My fascination with the power of personal networking led to my writing and publishing two books on this topic. I also run workshops and implement plans to help organisations. However, most of the emphasis has been on how building and sustaining positive relationships can enhance our performance in the business context.
The power of personal networking applies equally in our daily lives. In the last few days I have personally experienced this under compassionate circumstances. As a tribute to an outsider recognising a solution to a challenge and putting it into action, with the help of others in his network, I’d like to share the story with you:
Our family was delighted when my mother was able to be with us in Australia on the occasion of her 90th birthday. As a gift, we gave her two flights to Australia and she chose to invite her ‘companion’, Norris to accompany her. We were thrilled as they are both ‘fit and healthy’, an inspiration to all of us. We love them both.
It was wonderful that she could have all her children (me and my husband), all her grandchildren and their spouses, and all her great-grandchildren there. It was so good to have four generations learning from each other, and sharing their wisdom. We had a wonderful holiday.
My husband and I returned to South Africa 10 days before my mother and Norris were due to fly back. Unfortunately, a week before their return, Norris had a heart attack (in Australia) and this threw our family into crisis. Our children and their spouses were at his side for long hours every day and also ‘managed the evolving situation’. They supported Norris and they supported my mother, taking her to the hospital at least twice a day.
It was devastating that for legal reasons, a week later, my mother had to return to South Africa. She must have felt as though she was abandoning him (very far from it!). This courageous 90-year-old woman phones him a few times a day from South Africa and hopes it won’t be too long before he is able to return. Our children have a roster and promised my mother that one of them will visit him every day. And they do.
A very dear friend of theirs in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, where we live phoned and asked if we’d mind if he arranged that a Rotarian in Sydney could visit Norris. I was fascinated as none of us are Rotarians. He swung into action and a few e-mails and phonecalls later, we received a photo of Norris taken by the visitor in Sydney and an update on his condition.
It took only 2 days from the first suggestion to the visit taking place. And this spanned two continents. I salute Rotary on their compassionate action.
Let’s follow the thread of what happened: A Rotarian not only had the idea, but he shared it. He followed the correct procedure and protocol and using descriptively worded messages requested help from the appropriate Rotarian in South Africa, who immediately sprung into action with his team. He put the process into action and achieved positive results through informing and motivating other Rotary members. Rotary in Sydney immediately responded and the President of the North Sydney Rotary Club visited Norris within hours. So, within that formal structure, an act of kindness changed lives. We are so very grateful.
Two networks were active – the informal network of our immediate family, and the formal international network of Rotary and its members. ‘Compassionate action’ resulted. Most of us have the power to take compassionate action. How are you using your networks for humanitarian enrichment? What can you do right now to help others?