Surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you higher. — Oprah Winfrey
When you think about building an effective inner circle for networking, it's understandable that you'd assume that bigger is better. But in actuality, this isn't the case.
In this Harvard Business Review article, The Community Company CEO Scott Gerber writes that having smaller, curated inner circles is actually better than having a supersized network.
If you're trying to sustain fifty relationships, you'll never be able to create deep and meaningful relationships. Instead, Gerber recommends keeping a small inner circle of about five people.
Keeping a small inner circle leads you to have a bigger, better network. How? The people in your inner circle will eventually connect you with their own inner circle, who, in turn, will connect you to their inner circle.
The people in your inner circle don't necessarily have to be high-profile contacts, but "good, smart people" who will help you become a better version of yourself.
When it comes to relationships, strength doesn't lie in numbers, but in depth and loyalty. But we have to choose the people who we keep closest to us because they can either change our lives for the better or make it worse.
To build your inner circle, Gerber recommends three steps:
You should be in control of your relationships, not giving the control to others. Make intentional choices about who you invest your time in — lessen the time spent with people who drain you, and more time with people who enrich you.
How do you spend your time? Do you think you spend it on worthwhile things, or are there things that you should cut out of your life?
If you feel like you're wasting your time on certain activities, cut it out of your life. It's as simple as that.
Who do you really enjoy spending your time with? Who can you learn from? Who keeps you grounded?
These are the kind of people you want to keep in your life. This doesn't mean that your relationships become transactional. You don't approach people and think, "what can this person offer me?"
Instead, look for people who you can be in a mutually beneficial relationship with. You must have something to offer them as well.
After you've done a quality check on your inner circle, you'll soon be equipped with the right foundation to build the kind of community you truly want to be part of.
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