Won’t You be my Neighbor?

By Kurtis Bell, ServiceMaster by Bell

2348231826_4926d8b440Our region is known for harsh winters and blue collar residents calloused by this weather, but ask anyone “Won’t you be my neighbor?” and you will see at minimum a small smile begin to form. For over three decades, Fred Rogers walked through the front door, swapped his blazer for the cardigan of the day, slipped out of his business loafers, and laced up his comfortable house shoes (Converse or Sperrys, depending on the day, for you sneaker heads) to deliver messages of kindness to us all.

After reviewing the footage and reliving moments of my youth, I pulled a couple quotes from the show that can help us all be better networkers.

Mr. Rogers always was an advocate for two of the pillars of networking; honesty and sincerity. When I heard him say things like: “The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self,” I never imagined I would be reflecting upon it decades later. We can all appreciate honesty, and it goes a long way when it comes to building and maintaining your network.

The quote I found most applicable to networking was: “There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” This compliments one of my favorite life lessons (“There is something to learn from everyone, even if it is what not to do”) perfectly.

With every interaction, you have a great opportunity to leave a lasting impression. The piece of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person might as well be a meaningful piece; something they can learn from, and something that portrays you as your honest self.

Next time you open the door to a networking opportunity don’t forget to trade your blazer and loafers for your cardigan and sneakers. Make Fred Rogers proud. Spread kindness, be your honest self, and  look for good in the world. So, let’s make the most of this beautiful day, Since we’re together we might as well say, would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor?

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s May 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

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