Have you ever heard that your NETWORK is your NET WORTH?
So why do we resist networking? It moves so many out of our comfort zone in different ways, and that's okay. But what if you are overthinking it?
What is keeping you from networking, and what story do you need to tell yourself to get started?
Networking is about BEGINNING, BELIEVING, BUILDING, and LEVERAGING.
We must network. That is all they tell you in the BEGINNING. Employers spend time setting expectations and training employees, but very few explain why networking is essential, and even fewer model networking or provide successful strategies. Without mentorship, it can feel like an awkward dance of reaching out and struggling to find your way through a conversation without a clearly defined outcome.
When prioritizing so many things in your career, it is hard to see the long-term benefit of taking time for something that does not have an immediate ROI. However, for success, you need to believe networking will give you an advantage in the long run. And the situation is complicated because, without the immediate ROI, it is hard to know how much time you should spend networking and how much effort you should put into it.
BUILDING is a slow process and only successful with consistency. It is about having a plan, not making excuses, and looking for opportunities to connect internally and externally. This is important because we often overlook internal networking. Inside your organization is a great place to build your networking skills, as you already have something in common.
When BUILDING, it is critical to stay focused on the other person. Those especially adept at quickly building a network have remarkable creativity in helping others and connecting the dots between situations and connections. This part of the process never ends.
LEVERAGING is when your network starts to work for you, often coinciding with career growth. Investing in other people and their needs creates confidence in your ability to collaborate, solve problems and deliver.
It is normal to get frustrated along the path, time is a commodity, and because the reward is not immediate, it is easy to make excuses as to why you need to re-prioritize networking. Having partners at all levels is another goal in building your networking strategy.
If you have not built networking into your career strategy, you are missing a pivotal link to forward career momentum. It is one of the eight fundamental narratives leaders must manage to build a successful career. New perspectives, answers to new and challenging problems, a bigger view of the world, alliances, and people to turn to when you need support are all waiting for you. So if you are not experiencing these benefits yet, keep going.
You get out of your network what you put into it. The benefits will go beyond your career when you start thinking differently about how networking contributes to your career success.
As a Career Growth Coach, I help leaders with the eight key narratives you need to manage to move your career forward and the four stages of awareness you need in every job you hold. Sign up for my weekly email focused on your forward career momentum: https://www.thenetworkconcierge.com/newsletter.