I’m a big fan of old adages. When it comes to friendship, there are a couple that spring immediately to mind. One is, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” I totally disagree. I prefer to keep a few close friends and avoid anyone even close to being potentially deemed an enemy. More interesting is the phrase: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” That is what I would like to examine more closely.
Over the course of my career in media and public relations I have continually sought out mentors while also seeking to serve as one. Even more regularly and on perhaps not as ambitious a scale I am continually looking for ways to help individuals – close and casual/professional friends alike – especially in cases of career transition and business connections. I’ve been around for awhile now and have built up a network I am happy to share with the right individuals. It’s giving back.
And while I never assist someone seeking to get something in return, it is always interesting and eye opening to see who is actually there for you when times are tough, in life or career. Just as the cream rises to the top so too do your true friends and associates. Despite their trials and tribulations. Despite their work pressures and family responsibilities. To be sure, it sure is nice to get back sometimes.
In the end, it should not be about you; a dynamic all too often lacking if not absent entirely in these all too often self-absorbed times. It is about looking beyond yourself. Being selfless. Being thoughtful beyond your world. Perhaps author Ralph Waldo Emerson had it right when he wrote: “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” That should hold for business and life outside of it.