Utilizing and Growing Your Professional Network
Professional independence comes with its own unique struggles; one of which includes building your community. Outside of the idealized linear career path lies the reality of a lot of back and forth and roundabout experiences. Throughout career changes, side gigs, and creative outlets, there's always personal growth. Your network needs to be growing alongside your knowledge and skill set. It’s easy to involve yourself with your most current peers and colleagues but it takes a conscious effort to expand relationships as you move onto new stages in your career.
Everyone has a different comfort zone. For some, it’s comfortable to go with the flow and connect with the people around you in the moment. For others, it’s easier to stick with what you know and keep consistent with your old favorites. The growth of your professional network relies on embracing both sides of the coin. When you transition into a new position, connect with your new contacts but maintain your lasting relationships. Contrary to the shallow belief that networking is about exchanging titles, it’s about encouraging growth within your chosen communities!
Your network should be a resource for you to exchange feedback and guidance with the people you’ve been drawn to through common interests. The teacher who spoke to your potential, the colleague who challenged you, the supervisor who offered an opportunity --each of these interactions served as a teaching point and in time could allow you to reverse the roles! The person who revealed your strengths and prompted you to seize an opportunity might later become a candidate that you introduce or even part of your client base. Networking is full of give and take; it's an ongoing conversation about how you and the other members of your community can reach your full potential and reconstruct your goals after achieving each previous one.
Question of the Session:
So how’s your networking? How do you work with others to make personal change?