Be well. Practice big medicine.

Newman | The Positive Paramedic Project #27 Create meaningful networks

Me in my South Australian Ambulance Service cycling gear – continuing a meaningful connection made years ago.

A nugget of EMS organizational wisdom every day. #27 Create meaningful networks.

Social media is a networking enabler and networking can achieve improbable results during a crisis or catastrophe.

Many suggest a healthy network should be built upon a platform of something for something – quid pro quo – “one of the ‘implicit’ expectations of engaging in networking is some meaningful form of ‘reciprocity.'”

I reject that notion and embrace the opinion of old friend and one-time fellow paramedic, Allan Katz, who wrote that the best kind of networking was exemplified by the late great Time Russert. ‘As executive producer Betsy Fischer said, “He always said the best exercise for the human heart was to bend down and pick someone else up.”

I believe that the best networks are the ones built on the premise that dots shouldn’t be connected just for the sake of creating a connection.

However, when there’s an idea, concept, organization or corporation that just needs to be connected and you are the person who can facilitate or choreograph that relationship – well that’s certainly the magic that keeps the karma radio on the right frequency.

I smile as I write this with the realization that there can be no standard for what is meaningful in terms of creating a connection. No easy convenience of ‘create a connection to gain 5 credits’ or ‘this connection will cost you 5 points.’ No guarantee of success because often, at the point of making the connection, the end state is nebulous.

Paul Penn, of Enmagine Inc. wrote ‘Not all contributions are of equal merit. Many speak volumes but with little content or substance. (Das bloviators…). Others are meager with their contributions, but their minimalism, if substantive and timely, may have a greater effect.’

And sometimes, pretty infrequently – okay maybe once in a lifetime, quid pro quo involves the forceful removal of a meatball from someone’s airway.

Thirty years ago, only weeks after being introduced into our social/professional network of paramedics, a young man named Howard Levinson recognized an emergency when everyone else thought it was just another firehouse joke.

He quickly performed the Heimlich and the choking paramedic went on to live a wondrous life.

Every time I hold hands with my wife, Dianne, and watch as our children Emma and Sophie play together, I remember Howard Levinson and how one meaningful connection may have altered fate.

Ellen Naylor, of The Business Intelligence Source, Inc., wrote this wonderful passage to me and I think it’s a perfect way to close this episode of The Positive Paramedic Project:

“Paraphrasing a bit, you are helped because you help others: no strings attached. Instead of focusing on self-interest, you are seeking the common good. Like a boomerang, the help we give comes back to us, though often in a roundabout way.”

Be well. Practice big medicine.


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