There are many times when I pause to reflect on the power of one connection and how it’s forever-altered my trajectory.
Walking into a boutique in college turned into a job, which catapulted me into a career in fashion (as well as a deep friendship with the store owner). An introduction for a lunch meeting turned me into a writer, which ultimately led me to this Forbes column. A woman I met in my college sorority was the catalyst for the genesis of my second company. An introduction to go on a retreat turned into a lot of wonderful outcomes, one of which was meeting my beloved partner.
How about for you? Who is that one person whose introduction to you changed your life?
In a time where we are more connected than ever, we’re oddly the loneliest and most disconnected. I’ve found that so many mistake connection for transactions; people hope that each person they meet will help get them to where they want to go. However, they have little regard for the other person’s aims, let alone looking at them as the potential for a long-term relationship or someone from whom they could learn something.
Because of this, I set out to find stories of people who had one connection change the course of their lives, in ways big and small. So, I turned to Bumble Bizz to speak with their users.
You may be familiar with Bumble as a dating app. After hearing from their users that they wanted a new way to network because traditional networking can feel antiquated (hard to access, uncomfortable, and time-consuming), they created a swipe-based networking platform where users can connect with other nearby professionals to network, find a mentor, or meet up for coffee. And, if you’re worried about being mistaken for dating, you can turn that portion of the app off!
My hope is that these stories inspire you to be curious in your interactions. When in doubt, remember these examples of how common career challenges can be turned around by one connection.
When you hit a roadblock in your business
Aubrey is a a self-taught handbag designer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. When she was manufacturing her first handbag collection, things started to go wrong. On the Bizz app, she met Michael, a veteran handbag designer. He saw what she was creating and gave her helpful advice, which resulted in a turn-around for her company. She said that were it not for that serendipitous meeting, she doesn’t know where her business would be today.
Filling in the skill-gaps
Ryan owns a NYC-based company that organizes weekly events across the globe. He was hired to produce a film festival which needed a lot of graphic design work. He found Annie on Bizz, and she had several years experience in creating unique designs. Ryan was blown away by Annie’s work and quick turn-around, and felt it was the missing piece to make this event a success.
Ongoing collaboration and exploring new fields
When Evan moved to Los Angeles seven months ago, he wanted to pursue work which he found exciting and meaningful. Rather than wait for an opportunity to present itself, he took the initiative and produced a show. Needing a director, he got on Bizz and connected with Liisa who “seemed funny and her training and accomplishments made her a great connection to have regardless of her not being a director.” When they met, Liisa reviewed Evan’s script and was full of ideas, so Evan offered her the director-role, as a first-timer. They’ve been working together ever since.
Finding a co-founder and a new opportunity
Sometimes a new opportunity is birthed by a new connection, and that’s precisely what happened with Eunice and Sidney. After meeting in Austin via Bizz and chatting about AI, machine learning, and a shared mission of empowering Africa (where Eunice is from) through promoting technological services, they decided to co-found the startup dataGig.
Get funding and mentorship
Anasofia needed funding to get her first samples made. Through a contact, she was invited to a Bumble Bizz pitch competition and ended up winning! Thus, Sofia Los Angeles Swimwear was born! She also received ongoing mentoring as part of her prize, which helps to keep her company growing.
For sure, there were moments when each of these folks felt the same excuses we do to entice them from reaching out and connecting. But because they didn’t, each of them made a contact who was critical for them. We all have the ability to create that same magic for ourselves, too.
This article was originally published on Forbes.