One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the last couple of years is the importance of networking. As a very antisocial introvert, that sounds gross to me. Networking. Ew. BUT, as I have built some confidence to overcome social anxiety, I’ve realized how your network can help you achieve all of your goals, and, in turn, help others in your network achieve all of their goals.
Consider any time you’ve had a problem and don’t know how to move forward. First, you must identify the blocker. In any issue, there is typically at least one smaller issue that is becoming a silo to your success. Once you identify that blocker, you release the silo and are able to achieve your goal.
However, whenever you’re in the middle of a dilemma, your fight-or-flight instincts are comin’ in hot and your stress is at an all-time high. It’s hard to identify that blocker in that moment of despair, especially depending on your automatic reaction. After a few deep breaths, I’ve learned that the best answer is often to call upon your network.
Your network ranges from your immediate family to your co-workers to that Loyola Graduating Class of 2016 Facebook Group. It can be as vast as you allow it if you realize the potential of your network. When we think of a social network, we think of all of our Facebook friends (when will there be a bulk delete/unfollow action?). But, a true social network is more than who you are directly connected to. Do you remember your peer mentioning she knew someone who worked at that awesome company you dream of working for? They are a part of your network and you can ask to be connected, maybe even landing the job of your dreams. If you let your co-workers know you’re looking for an apartment, they can keep an open ear for anyone else looking for a roommate. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together, and your friends’ friends are just as important in your network.
It’s all about who you know.
Okay, maaaaybe. That too sounds yucky. I would argue that it’s all about who you want to know, and that leads to the art of connections.
As a new professional, I’m kind of in love with these cc’ed emails that connect two people.
I met someone with this awesome thing going for her and I feel like you two might connect well and be awesome together.
*quick bio/brief, maybe links about them so they can stalk each other, yadda yadda*
xoxo Mary K”
Maybe they become new BFFs, or maybe they end up creating the next amazing startup. Who knows? But, expanding your network can become mutually beneficial.
It also feels really good to connect two people you admire. Even if you can’t solve any of their problems that they asked advice on, or you don’t really want to make time to hang out, it’s rewarding to know that you’re helping someone. People like knowing they’re being thought of, and people like knowing that others want them to succeed. It’s empowering and motivating, and warm, fuzzy feelings often ensue.
Remove the blockers from your issues and outsource your problems to those who can best help, and you’ll be able to overcome your obstacles. You can do so with ease and friends behind you, supporting you along the way.
Also, be wary of people that are secretive and competitive and don’t want to share friends, experiences, advice, or life with anyone else. Don’t be that person either. Avoid shitty people and don’t be a shitty person, k? K 🙂
++ Mary K