2 min read

The Create Columbus Commission took a trip to Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago to learn about the city and hear from public and private sector community leaders. Our first event, a panel discussion, had quite a few amazing quotes. One of those quotes came from an Emmy award-winning artist named Emmai.

“Relationships are like bank accounts. You have to deposit more than you withdraw, and your checks can never, ever bounce.”

Over the past few days, I’ve been asking a lot of some of my friends and mentors. And more than I could have imagined or hoped for, they have all been extremely generous with their time and input on very short time frames.

Some of these folks go all the way back to my time as a student at Ohio State in the entrepreneurship organization, the Business Builders Club. I never considered myself to be “networking” but I had resolved that I was going to meet every speaker the club brought in.

And like clockwork, after every meeting, I would go introduce myself to the speaker, relate to their presentation, and follow up afterwards via email and Linkedin (admittedly, I did at the time have an obsession with getting to 500+ genuine connections).

But over the years, maybe to my own detriment, I’ve made very few asks of people. I’ll frequently ask someone if they are open to an introduction to someone else, but I’m cautious about asking much or wasting someone’s time.

Now, to Emmai’s point, I have strong relationships with a “high balance” that I’m lucky to be able to utilize on short notice like this week.

I think I’m still vastly underutilizing my relationships and hindering myself because of it, but I am so lucky to have instinctively known how to cultivate these relationships to this point. It just goes to show the value of giving more than you take (h/t Andy Sparks for the book recommendation).