Over the last year, I have been asked time and time again about my story: where I came from and why nobody knew my name. While the long answer involves transitioning from life as a rocket scientist to the President of Synapse (a 501c3 working to connect and organize the innovation community of Florida), the heart of the story comes back to the connections I’ve made.
Why does connectivity matter? Simply, connectivity creates opportunities, which breeds success. The more you can find help and support, the less you have to rely on serendipity and hope. This puts you in the driver’s seat for opportunity. This matters to the entire community as we continue to hear the narrative in Florida that connectivity is challenging and holding us back from becoming a powerhouse innovation ecosystem. There are actions that we all can take to help connect each other which in turn will provide the necessary connectivity for Florida to continue its upward innovation trajectory.
This information is not top secret and you don’t need a security clearance, I can share my successful path and hope it helps you along yours.
I have built my network under the single hypothesis of offering value and asking for nothing in return. While this approach may seem backward, I find it to be the best path to success. By helping others without expectations, people are more apt to trust my intentions. There are no subliminal desires in my “why” – but to keep a strong focus on helping our community.
There are many other schools of thought here, none of which are wrong. Often, people will value numbers in networking over depth and personal relationships. Others will try to find a mutual exchange of value. I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. Some people just take from others, tossing aside connections when the value is no longer present. Finally, there are the self-contained bunch, who prefer to work solo.
As more leaders step up in the Florida innovation community, let’s think about the bigger picture. Reassess your connections and ask yourself what you expect to get and what you expect to give. The more you give, the more valuable your connections become and the more you can grow as a leader. When you take that lead, you encourage others to do the same, thereby creating a more connected community and a stronger Florida.
At Synapse, we encourage a strong community approach to our state. We firmly believe that the rising tide lifts all boats. If we can all work together selflessly, we all can make a difference for our generation and those to come. Think about the degrees of separation that can be closed if you say yes without any questions. Think about your colleagues and how they may benefit. Think about the next time you need that favor who may be there to help. One strong, connected state of Florida will help to organize us and make us the best place to start and grow a business.
I truly believe that if everyone in this community takes the unselfish approach: be the provider of value, we will see stronger leaders, greater connections, and a more unified ecosystem. With this approach, we will all drive more support and build wider networks. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that strong connections lead to success, but linking to one on Synapse Connect won’t hurt either.