Meaningful connections are more than being a casual acquaintance, but instead come from about cultivating relationships. This is done through actions. People are always watching the balance in your "Emotional Bank Account" (Think Steven Covey). When you operate in the mode of "self" it becomes your brand.
Below is a letter that was never sent, but maybe it should have been. The author of this fictional note is remaining anonymous (by her choice and mine), but I imagine this scenario is not only real, but is played out time and time again. The writer is a busy mom and also has a full-time job. Her employer allows her great flexibility - including the ability to work from home or from her family's cabin on a lake.
She did not get this freedom in her career by accident. She has an amazing reputation in her industry and is one hell of a networker. Her employer knows they have a winner and they worked hard to make the overall package meet her needs. She is regularly approached by people who are curious about how to land a job that allows this kind of leeway, and is always told that she is "lucky". It is not luck that she spent 20 years building a network and professional brand! It was an intentional set of actions.
Recently she has been approached by several people who want to tap into her network to find new jobs. She loves to help, but is tired of the takers who line up to "get" but rarely "give". She is always polite, but would love to hit "send" on the following email:
It was great to catch up with you at the 5th grade musical last night. Your little Jimmy is very talented; I can’t believe he’ll be in middle school next year either.
Have A Great Day.