Networking: the necessary career evil. It conjures up visions of a crowded room of professionals adorned with name tags and holding glasses of wine. In huddles people exchange business cards and share what they do. This is the default idea of networking, but it is so much more than this. By finding and establishing meaningful, lasting, and mutually beneficial connections, it starts and advances careers. It is all about the follow-up and follow-through: the email, the coffee date, the face-to-face time. We set roadblocks for ourselves when we think about networking as a one-off situation that does not go beneath the surface. In reality, networking is like any good relationship — it requires nurturing and grows over time. Think of it as meeting a new friend or date. What if we re-frame what networking means and separate it from the vision of a forced, formal scenario? Consider the following five ways to think about the true meaning of networking.
“At some point, I realized that I had to give up other people’s definition of success. This is one of the most difficult things to give up because it is so deeply embedded in our cultural narratives that it becomes the standard by which we measure our lives. Even as entrepreneurs we have collectively agreed that fame and fortune are the markers of success.
Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in what they say. Not in what they do. Just in what they are.
If I could say one thing to the young people of today, it would be this: Never give up. Keep trying and pushing and struggling, even if you don’t know what your goal is or why you would want to achieve it.
The good news is anyone can fall in love with the process. Every expert was once an amateur and every master was first a beginner. What separates them from the crowd is their relentless consistency in showing up and doing the work. Drop your need for immediate results, focus on your daily habits and keep adjusting as you go. The results are always within reach, just slightly beyond where most people are willing to go.