The essence of networking - paying it forward

Are you are a giver or a taker?

11 months ago, I was seriously ill, faced with a life-threatening condition. As a single mother with two sons living with me, I was devastated and unable to care for them…or myself. I wasn't able to walk, dress, cook, or do anything practical around the house for a long time. 

I was truly blessed to learn that my adult daughter and her wife had created “a meal train” to help us. is an organizing forum/website where people can reach out for help during times of illness, emergencies, or in other times of need. 

I am still very touched when I think back and recall how many people signed up to bring us food, donate gift cards, order takeaway, and help with cleaning, transportation, and other practical things. It gave me peace of mind to know my boys had healthy food on the table every day. And that peace of mind went a long way toward helping me recover more quickly. 

Would people help you if you were seriously ill? 

A few months later, I was up and walking again, finally feeling human. I went for an evening walk with my 12-year-old son, and we talked about paying it forward. 

I told him that people helping us like that doesn’t “just happen” by chance. It happens because we have all been paying it forward, giving our time, energy, and resources to help others.  My son seemed to understand the principles of giving back and paying it forward. Just to be sure, I emphasized that when we gave our time to help people or when we invested in our community, we were doing it genuinely, without any expectation of reward, benefit, or payback to us. I was so pleased when he said that he already knew that!

When it comes to professional networking, the same principles apply. People will be more willing to help you with contacts for your business, help with introductions if you lose your job or want to shift careers or help in other ways. And, if you get sick or need help for another reason, people will be there. 

It’s never too late to start giving. Start today with a smile or a compliment. 

Florida greetings

Susan Binau


About Susan Binau
Susan is a motivational speaker, published author, and survivor of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses that changed her perspective on life. 
Her mission is to inspire others through "hands-on tools," educational programs, coaching and self-help books.