should I have been advised to abandon a friendship, and just left him alone and cut ties as he no longer provided value in £ or $ terms?

NFLI closed in 2003, if memory serves correct, NFLI was another victim of the Enron scandal (we had investors from the oil industry, who had to withdraw their capital to survive having not being paid by Enron).

Since 2003, Malcolm and I have kept in touch, recently a stupid reckless driver has caused Malcolm to be severely injured, leaving him hospitalized and needing ongoing care. As a friend at distance there’s not too much you can do to help, but I did lend an ear. Long story made short I was able to be that person that was just there at the right time to help Malcolm.

The truth is Malcolm and I both like people, but we never really expect our friendships with others to create wealth. There has been no expectation of a result, apart from the fun of being real friends and looking forward to talking to each other.

So, what is my message … nothing new !

Just “Pay it Forward” , be happy you have a friend that cares about you.

Help where you can and help when you genuinely feel willing to do so. Always stay true to yourself, never be anything else but yourself. Allow people to self filter, your real friends will just rise to the top.

I’m looking forward to the next discovery of a real friend.

Are you ?

As ever, Simon Hamer


2 thoughts on “Thin threads that grow stronger – a true networking story

  1. This is the same reason I object to Facebook defining a “friend” as someone you have met in person. You can connect with people by phone, online, through work, or whatever… it’s the connection that makes it a friendship.

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