"Your network is your net worth."
If there is something on which I do not compromise, it is my belief that the people we know in our life, be it personal, work, sports, academic, or any other kind, are the added value of this journey on earth.
Every time I look back and try to remember a moment that marked me, there is always someone to whom it refers to, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but either way, without people there is no experience.
During the first years of a person's life we have parents, brothers and sisters but also grandparents and uncles, teachers and friends at school and why not nice neighbours. For those who start playing sports early we can also add coaches, teammates and why not the parents, brothers and sisters of our teammates, all of them making up the first connections of our network.
By the time we arrive at the university, professors, friends of friends and everyone we know on vacation, at the disco or by chance doing a line at the post office, in the gym or by the pool, have been added. If these contacts are developed, they will form the base of our network and stay there forever.
In fact, here I will stop for a minute to tell you that when I started writing this post I wanted to make a list of all the people I added to my network during my 5 years in college in the USA but I stopped at around name number 100 because I realized that the precise number was not important. The important thing was the awareness that just only one of these contacts can make, and it usually does, a difference in our lives.
In my personal experience, my coach in college has made a difference for me: before getting there while she was recruiting me and gave me the possibility of join her team, especially during those years in college being supportive and always available to help, and also after, remaining in contact no matter what. I have known Pat for 20 years now and even if we have always lived separated by an ocean, we managed to always stay in touch and find a way to see each other about once every year.
When we play sports, and I dare to say even more for team sports, the connections increase exponentially until they reach out to different sports and unimaginable contacts. Many of the connections made in college were athletes who played football, golf or athletics and in one of my trips to the USA about 15 years after my graduation, just by chance I met one of them in a college gym in Ruston, Louisiana. He was the basketball coach of the college there while I visited the place for other sporting reasons.
After the college years we start working and here we have colleagues, bosses, collaborators, clients or patients to add to the list. Maybe later we get married and have children and once again the exponential growth because "their" contacts now become ours too and we reach the families of our children's friend and all of those who impact, direct or indirectly their lives.
In short, we never stop creating our network which is almost a living being with people who come and go and in doing so they shape our adventures on planet earth and lead me to give advice to all young university students or those just entered the working world: if you want to focus on some soft-skills, go all-in on networking and enjoy the result.