Deb Haggerty's Positive Connections WebsiteDeb Haggerty's BioPositive Hope

You Reap What You Sow

Networking (the people kind) has been my passion for years. I believe you must constantly keep in mind those people to whom you can refer others — in order to receive the benefits of networking you must first be willing to give. One of the highest compliments to receive is to be viewed as a resource — a source of help and hope for many other people. Fifteen years ago I started a consulting business and called it The Haggerty Group, after myself, of course. Two years ago, I realized that name identification was not what was important, what I did was. Positive Connections® was born. Today Positive Connections® focuses on connecting organizations and individuals through positive strategies in communication, human resources and technology.

For years my greatest joy has been introducing people to one another and watching a positive connection occur — seeing my friends become friends, seeing clients finding better employees or a new vendor or business partner. As a member of the National Speakers Association, my favorite job at our workshops and conventions has been to get people involved in the organization by hosting a breakout session. This assignment allows them to meet lots of other speakers they might not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. I love getting people on the periphery involved in the organization. NSA is a type of home for me and just as I like my friends to be friends, I want my fellow speakers to feel at home at NSA. Showing people the ropes, giving folks directions to the meeting rooms, talking to pals about what's going on in their lives — connecting everyone in a positive fashion to what or who they needed.

My Dad never knew a stranger — they were only friends he had not yet met. This philosophy has permeated my life as well. My husband tells people I'll talk to anybody. That's true — you never know when that taxi driver or store employee or neighbor or person at a sports event/concert/dinner is going to turn out to have valuable information for you — or need valuable information from you. And giving, being of service, is a reward in itself. I've lived this philosophy for years — I never dreamed what an impact it would have on my life.

Last December 13th, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. In a very short period of time, the course of treatment was determined and I started down the path that entirely too many women face. One out of eight women will have breast cancer during their lifetimes. 75% of those cases are in women over 50. Breast cancer is curable if it's discovered in the early stages. My strongest emotion through the whole process has been anger — anger that cancer still attacks so many women. Anger that cancer affects one in three people. Anger that every three minutes another man is being told he has prostate or colon cancer. With the resources available to us, cancer should have been eradicated by now. Knowledge is power and I determined that I would journal the process I was going through — with the intent to share it at the end of the journey.

I had a modified radical mastectomy January 31st. Another complication led to the need for a hysterectomy as well. And, of course, there's the chemotherapy that's required to insure as best as possible that no stray cancer cells remain. My attitude throughout has been positive — it was something to get through and then to get on with life. I let a few close friends know — I truly believe in the power of prayer and positive thoughts — and then proceeded to "update" them at various points in my journey via email. I told them about all the tests I was going through, how they felt, what they involved. I painted verbal pictures of the waiting rooms and processes.

To my great surprise, one friend told a mutual friend who then scolded me, "We want to know when you're going through bad times as well as the good — that's what friends are for!" My email list expanded. Then friends told my story to our National Speakers Association prayer chain, another mentioned me to a Writers' Newsletter I subscribe to, a group I speak with put the prayer request out to their entire email list. Over the period of just a couple of months I have received hundreds of emails — many from people I do not know, but whose lives have been touched by my story in the "updates." "Thank you for sharing this. My mother is going through breast cancer so I've forwarded your updates to her — she's much encouraged." "Thanks for your candor and explanations. I have three other friends who are going or who have gone through this and I know so little. You've helped to educate me and to demystify the process." "I'm so encouraged by your faith and positive attitude — you've given me hope that I can get through the problems I'm having in my life right now." "We love you and we're praying for you!"

I have received, in prayers, encouragement, positive thoughts, advice, other stories much, much more than the time I'd given in making the connections for or with these people. I am humbled and awed by the return on the investment of caring for people enough to connect them to each other. I am overjoyed to be the recipient of such Positive Connections®.

Maybe I'm an exception, but I hope not. This has all been a reminder of how important people and relationships are in our lives. Our businesses, successes, riches, fame — all are nice, but nothing takes the place of people! Make the time right now, to think of those people that you know to whom you can connect others. Take the time to make that phone call, write that note, send that email. You may never know how much impact your actions will have, but on the other hand, someday you, too, may receive the overflowing of love and affection that has been my privilege these past months. In the end result, the only things that truly matter in life are the connections we make, that is, the relationships we establish with other people. If we can all make Positive Connections®, we will positively impact our surroundings, our companies, our countries and our lives!

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Plymouth, MA 02360
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