When you think of networking, you may start thinking of LinkedIn contacts, people you meet and give your business cards to, or people you’re introduced to at an event. But, networking is more strategic than you think.
There are several people you want and need in your network to take you to your next level. But first, you have to determine what your next level actually is. You may be tempted to look only at those you are close to, but let me challenge you to dig a little deeper.
The best way to determine what your next level should be is by pure exposure. And the key that will get you through that door of exposure is connections. Connections to more than just colleagues and associates will broaden your perspective and expose you to positions, careers, or even obstacles that you may not have been aware of before. Taking time to meditate on how you want your life to look in every area will help you determine what your next level looks like. How do you envision living in the future? Where are you? Who surrounds you? What are the conversations you’re having as your best self? What problems could arise in other areas because of your vocational success, and how can you proactively plan?
Now that you’ve determined what you want your future to look like, let me show you the key players you need on your networking team to take you to that next level.
The 4 People You Need In Your Network To Go to The Next Level
The Role Models
It’s easy to look at your immediate circle, your organization, or even others in your same industry as people that should be in your network. But, this truly limits you from seeing the innovation and ingenuity that exists elsewhere. Look at other industries that are entirely different from yours to see what catches your interest and what they could teach you about your own business or clients. Look at tactics, techniques, and models that you can incorporate into your growth. Choose three to five people in various industries that you admire and learn everything you can from them.
The Thought Leaders
As you strategically map out your network, the people in it should broaden your perspective and shed new light on not just the industry, but the world. Please be aware; thought leaders aren’t afraid to push buttons. These are the ones asking critical questions to help you establish a tactful path to your next level. These should be people that you don’t necessarily automatically agree with all the time. Having a few of these assertive individuals in your network will have you shedding light on issues and situations that you wouldn’t even have thought of before.
As a corporate woman looking to establish an upward path toward purpose, you’re going to be spending time thinking and focusing on things that may be foreign to you: Strategies, operative plans, technical details, resources, instructions, and more. The information is available with a click of a button, but it will take time to sift through it to see what can indeed be applied to your situation. Fortunately for you, once you find your advisors, you will begin to gain more clarity. Advisors are walking-talking encyclopedias of industry information that you want in your circle. These are the people that pride themselves on being in the know. Meet up for coffee, bring your notepad, or pull up your notes app, and make sure you pick their Brain! In return, make sure you share your resources and experiences with them as well. This will be a connection where both can greatly benefit from each other.
These may be the most influential people you need in your circle: The Encouragers. Your journey to your next level will not be an easy one, lady, but it will be worth it. These encouraging connections will be the ones cheering you on when things are great and there for you, supporting you when things are at their worst. The journey of a corporate woman who is determined to walk in passion and purpose isn’t for the faint at heart. Thus, make sure you have people you can count on when you need a helping hand and make sure you reciprocate when they need a hand or listening ear to depend on.
Time to Audit Your Circle
Remember, this audit is for your business relationships to get you to the next level. There may be instances where you need to audit your close circle of friends if they are not challenging you and leading you to become a better version of yourself. That’s not to say that you need to “ditch” them; consider pulling back on the amount of time you spend with them versus the time required for you to soak up new knowledge and know-how from your new circle.
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to assist you with your audit:
What do they like to talk about now and often do?
What are they watching, reading, and listening to?
What are they complaining about, and are they doing anything to create change?
Answering these questions may help you get closer to maximizing your network with solid connections.
Look to The Past Relationships
As you grow in age and move to different seasons in your life, you’ll require something different in each new stage and season. As you audit your circle, take some time to think about past connections that could benefit you greatly in your present. There may be great mentors or people of influence in your past work relationships that maybe couldn’t help you back then based on your knowledge and experience. But now that you have a clear understanding of who you are and where you’re going, those past connections could be crucial. Write down previous organizations you were a part of, think of individuals you admired for different reasons and try connecting with them again. You never know what one phone call or email can do to take you closer to your path to purpose and passion.
Remember that auditing your current circle and strategically seeking individuals to add to your network is crucial for building meaningful and informative connections that will serve you best in your corporate journey (and personal at times, too!). It may take some time, but like with any course selection process, you will reap significantly and make your path to passion and purpose that much better. It doesn’t have to be difficult to find these connections, either! I created an encouraging community of like-minded women to connect with other women focused on leveraging our passions for greatness: Corporate Girl Network. In this community, you’ll be able to network, build your skills, and enjoy FREE masterminds. Get ready to expand your network while engaging in fun social experiences and discussions all curated for you. Plus, you’ll have access to customized personal and professional development opportunities designed to motivate, encourage, and inspire transformational growth. Click here to join Corporate girl Network: Inspiring Success Through Mentorship & Community. We’ll be waiting for you there!