Today it is more a personal note. I’ve making a number of personal and professional decisions recently; some naturally occurring and some influenced by personal choice. As I have moved through my career, I have always relied on a network of professional contacts and personal friends as sounding boards and sources of information. Some of them have recently being extremely helpful during my recent convalescence through my hysterectomy and I have been grateful for them in sharing their own life experiences.
What I have found interesting is there are certain subjects we do not discuss (one example being menopause). And yet, when we do discuss them, we find a vast wealth of information and support available from those who have tread there before. Maintaining networks across different age groups is critical for personal growth and support.
What I have found interesting lately is how few people network properly. They only network when they need someone, and then do not stay in contact afterwards. For me, it is about the longitudinal relationship built on trust and mutual respect that adds the value. “Shallow networking” for the ‘here and now’ is actually more work to build, decay and rebuild relationships.
On the other end, one of the (few) joys of being an educator is the ability to see someone go through personal growth over time, and see what they can become, as well as your subtle role in that growth process. As I network for the long term, some of these relationships become fruitful now more frequently and with great blossoms than expected.
Like most of us, I use LinkedIn and I was touched yesterday to see how much influence I had on a particular person’s career path when they called me out in an Update as to one of the strong women in their lives (in this case not referring to my weightlifting hobby 😉 ).
Why do you network? For me, it is not only a way of growing my personal brand but adding fulfillment to my efforts, and knowing I have a source of strength behind me, and in front of me.
Wishing you a successful weekend!