It had been a long, long, long day coaching college students and alumni about how to launch or relaunch their career. While I love what I do, this day I felt particularly drained.
Do you ever feel like that?
You gave it all you have at work? You’re ready to go home, eat dinner and crash?
But, I had been invited to a networking event to support my friend Mary Dougherty, the owner of Philadelphia’s two Nicole Miller boutiques. My appearance there was not essential and I’m sure I was among Mary’s many many friends who received an invite.
I seriously considered going home. Tired! But I adore Mary and I know from experience, if I could get there, I’d probably get a second wind. I also know that Mary’s network is a little different than my network and I’d need to push myself to say hello and introduce myself to people I don’t know.
Believe it or not, even though I’m generally an outgoing person, I can be a little shy in crowds I don’t know. You too? I don’t think that’s uncommon.
The thing is we must network outside our network.
If we network with the same people we know over and over again, our networking efforts are limited. Research and studies show the information flow and opportunities aren’t as fluid and plentiful if you stay within your comfortable network “bubble”.
Anyway, I perked up when I got to the event and saw a couple people I hadn’t seen in years and I was introduced to a few new lovely interesting people I’d now like to see again. And I was reminded that Mary’s success in Philadelphia is based on the relationships she’s built and grown over two decades now; the friends, the non-profits, companies, and organizations she has generously and sincerely supported. All of that has boomeranged back to support her too. It’s a lesson in how to build a business and keep it thriving through good times and bad.
That’s why we’d come together at this event, to help launch her interview
I teach my college students from day one: build your network. Build your relationships. You CAN launch a career and even build a business on that foundation. Not to mention, your network is the net beneath your “high wire act” when all else goes to you know what.
If you feel like your business is stagnant, you may want to take a look at where you are investing your time and energy. Dare to get uncomfortable and expand your network. How can you assist, mentor or support someone else? Say yes to the invite and go.
My students who learn to network, take off in their careers pretty quickly. My friends who learn to network, are rarely without an opportunity to grow.
You can be tired and go home, where you know what’s going to happen. Nothing! Or you can dare to network and create new possibilities and connections.