It’s Who You Know

Almost everyone has heard the phrase, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This adage is often uttered after someone lands a great job or scores tickets to a sold-out show. The important key here is building relationships.

I was rather shy growing up and still am to a certain extent. Lately, I have been trying to step out of my comfort zone and forge new relationships, as well as strengthening existing ones.

In my community, I became more involved with little league and have met some really nice parents during the last few seasons. I am now one of those people that runs in to people I know at the grocery store or the gym. Speaking of the gym, I plant myself right in the middle of the room rather than retreating to the back corner. While waiting for class to start, I might strike up a conversation with someone nearby. Rather than perfect strangers, these women become friendly faces.

My family has always been spread out around the country, so even those relationships have been distant. To remedy this, I frequently call or email my parents, even if I don’t have any news to share. I started making brief, regular phone calls to my grandparents. I tracked down cousins with whom I have not spoken in years. How? Facebook. I even have plans to visit one of them soon.

Professional relationships were a bit easier for me. When you work with someone every day, you get to know them pretty well. When I was laid-off in January, I was able to quickly arrange work through former colleagues. Vendors I used to work with offered to recommend me. What could have been a harrowing experience turned into my dream of a full-time freelance career thanks to my professional relationships.

Knowing people isn’t just about getting in. It is also about feeling more comfortable because, no matter what happens, you know people, and if you don’t, you will meet people. All of those relationships will make life more enriching. Rather than being the shy, quiet girl for the rest of my life, I want to be one of those people who know people.

Yeah, I know people.

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