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by Rubel Shelly
The term networking is important to business and professional people. Having a productive circle of people around you empowers you to serve your clients or customers more effectively. It also benefits your career, of course, for colleagues in related fields to trust you enough to refer people to you.
But we are learning that it is even more important to have a network of supportive friends than to exchange business cards and prospects.
In March, Karen Weihs of George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., reported new evidence that cancer survival is linked to family and friends. Her study of 90 patients with breast cancer showed that the size of a womans circle of friends and extended family affected survival as much as the severity of her disease at diagnosis.
The subjects in Dr. Weihs study were contacted a few months after their diagnosis. They were asked to list people outside their home they could call on for support. Network size ranged from two to ten, with an average of six. Survival odds increased along with the number of friends above six; the risk of recurrence and death grew as the number of supportive persons fell short of the average.
Dr. Weihs appears to be pointing to something we all know: A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity (Proverbs 17:17, NRSV).
There is nothing evil about career advancement and making money. But if they are purchased at the expense of being an authentic human being who has a network of loving family and friends, far too great a price has been paid. Family is more important than work. Friends are more valuable than corner offices and company cars.
Do you have that network of six close friends? Do you know people who would name you in theirs? If so, thank God for them. If not, its time to rethink the degree of priority youve been assigning to relationships lately.
Author: Rubel Shelly
Publication Date: July 20, 2001
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