The Importance of Networking: You Are Not Self-Made

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Goals!" by Brian Tracy. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Is networking absolutely necessary for success? How can networking with the right people help you achieve your goals?

You might think that building connections with others is unnecessary because some successful people are described as “self-made.” According to Brian Tracy, however, a totally self-made person is a myth. Even entrepreneurs who started their empires from virtually nothing relied on family, friends, financial backers, and customers to build their businesses.

Here’s why the importance of networking with the right people cannot be underestimated.

Build Connections With the Right People 

The importance of networking cannot be underestimated: the right people can help open doors to opportunities or to provide emotional or moral support. The right kind of help can save you years of hard work and fast-track your achievements. 

It’s therefore important to build and nurture your relationships in three areas:

1) At work: Whatever field or business you’re in, Tracy says that you’re essentially in customer service. Your job is to meet the needs of those who play a role in your advancement and those who rely on you: your boss, co-workers, staff, customers, and suppliers. Be a team player by doing what’s expected of you, knowing your priorities, and genuinely offering to help others. (Shortform note: Tracy writes what you should do as a team player, but he doesn’t describe what you should be. In The Ideal Team Player, author Patrick Lencioni describes a team player as someone who is humble (putting the success of the team above personal interests), hungry (driven to do more), and smart when it comes to dealing with other people. Read more in our full guide to the book.)

2) In your industry: Tracy notes that some of the best people you can associate with may not be within your organization, so venture out of your workplace and get involved in industry associations and business organizations. Volunteer for committees then do your work well. Those you impress today might be able to open doors for you tomorrow. (Shortform note: If the idea of building a network throughout your industry intimidates you, you can treat it as a big goal that you can break down into smaller goals. For example, resolve to make one new industry connection each week.)

3) At home: Tracy stresses not to take your loved ones for granted. Be sure to explain why you have to put in long hours at work and make it up to them in the future. Having a happy, supportive home life can motivate you to do better in the outside world. On the other hand, having problems at home can negatively affect you, distracting you from work and draining your energy. (Shortform note: Tracy says that a happy home life can lead to a better work life, but the two actually reinforce each other. Research shows that employees who are engaged at work carry those positive feelings back home and are more satisfied with their home life.)

Be the “Right Person” for Other People

While the ninth step typically involves identifying people who can help you reach your career goals (like your boss and co-workers) or your health goals (like doctors, if you have underlying health conditions), it also means evaluating what you bring to the table, especially when it comes to your personal relationships. Tracy advises that you think about the qualities that can improve your relationships, like patience, humility, attentiveness, and warmth, and practice them until they become second nature.

(Shortform note: You should think about what you bring to the table because networking should be mutually beneficial. Be sure to have something to offer the people that you connect with instead of just thinking about what they can do for you.)

The Importance of Networking: You Are Not Self-Made

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Brian Tracy's "Goals!" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Goals! summary:

  • Brian Tracy's steps to setting and reaching your goals
  • How to approach your goals with the right mentality
  • Why persistence is more important than courage

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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