How relevant is your network to your dreams and your vision? Are you building an ideal network that fiercely supports your pursuits and passions?
Location, my dear friends, does not only apply to buying the right house. Listen up because it matters a great deal where you build your network and with which communities you surround yourself.
You grow and evolve as human beings throughout your life. Your likes and interests change over time and it’s only natural that the people who surround you mold into that change. Your human network is a web of people in your world with whom you enjoy to work and play – there is no work without play in my world and by the same token, playing all day with no work leaves me wishing for more so for argument’s sake, let’s say you work and play with your network.
Now as I was saying, evolving as a human being is natural and change, that lovely word that has been beaten to death in the 21st century, is inevitable. You are not robots and your pursuits are not set in stone. You are allowed to have a change of heart and a change or two of a career path to boot.
So what is the point?
The point is to always keep your human network, your web of peers and partners, influencers and role models, relevant to your current dreams and visions. The idea is to surround yourself with others who share in the passions you hold dear to your heart and who can relate to your ambitions, ease your struggles and respect your values.
Build the foundation of your network in all the right places.
Cultivate the roots of your brand in all the relevant places.
Personal story time. Are you ready? Will you indulge me?
I sometimes wonder what if – one of those stories – I had built my network in the right place five years ago. You see, I built a massive network with tremendous effort and significant time investment in the narrow alley of a corporate landscape. I was the queen of networking; I had a system for my entire strategy. I would build relations with people who could help me make my next career move or give me some top notch advice and then target the next person based on their recommendations and repeat the cycle over and over and over again.
I documented and mind mapped my entire process from the exact method of initiating a contact all the way to the final thank you and next steps. And I applied it not just to one organization or one location; I replicated this process across a global company’s landscape and build a sweet global network from California to Japan to the South Pacific and Europe.
It worked like a charm.
For a while, it seemed to others that I knew everyone! And sad as it sounds right now, I found this all to be empowering. If you wanted to reach someone in some distant group, I most likely knew someone there. If you wanted a way into an organization, I had the golden advice for you. If you wanted to know personalities of key leaders, I could tell you a story or two.
Then a funny thing happened in my life. I awakened to my true dreams and in one single day, I grew tired of career pursuits of 8 years.
Now it seemed that I had spent my precious little time getting to know people in places that no longer held an interest for me in pursuit of a vision that belonged with me no more.
Quite frankly, I built an amazing network in all the wrong places!
Do not build a network in the wrong places.
It will not bring you any sense of belonging or community, despite your greatest efforts. Just as you would not build a castle in the middle of a lonely desert, be smart and savvy and choose wisely the landscape of your network.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not about the particular people in your network. I met some amazing individuals and plan to continue those relationships for a lifetime and I learned skills that I can now apply to my current dreams so not all was wasted.
Nonetheless, I had to build my true human network all over again.
The key message for you is to ask the question of relevance. My network became irrelevant the day my goals and vision turned upside down and inside out.
How relevant is your network to your dreams and your vision?
Let’s take a test and find out:
- Do you trust the people in your network?
- Do you feel the respect of people there for you?
- Do you find the people intriguing and interesting?
- Do you sincerely like and enjoy the dynamics of your network?
- Can you turn to your network if you struggle in your most important assignments in life?
- Do you have role models in your network, people who represent your ideal vision of success?
- Can you comfortably reach out to your role models for advice and rely on their support?
- Do you feel compelled to lend a helping hand to someone when they hit a bump in their road?
- Are you encouraged and uplifted by your human network?
I hope you said yes to every question.
If you said no, pay attention. Pay close attention and do it sooner than later.
Imagine this. You learn the top secrets for riding a motorcycle. You know the right hangout group. You know every inch of your bike and that of your friends. You know how to get just the right speed by adjusting just the right knob. You can lean sideways super low to the ground compared to others when coming around a curve and your role models are motorcycle fanatics. Your world is the world of motorcycles.
Then one fine day, something inconvenient happens. You realize you just can’t stand the motorcycle (sorry motorcycle lovers, the exhaust gave me a bad burn once and I have never forgiven the motorcycle!) and in fact, if you had listened for cues from within, you never really did care for the darn thing but it is so popular in your hometown and you have shown such natural inclination to ride it and well, it was just expected that you would follow that path.
And even more natural that you would build your human network around it.
Be ware of those “natural” inclinations or pre-destined paths. Sometimes, they are spot on and life is sweet. But beware of times where circumstances and upbringing and environment play more of a deciding factor for your path in life than your own yearning and desires.
First, figure out your yearnings and your desires, your passions and your pursuits. Then build your network around it.
I was invited to join a chat on woodworking the other night on Twitter. I happen to know a few Tweeps who love woodworking and so they invited me, and naturally, I gladly joined the chat. I threw out a question at them: “What do you guys love so much about woodworking anyway?”
Have you ever done that to a group of people who share a passion so strong you can feel it even in a virtual world? The gush of heart-felt answers and fast thoughts clearly showed a strong community with a heartbeat that beats to the love of woodworking.
Can you feel the heartbeat of your community? Is your network the ultimate right and relevant place for you?
The power of the right network is beyond measure. The power of people who share a passion and hold the same values near and dear to their hearts is beyond the scope of this blog post and a topic for another day but this, you must keep asking yourself:
Is your network relevant to your pursuits, dreams and vision?
This is a guest post by Farnoosh Brock – Farnoosh is the author of Prolific Living, a blog about cultivating a life with rich, creative, authentic, and soul-enriching experiences. She was recently included in the ProBlogger’s famous list of 40 Bloggers to Watch in 2010.