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Every Interaction is an Investment, So Build Your Network With the Right People Every interaction is an investment into the success of others and strengthens the bonds for mentorship, leadership and future partnerships.

By Mike Seper

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every interaction is an investment that can benefit both parties. The greater investment into the success of others, the stronger the bonds for mentorship, leadership and future partnerships.

Mentorship yields great results and can take many forms. Being successful rarely happens without help from others. It is important to recognize those that supported your journey and pay it forward, to help others who are striving to succeed.

From professors providing insight to young inventors to experienced entrepreneurs investing time to develop the talent of aspiring innovators, investors and business leaders, investing time into others has a tremendous return and builds a network for exponential returns in the future.

Related: Why Business Partnerships Are the Kiss of Death

Contribute to your community, university and legacy

Mentors changed the trajectory of my life while attending the University of Hawaii as a student. I had an unbelievable opportunity to work at ESPN and help manage the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Day. The internship was an extraordinary experience and extremely educational, in my growth as a leader.

It was a career-changing opportunity that I am still thankful for nearly twenty years later because it allowed me to work with an admirable leader who taught me the meaning of being a professional. We all remember those people that saw something in us — even if we may not have been able to see it in ourselves. When someone is willing to invest their time because they believe in the potential of someone else, it can positively impact their lives and open their eyes to the dreams that lay dormant within them.

This support while attending university inspired me to share my experience and support the next generation of students. Working with student entrepreneurs and startups brought so much joy that it became the focus of my career, from university to national security.

Related: How to Use Strategic Partnerships for More Explosive Growth

Understanding your why and how to help others

Supporting students on their startup ideas brought me tremendous happiness and the opportunity to teach and mentor the future generation of changemakers. My experience is unique because not all entrepreneurs want to teach entrepreneurship as a job, but it was a career-defining goal on my entrepreneurial journey. As an entrepreneur, I was not looking for a job, but rather, a way to make a positive impact. The more time is invested in others, the more opportunities emerged to support my community.

Life is not a linear path and making it to the top of a mountain alone is not a successful existence. When you are willing to invest in others, it creates new networks for partnerships and opportunities for entrepreneurs to bring their dreams to life. Partnerships result from investing in impactful interactions and learning from each other. Open the aperture to do more for your community and amplify your impact by partnering with others that want to give back.

After you align the stars, enjoy the view and watch others shine as they perpetuate the exponential power of investing time, talents, and treasures to building a stronger community.

Investing in others creates a brighter future for everyone by aligning vision, passion and networks of people that believe in the power of paying it forward.

Related: How Investing in Strategic Partnerships Can Help Grow Your Business

Mike Seper

University Program Director at Washington University

Mike Seper is a startup founder, writer and National Security Innovation network member. Seper serves on Harris-Stowe State University's Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, GXM and represented Washington University in the Kauffman Foundation Heartland Communities of Practice.

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