The 3 Types Of Connections In Your Network

Recently I came across an old video with actor, Tyler Perry, when performing as his wise alter ego ‘Madea’.

You may have seen the clip.

Personally, I’d never even heard of the character.

Perry portrays a tough, street-smart, elderly African-American woman.

And in this clip there is a brilliant framing for thinking about relationships in your life.

Which can be easily applied to your network.

And how your network is in fact like a tree.

Made up of…

Leaves, Branches & Roots

In the scene, Madea describes how there are three types of people in your life.

Leaves, branches, and roots.

And the same can be applied in your professional network.

Let’s explore the differences.


These are the people that are only around when the weather is good.

They blow around as the winds change.

They provide shade during the summer, but as soon as winter comes, they fall off the tree and disappear.

These connections only show up when they need something. Or to take from you.

They are seasonal.


These are the people who are more present and stable than the leaves.

But they aren’t permanent.

They’ll be around throughout the good times and bad.

And whilst they might look strong, if you try to lean on them or pull yourself up from them, they may break under your weight.


These are the people who are permanent.

These relationships are deep and wide.

They are there through all seasons, they are unaffected by the changing seasons.

Whilst leaves and branches may come and go, the roots are there throughout.

The Wrap Up

I love this framing.

There's nothing wrong with having leaves and branches in your life and network.

When times are good, these people can bring you plenty of happiness and enjoyment to be around

Just don’t make the mistake of thinking they will be there during the bad.

Nor can you expect everyone to be a root.

These people don’t grow on trees (pun intended).

So give it some thought: Who are your roots?

Who are the people who will be there through good and bad? Who are the people who will sit in the mud with you?

If there’s one action to take from this week’s edition, it’s message 3 people that are roots in your network.

Cherish and nurture them.

Happy networking.

P.S. To watch the clip, watch the first 2.09 of this video.

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