As professionals, we are familiar with the concept of networking and know its importance to our success. If one lesson was reiterated in 2021, it was that no man is an island. We gain knowledge we could not have attained on our own and grow exponentially through the help and support of persons in our network. Our network also has a ripple effect on those within our sphere of influence.
Business gurus and self-help coaches often tell us that there are 5, 6, 7, 10 or 25 people we need to have in your network to take us to the next level. For example, we need to have a coach, a mentor, a mentee, a critic, a stunt double, a trendsetter, an encourager, a connector, an industry insider, a realist, and don’t forget the idealist. None of the roles I listed are repeated. They each have their separate function.
If you feel burdened by the list alone, imagine searching for and maintaining all these “must-have” relationships, plus investing time in yourself, family, friends and the less fortunate. How is this humanly possible?
Well, I’m not a business guru or a coach, but I might have an alternative to this idea of networking for success. It’s called the power of one.
The power of one
I learned this concept by examining the lives of several Bible characters, but for the purpose of this article, we will look at Moses. All it took was one person in his network, at a crucial moment in time, to radically change his life and the lives of many. I encourage you to read the full story in Exodus 18 for context.
Moses had done an excellent job of delivering the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, miraculously lead them through the Red Sea on dry ground and was setting the pace through the wilderness. As conflicts developed among the people, Moses became the judge over their disputes. He started to experience burn-out and build up a backlog of cases. What was Moses to do? He knew God’s laws and decrees, so he was the most qualified person for the job. As professionals, we can reach a point in our journey where we are at a roadblock and wearied from the responsibilities we have to bear.
But God knew exactly what Moses needed, so He provided someone from Moses’ network at just the precise time: Jethro, his father-in-law. When Jethro came to visit him for a few days, he observed what Moses was doing for the people. Jethro, an older and more experienced leader, played the role of mentor for Moses and gave him wise advice: delegate. Moses listened and implemented his instructions.
The end results
What happened as a result? There was a multiplication of God fearing and trustworthy men who grew in the knowledge of God’s decrees. They sharpened their skills in mediation, arbitration, and conflict resolution. The backlog radically decreased, and the people were satisfied. Moses was less strained and could focus on providing leadership to the people in other areas. Notice that Jethro was not constantly guiding Moses in a typical mentor-mentee relationship. He came for a few days, made one recommendation, and left. This single visit created a ripple effect of positive changes for Moses and the people. That is the power of one.
More food for thought
I could go on. When Esther needed an industry insider before she saw the king, God sent Hegai, resulting in her selection as queen and eventual deliverance for the Jews (Esther 2). When Elisha needed a prophetic coach for his new role as prophet, God provided Elijah, creating numerous miraculous events for others (1 Kings 19 – 2 Kings 2). When Paul needed a trustworthy partner and mentee who equally cared for the church as he did, God raised up Timothy (1 & 2 Timothy). They wrote letters to the churches together and raised up more deacons and bishops of the churches. When Jesus needed a safe haven, God provided one family in Bethany who was capable of feeding and housing him plus twelve hungry and tired men (Luke 10:38–42). They did not need to have 5-10 “must-have” people in their network to successfully fulfil their purpose. They just needed one.
God knows our purpose and the “one” person in our network that we need to meet in each season of our life. When we trust the Lord to order our steps, He will connect us with the right people we need at the right time. May we discern the network God provides for us and respond to them with humility, graciousness, and gratitude.
By Kerry-Ann McPherson
Project Manager & Contributor
Kerry-Ann McPherson is a Christian leader and administrative professional who can usually be found consuming content on personal development. Like John Maxwell, she believes that change is inevitable, but growth is optional.
She serves as the Project Manager for Victorious By Design, and regularly contributes personal development content for the blog. She is also the Managing Editor for Victorious By Design Magazine, where she works closely with the Editor-in-Chief and magazine team to produce high quality content for subscribers.
Kerry-Ann holds two degrees in the field of Psychology. As an author, she desires to use this knowledge to stir her readers to reflect on the deeper meaning of their lives. At the end of her life, she wants to know that everything God stored up inside of her was poured out.