With all the possibilities in front of you, why are you hiding out?That was one of the questions I asked myself as I reviewed a business talk this morning. The speaker was the owner of The Aji Network, speaking to his students toward the end of a two-year period, referring to some who had shown up for his talks but never worked to produce any identity with him. Since they didn’t engage after countless opportunities, he didn’t know how to help them, and had no background with them that could lead to new offers, networking or other transactions in the future. For his part, he said it didn’t bother him because his main focus was looking for those who would produced positive identities with him (my paraphrase). Then he referred to “hiding out”. The fact is, the students had actually paid to be members of his organization for two years, and then elected to sit on the sidelines, thinking they were “absorbing” learning when they missed out on the larger opportunity in front of them – every serious business professional we meet is a possibility for helping produce our futures. In the talk I was reviewing, nobody will ever know what might have happened with those students. But it got me thinking about different situations I have been in and whether I also “hide out” at times. Even worse, where have I actually paid to engage in the first place, and then failed to take the opportunity! The thing is, when we were in high school and college, we might have felt we could afford an air of entitlement – our parents paid their taxes, so we were entitled to public school. Or our parents paid tuition and we were entitled to private school. Similarly, as long as we paid for our credit hours, we could sit in class with folded arms and dare our teachers to teach us anything! I know there are places I didn’t engage as I could have at times in my career, but in the marketplace we really can’t afford to hide out. That is one contributor to the most embarrassing situation imaginable. There are so many changes taking place with such velocity that learning how to engage and building networks of help are critical practices for any businessperson who doesn’t want to end up bitter and resentful that the world “passed them by”. It takes humility and confidence stop hiding out. It also takes courage and a sense of urgency that building your networks will not happen on its own. Where do you struggle with hiding out?