A principle that is valued in Praxis is social capital. Participants are shown how to build it and spend it, much like holding a savings account with every influential person in their life.
When I moved to Pittsburgh in the beginning of 2017, I was (and still am) grateful for the opportunity provided to me by Praxis and Go Realty. I was eager to find a way to prove myself and make good on the investments they’d put into me. I dreamt of big projects I could take on, and prove myself valuable. And while I certainly did try to challenge myself throughout the year, a few small moments stuck out.
Taking the financial metaphor further, wealth building is usually more successful when it’s grown over time in small amounts, rather than a single, large deposit. Successful relationships, both personal and professional, succeed over time and through the building of trust and reliability. (Side note – The Anatomy of Trust by Brene Brown is an incredible talk. Check out her work.)
This is demonstrated by saying you’ll do something, and doing it. It’s as simple and as complex as that.
Most people (myself included) get hung up on creating BIG trust and BIG value, rather than just looking for small ways that I can help someone. Rather than focusing on how to get so tight with someone, they’ll name their first born after you, how about you pick up their mail for them when they’re out of town. That’s what I did for my friend Zak. Zak is a large part of the reason I got my job at Go Realty. I’m also grateful for all the advice he’s given, both solicited and not. I can demonstrate that by saying thank you, or by helping with a small favor.
Another example that comes to mind is helping my friend and co-worker Josh, transport his snow tires. He drives a smaller car than my 4 Runner, and it was easy for me to offer what to him was really helpful.
When my bosses Andrew and Shannon were going out of town, I was happy to offer to dog sit for them. Again, super easy for me – I love their dogs and missed my own – but they were able to save a lot of money by not boarding them.
Someone might read this and just brush it off as being a decent person, and that’s ultimately what it is. Creating social capital largely comes down to using your abilities and resources to helping someone. Using social capital largely comes down to knowing when to ask help, and from whom. Even if it’s as simple as picking up a package.