Don’t Burn The Bridge!

“People you meet on your journey may not give you direct answers, but listen and observe. Everyone on your path presents a lesson for you.” (Sheila Burke)

I think everyone knows the importance of networking. More friends, expanding friendship. Until so many events that we put these networking activities into one session: networking session! Either a coffee break or going as far as starting with an icebreaker. Starting from merely exchanging name cards then forgetting it, until meeting them again one day and starting collaboration.

Networking may be important. For business, or something else. But sometimes, we are too thirsty to have new people until we forgot our old friends, working to enlarge the circle, without realizing that the circle we had before already deformed.

I always believe that we are not allowed to burn the bridge. Never burn the bridge. No matter if we already crossed it or we just simply don’t like it because it’s ugly.

“Bridge” – usually referred to a rope of relationship by people. Keeping this rope can be either simple or tricky. We can’t just simply come when we need it, we can’t also simply ignore people’s chat or forget someone’s birthday. Only texting them during Eid al-Fitr and that’s just a broadcast message. Are those worthy to be called friends?

Read more: Kolaborasi Berarti Berpihak, Bukan Cuma Bekerja Sama

When it comes to military strategy, the term “Don’t burn your bridges behind you” means marching forward to the battlefield while making sure that there is an open road that can be taken to retreat in a desperate situation. Or in the civil term “Don’t burn the bridge” which says don’t zero-out your contact with someone, no matter if it’s personal or professional. Don’t break the relationship and ruining the opportunity to work together in the future. Reunion? Come! Invited to join? Don’t pretend to be busy. Asked for help? Don’t be arrogant or playing hard to get.

Our former co-worker, boss, employee, contributor, freelance, or just a professional partner we met in a work event or on the streets, don’t let go of these resources. No one knows if one day, these connections will become the red string that connects us with opportunities, whatever it is. Collaboration, re-employment, job referral, job reference, or just a personal relation.

My hobby is traveling. If I meet a new person, one of the things I consider is can I offer this person to travel together some day. It works, so many travel friends or my trip savior with their history resonating with me in the past. We wouldn’t expect that things we get now doesn’t matter, but one day its presence can be very essential. Or, forming a bridge connecting us with wonderful things that will change our lives forever. Haha, who knows?

A connection is like collections. But not for display in a glass cabinet until it gets dusty, it’s what we hold on to constantly. With the internet era, things like this become easier. There are social media we can use just to ‘heart’ someone’s post or comment asking “how are you!” At least the contact is not completely gone, even if we rarely see them. Because despite our life used to resonate with them and it’s no longer resonating by now, that doesn’t mean we lost the resonance forever.

I don’t believe in coincidence, including who we met. Everything has reasons. Cited from Sheila Burke, “People you meet on your journey may not give you direct answers, but listen and observe. Everyone on your path presents a lesson for you.”

The article has been translated & edited by Azwar Azhar. This original article was here.