Yesterday I made a new friend. He invited me into his office and poured me a cup of Ethiopian coffee in a red speckled mug. He told me candid, vivid parts of stories about his life, his friends, and his work. I was lackadaisically swirling coffee in the bottom of my mug when he asked me, "What about you?"
I wish I could say that I got myself where I am today with hard work and determination, but that's just not how it happened.
In 2007 I met a young man at a party who became a friend I would occasionally run into at pubs. That guy got a job at a growing software company with a referral program. His referral scored me an interview that I bombed. Someone at that company gave me a second chance and invited me back to interview for a position that would be my first dream job.
Two years later when I wanted a new challenge at a smaller company it was a friend from work who forwarded me the job posting for my next dream job.
I work with an incredible team of folks who take a chance on me every day.
In my experience, luck is just grace extended by generous people.
If you're an introvert or an independent spirit nothing will seem more hopeless than realizing you need a network. Investing in people requires time and emotional labor. And, when you open up to people you risk being let down or thrown under the bus. Do it anyway.