BLUF: I received tremendous value after finally reaching out to someone after putting it off for YEARS.
Like all of us, I've fallen short on living up to my ideals around managing my team and my career. One area that has been a huge gap recently is maintaining network connections. I made a great connection with one of the leading people in my industry (including a handwritten thank you note!), yet continued to put off reaching out again because "things are getting ready to change soon".
After two years(!) of postponing my Ctrl+K reminder in Outlook, I finally decided to stop stalling and sent an email saying hi, sharing a brief update, and asking how they were doing. Despite this person's busy schedule, I received a warm note back within a day. Even more remarkably, the day after that, I received an invitation from my contact to submit a proposal to speak at a leading industry conference that my contact supports! Two weeks later, I've got an approved proposal and a fantastic opportunity, all due to reaching out!
While your network building should focus on giving vs getting, I hope this inspires you to reach out to someone you've lost touch with. After all, what do you have to lose?