Dear friends, today, we shall be discussing a powerful and resourceful tool in the mind of a progressive-minded person entitled Your network determines your net worth. Before we proceed with this discourse, let’s see the relativity of the term network and net worth. A network can be likened to a group or system of interconnected people or things, while a net worth can be likened to the sum total of a person’s wealth. Permit me to use the accounting and tax concepts to analyze the relativity of network and net worth. In accounting and tax, in order to know the net pay any taxpayer is entitled to, you must take off the applicable taxes from the gross income which he/she has worked for. In that same line, in determining your net worth via your network, one has to apply the words of Benjamin Franklin which says, “Be civil to all, be social to many, and familiar to few”. By applying the “elimination” method, you have to decide who are the most productive among your friends/associates. By doing this, you will know how rich and viable your network is. Your gross pay is the total money you worked for- (everybody in your network), while your net pay belongs to you (resourceful bosom buddies) after the taxes(bandwagon) have been applied or taken out from your gross income.

In determining your network, we shall be looking at various quotes and sayings, because this is the rubric that will be used to access a person’s “value“. It is no longer news that, most folks are being judged by the kind of company they keep. In discussing the words network and networth, we will also be discussing the component parts of a network, with the aim of seeing how we can use it for our benefit, and in turn making us more resourceful and productive both in our personal, social, educational, business, and daily lives.

Networking: In this present age and centuryyou can never underestimate the power of networking. This is because, research has shown that most folks do get jobs, opportunities, and favors  faster through networking, as opposed to striving to get good grades while in school, and applying for jobs. Don’t get me wrong, applying for a job is good as well as getting good grades in school is also good, but in the real world and in reality networking influences a lot of decisions.  Isn’t is true that, it’s not who know but who knows you?  For example, if you apply for a position in which you are competent, in addition to having the basic qualification and experience, and you know somebody who works in same company or organization,  then you stand a better chance of getting a call for an interview faster more than any other candidate who might even be more qualified than you are. Furthermore, research has shown that it is people who network very well normally get opportunities faster because they know the right person(s) who makes the decisions or know somebody in the company. For example, the smartest students in college normally get hired because of their grades which I may say amounts to 30% even if they don’t network or know anyone in the company as the case may be, the second class or B Students who get lower grades in school, but who participates in social activities, by joining relevant networks while in, and out of school tend to head the first class students with the best grades in school in the real world. This set of students amount to 70% in the real world. I regard these set of students as being street-smart. These set of students normally get such opportunities faster because, during the process of their networking, they might run into the decision makers.

Networking can be used in various ways. In this context, we shall be using it to enrich our knowledge and wealth. For example, research has shown that, folks who leverage their LinkedIn networks when seeking for a job are more favorable than folks who merely applied for the job online. This is because, LinkedIn folks who have an online presence/contacts on their list would have been able to create a familiar relationship with folks of interest, thereby creating prospective job opportunities.  Again, LinkedIn helps headhunters to reach out to preferred candidates for available job openings within their area of interest. It is generally said that, it is who you know that gets you the job, yes I agree to some extent, however, I think who you know gets you closer to the door, but who knows you know gets you  the job. I say this because  the norm is no longer who you know, but who knows you. Yes, you might know about Bill Gates, President Obama and some other prominent figures in the society, but the question is, do they know you? It is important to know that, who you know might get you to the door, but a person who knows you will not only let you in, but will, in addition, give you a seat. Networking does not only entail meeting people at events, it also involves using the resourceful social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram to reach out to friends of interest. It is quite unfortunate that most folks use social media mostly for fun. Yes it can be used for fun and indeed, it is fun, however, it can also be used as a learning, informational and resourceful tool. It may interest you to know that, while writing this blog post, I received a call from a very prominent man in Nigeria, Dele Momodu who is a former presidential candidate in Nigeria, an international journalist, and founder  of  Ovation International magazine. The question now is, how did I meet him? I came about knowing him through social media, and ever since then, we have become best of friends.

Another form of networking is attending events. The events you attend goes a long way to show your interest and passion and can be a great access to your success in life if you are investing your time and resources into the right place. Most folks are not comfortable with paying for events which will take them to the next stage of their career, but they  will be comfortable paying for movies, parties, etc just to have fun. Make no mistake, such social activities are good, but they should be moderated and balanced, in order to accommodate other meaningful interests. That is why, it is always good to associate and surround yourself with positive minded people who will support you during your good and bad days, hereby, preventing emotional or financial concerns.

In order for you to enrich your network, you must first of all identify what you want and how you intend to go about it. Networking does not really entail going to events, you must be specific on what kind of events you want to attend and the kind of folks you would like to meet. According to  Alfred Montapert  To accomplish great things, we must first dream, then visualize, and then believe and act”.It should be noted that, great things don’t really happen to ordinary people who sit down and expect things to happen, hell no! They must be willing to stand up and make it happen. This  can be done by being an early morning worm, and networking with the right set of people. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi rightly captured it when he said “for better or worse, our future will be determined in large part by our dreams and by the struggle to make them real”.  Life has not promised us an easy road, but it definitely promises us that, at the end, the efforts and time invested will be worth it.

Reading Books:  You cannot underestimate the power of reading books in this 21st century. Networking is not only limited to attending events and exchanging business cards. Research has shown that folks who spend at least two thirds of their time reading about successful people, doing research, and making efforts to get knowledge are more likely to be accepted and valued in the society in addition to having an increased net worth both in terms of finance  and otherwise than folks who merely attended events to acquaint themselves with relevant stakeholders in the sector, but lacked the required substance required for such opportunity either because, they were not prepared for such opportunity or they lack the necessary skill and information needed.  The group of people  who normally get such opportunities are voracious readers who must have read about the company, their policies, and what they stand for. Isn’t it true that information is power? According to Henry Ukazu “If you are not informed, you are ill-deformed, and once you are deformed you can’t perform because information leads to reformation and transformation”.

In order for you to increase your net worth and acceptability in the society, your level of information/knowledge must be put to test. This is because, before you know about a particular field or person, you must be well informed and well acquainted with the relevant information or issue at hand.The saying, “knowledge is power” is no gimmick. According to Francis Bacon, “Writing maketh an exact man, conference maketh a ready man, but reading maketh a full man”. It should be noted that, you cannot increase your network and net worth without having the resourceful information which will distinguish you from ordinary folks. According to Samuel Johnson, “Knowledge is of two kinds, it is either you know the answer or you know where to find it“. Charlie Tremendous said  “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for two things the people you meet and the books you read“.  Also, the book of life said in Hosea 4:6  it states, “My people perish for lack of knowledge”, and in Proverbs 4:13  it says ,”Your education is your life, guard it very well”.Therefore, we can conclusively deduce that, you cannot have a successful net worth without a corresponding balanced information or academic knowledge on a subject matter of interest.

Resourceful friends:  There is a popular society saying that states, show me your friends and I tell you who you  are. I’m inclined to believe this saying because, you can identify a bird by it company she keeps.  A person’s net worth can be increased or decreased due to the caliber of people in his or her circle. Having productive friends who are not only knowledgeable and well informed on a subject matter, but are also  mentally and financially stable, helps to increase the net worth of a person. Having resourceful friends will no doubt shape the future and net worth of a person. This is because, your friends will either make or mar you. Relying on the quote by Charlie Tremendous “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for two things, the people you meet and the books you read”. You need productive network of friends who will not only refer  you to potential opportunities, but also, will assist in making sure you have the right information and guidance needed to execute such task successfully. Isn’t it true that some folks have attained success and failure in life just because of  the company they keep? If you want to increase your net worth through your network, you must ask yourself this question, “do I have resourceful friends who can assist me in achieving this desire”? You can do this by asking yourself, what’s  the most valuable use of my time right now? Alternatively, you can ask yourself “what do I spend the most valuable use of my time on”?

 Online presence/Events/Volunteer service: Finally, but not the least on increasing your net worth. Any progressive mind must have an online presence, he/she must be must willingly to attend events, in addition to offering himself/herself for volunteer opportunities whenever it arises. Having an online presence has really helped so many people connect to resourceful beings and opportunities in addition to boosting their professional network and networth. In this 21st century, social media is one sure way you can have a productive online presence such as owning a website, having a page on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Blogs.  It is very  easy to connect/partner with a successful people who can help you to increase your fortune. It’s sad to find most folks using social media for purposes not suitable for productivity. The value and importance of social media is to tell the world about our business, our likes, and dislike, staying abreast with information and reaching out to the world through voice and deeds. To an extent, if you have an online presence which fetches a lot of traffic, there is a  high tendency  that your net worth will definitely increase due to the number of request,questions, visitation, information, and message your page will generate.

Attending Events : There is an adage by the Igbos-  one of the major tribes in Nigeria, which  says, you cannot be at your home and at the same time know the price/value of a commodity. This literally means that, in order for a person to enrich his/her  network and know about contemporary issues are prevailing in  the society, he/she must attend events, especially events of interest.By so doing, he or she has opened the door to numerous opportunities due to the connections they may make at the event, which in turn leads to a productive net worth  all things being equal. Furthermore, it is is important to note that you become like the people you associate with, so it is imperatively necessary you and to choose wisely any event, book, being or organisation you’ll to associate with.

Volunteering at events :The last but not the least in the power of networking is, volunteering when an opportunity becomes available, especially in an area of interest. Volunteering/offering yourself for service is one of the most viable means for most people to get job opportunities. Volunteering for pro bono activities has a lot of opportunities inherent in it.When folks volunteer for community development project, they do that in group with like- minded folks who share the same values. This helps the goal/achievement of the group more attainable. There is also a high tendency that the group may form a network for another project which can turn out to beneficial for everyone.

Having given a holistic overview and an in-depth analysis of the above subject matter. It is important to note that the network of every living creature will go a long way in determining their acceptability and recognition and above all his or her worth within the community. In order to know how to choose the right set of people to network with, you have to know who you are, and  what you are passionate about. Join relevant organizations, association, club, group, avail yourself the opportunity of enhancing your network and net worth. Also, for effective networking, adopting the steps mentioned above will go a long way to enhancing your net worth According to Francis Bacon, “Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly”. Analyzing this quote from  accounting perspective, the gross income which is the total money earned by an individual can be likened to “some” books which should be tested, that is, the general folks you meet in life,- you have to be civil to them;  some devoured can be likened to ‘taxes’ being taken out  or allowable deductions which means – try them; and only the few which should be chewed and digested thoroughly, can be likened to your “inner caucus” or your “net worth” after sieving through the unwanted products. Alternatively, we can see it from another perspective, “be civil to all, social to many, and familiar to few“.

Furthermore, relying on the Ubuntu spirit which literally means “I am because we are, I am because of what other people have made of me”. Nobody knows it all in life, therefore, we need one another to survive. That is why Mother Teresa once said. “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot, together we can do great things”. To an extent, our success in life depends on our connection with our fellow human beings.  This is one of the the main reasons why  successful people have the urge to to give back to the society because they feel and know it is essential to give back knowing fully well that someone assisted them in their journey of success and self-discovery and also the society not only assisted them but played a unique role in shaping them into who they are today.

Finally,be sure to ask yourself these questions: Am I in the right place? Am I doing what  I am supposed to in order to go where I want to be tomorrow? Do I have the right network? As you ponder through these questions, put it at the back of your mind, that your network determines your net worth. Be Positive, Be Energized, and Be fruitful 

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Henry Ukazu is a graduate of New York Law School. He is Founder and President at Global Empowerment & Mentoring Initiative. A trained life coach, prolific writer, and passionate youth advocate, he is also a highly sought-after public speaker. He is author of the acclaimed book, “Design Your Destiny- Actualizing Your Birthright to Success.


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