Career & Work Life Matters
Vol 1, no. 3
2009, September 29
“If you think you can do it alone and be successful, you are wrong.”
This was one of the first lessons of the 6-month Mentor Program for Professional Coaches that I joined recently. I was reminded of the importance of the numerous people who have supported me at different times in my professional development.
I was also reminded that I don’t always pay enough attention to these relationships.
When did you last devote time to those who have helped you?
Who do you look out for? Do you have a group of people that look out for you?
Change as a Gift?
Disruption to your social network is a common consequence of change. Maybe you lose your job, relocate, change companies, change fields. Change can wake you up to the importance of family members, friends, or coworkers. It’s easy to take your existing connections for granted.
According to Ivan Misner and Michelle Donovan (authors of The 29% Solution) building and maintaining your social network is something to “practice” and “live” every day. In the first chapter of their book, they ask 2 important questions.
- How many people do you know?
- How many of these people truly understand what you do?
Begin with Two Questions
Why not begin with these 2 questions? If you are changing direction, you might want to edit the 2nd question to fit your situation.
- How many of the people you know really know what you want to do next?
You may think, “Well, how can I let other people know when I am still figuring it out myself”? Uncertainty and feelings of vulnerability are part of the discovery process. Don’t let this stop you. Is there something you want to know about your new field?
Another question might be:
- How many of the people you know truly understand how they can help you at this point in time?
Asking for help is only one side of the coin. Even when you’re not sure what specific help you need, you can always focus on what you can offer. This creates the “give and take” that is the foundation for sustainable relationships.
As well as being important for your career and professional development, decades of research show that social support contributes to overall health and happiness.
A worthy investment of your time and effort?
Do you have experience to share that may help others? Feel free to use the comment box below.
- What has worked for you in building a sustainable network?
- What challenges have you experienced?
- What obstacles have you overcome?