When you consider your network, you likely look at those people you already know and consider ways in which to nurture and grow these relationships. Frankly, doing so is an important part of building and maintaining a vital network. However, where you can go wrong is in limiting your approach to only those people you already know and neglecting to consider important connections, you may need to develop, that align with your career vision.
To take a more powerful view of your network, look out to where you’d like to be in your career in the next three to five years and work backwards from there.
Here are a few practical steps to guide you:
- Give yourself time to consider your ideal career, three to five years from now.
- If you achieve your vision, who will be the people you know and who know you? Be bold here. Consider the leaders in your field as well as in your community.
- Now, working backwards, write the story of how you developed a relationship with these people. What projects did you work on? Which professional associations were you a part of? Who were the people that made pivotal introductions for you? What did you do to ramp up your professional development? What leadership roles did you take on?
- In what ways do you want to show up differently to attract the people and opportunities that will make your story a reality?
- What is the most impactful step you could take now to start expanding your network in a powerful way that aligns with your desired future?
Consider this a twist on the traditional view of networking. Rather than starting from where you are, step into the future, and work your way backwards.
This approach can feel a bit intimidating as it may call upon you to step up your game and reinvent how you show up.
Yet, if you want to reach your career aspirations, then you must be the type of professional that you’d like to attract into your network of relationships. The steps outlined above encourage you to assess how you show up now as a leader and how you need to show up to attract the professional network that will support you in reaching your dreams. And, in the process, you will have the opportunity to help others do the same.
Adapted with permission by Center for Executive Coaching.
About the Author: Sherry Dutra is a Talent Development, Career and Retirement Coach and Facilitator who works with corporate leaders in small to mid-size businesses, across the span of their careers. She helps them to accelerate business outcomes and team performance, navigate their own career path, and transition to retirement with ease using proven methodologies and strategies that get results. If you would like to uncover and address hidden challenges that may be sabotaging your success, leverage your strengths, and accelerate your progress toward the results you desire, contact Sherry for a complimentary consultation.