Today, I was participating in an online conversation about networking and someone said, “I only network with the whales. If someone isn’t at least twice as successful as me, I don’t even bother exchanging contact information.”

With that attitude, my guess is that a lot of people are at least twice as successful as he is.

Network Up, Down, Left, and Right.

Networking up is great. It’s always a good idea to surround yourself with successful people who are – right now – where you want to be in the future. Those people may have great advice, insight, and motivation to share with you.

But networking horizontally is also valuable. The people who are where you are today are the people you work with, compete against, and can partner with to accomplish new and amazing things. Many of them will become the whales and, if you shunned them when they were just fish, they probably won’t be so keen to network with you then.

Networking down is also has immense value. To someone with less experience, you are a whale! If you’re generous with your time and knowledge, you’ll soon have a loyal following of people who care about what you create and offer. In this day and age, that might be the most valuable resource you’ll ever have.

Everybody has something of value to offer. It would be a shame to take the advice of a stranger on an internet forum and miss out on 2/3 of the networking opportunities that can help you reach your definition of success.