I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it, but there’s a thing in my neck of the woods called the front porch forum. It’s an old school daily email advertising yard sales, spreading town gossip and other opportunities.

Recently, because I’m one of those people that pretty much reads every email I’m sent, I noticed our neighbors just up the hill were offering a barter for firewood- you can have the same amount you stack for them.

Now, we’ve lived in out house since 2010 and I still haven’t met these neighbors. They’re literally at the top of the  hill that begins at the end of my driveway. I’m sure we’ve passed on the road, but I had no idea what they looked like, or which black truck they drive.

I was hesitant at first to respond to the post. It has been seven years for goodness sake, it’s awfully late to be meeting people. They probably think we’re jerks for not reaching out sooner. Wait, maybe they’re jerks for not reaching out. We were the new neighbors and all. Aren’t they supposed to bring us pie?

I sent the email.

I got a lovely response and after a little back and forth and a few rounds of phone tag (yes, this transaction involved calling people I didn’t know on the phone), I found myself is a beautiful meadow with firewood as far as the eye could see being shown around by a lovely gentleman that quite frankly is exactly who my husband wants to be when he grows up.

It’s going to be a great symbiotic relationship. They’re trying to clear a pasture and it’s producing more wood than they can burn. We’re young, strong, and willing to help. The neighbor build a cider press out of an old washing machine. My husband eats that kind of thing up.

As I was stacking wood under the watchful eye of Trout, their lovely Jersey, I couldn’t help but think.

In what other areas of my life am I not reaching out? What emails am I not sending? Who am I afraid to reach out to and share Beautycounter – either the products, the mission, or the business? Why am I scared that too much time has passed, when in reality, these are just people that I should be looking forward to meeting?

Look, we all need other people. I recently attended a fundraiser for my music teacher who was in a major car accident. There were people from all corners of her life there to support and celebrate her. Our neighbors in the other direction held an event to support her mother’s battle with ALS that left them speechless at the turn out. Every time I pick my daughter up from daycare or her grandparent’s house, I’m reminded that all those folks are also shaping who she’s going to be. She has a village raising her.

We need family. We need partners. We need business partners. We need people that push us out of our comfort zone. We need people who we can borrow the literal or figurative cup of sugar. As I watch the aftermath of the recent hurricanes and reflect on the destruction caused by Irene, I’m go grateful that while the news tends to highlight what divides us, our lives are really formed by the immediate network we surround ourselves with. We need to connect with people that can make us more. 

Networking is a powerful thing. Reach out to someone this week you’ve been meaning to meet. Comment below who you connected with!