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Michael Santos

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Networking is an investment in your future. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a difficult situation like a prison or living with any type of struggle. By building solid relationships with influential people, a person creates more value. Strive to attract more people who share your values and goals. This networking strategy will open new opportunities to help you climb from struggle to prosperity. 

I wrote about tripartite goals to prepare for success in an earlier entry. One prong required that I bring ten people I did not know into my support network. I had to create a strategy to initiate and strengthen connections with people that did not know me.

Engineering a pathway to build a strong support network from inside prison required an excellent strategy. Some people prefer anonymity and choose different techniques to adjust. 

For example, I recently spoke with a business executive that received a 42-month sentence. He solicited advice on how he could use the time inside to prepare in ways that would help him overcome the challenges he expected to face when he came home. 

I recommended that he begin sowing seeds to repair his reputation. After all, he will finish his sentence and return to the business world.

He disagreed that he should bring any attention to his reputation. 

He hoped for a new beginning and wanted to forget about the debacles that led to his imprisonment. When the sentence ended, he didn’t want any ties to the decisions that led him to prison. 

Everyone struggling must choose how to climb out to a better life. 

I chose transparency. 

By documenting everything, I believed I could influence how others perceived me. From my perspective, if I were going to ask someone to believe in me and open opportunities, I had a duty and a responsibility to communicate honestly about the bad decisions of my youth. If I revealed the bad choices of my past, I could take next steps. 

I could show them the documented strategy I created to reconcile with society. If successful, I believed that I would convert adversaries into advocates.

Many people disagreed with my approach. We all define success differently. Yet we all must decide on how we’re going to overcome. 

We’re in the era of Google. If we don’t document a strategy, we may have made a decision that leads to a harsher adjustment. I chose to strengthen connections.

To strengthen connections, I worked hard to prove myself worthy. During my first years, I worked to earn university degrees. Since I was in school, I could talk about working toward something positive that others could respect. 

When my schoolwork advanced, I began publishing papers. Through those efforts, I exposed my ideas and observations to other readers, opening opportunities to connect with others. Then I nurtured those connections. 

This strategy influenced my return to society. While I concluded the final year of my sentence inside a San Francisco halfway house, I got an invitation from California State University, San Francisco. 

When I visited the university, it was the first time I stepped foot on a university campus. After I gave a presentation, the team asked if I wanted a job. I didn’t know what they expected. 

They told me that they wanted me to be a professor. 

How did that happen? 

The seeds I started to sow at the start of the journey led to connections that I didn’t even know. As it turned out, the head of the criminal justice department told me that he had read books I wrote when he was in graduate school. Had I not written those books, he would not of known who I am, and had he not known who I am, he wouldn’t have offered an opportunity for me to begin working as a professor.

Sow good seeds now to build connections that will open opportunities in your future.

  • Describe the most important people in your support network.
  • What steps are you taking to strengthen those connections?
  • In what ways do those people support your efforts to succeed?
  • What characteristics would you like to see in the people that make up your support group?
  • What steps are you making to convert your adversaries into your advocates?

Word of the day: tripartite / Define tripartite:

Use tripartite in a sentence:

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