NETWORK – Who do I need to know?

What this is about:

  • We are influenced by our community (network). We all live in relation with other people, and those people have a significant affect on our lives. 
  • Intentionally defining our network. Rather than being passive, we can play an active role to shape and grow our network. 
  • Investing time to growing and maintaining our network. Cultivating and vibrant network takes time and effort. 

Why it matters:

  • You Are Shaped By It. There’s wise saying that goes, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Whether this is literally true is up for debate, the people with whom you you associate has a significant effect on you (e.g. health & diet and marriage.)
  • Effectiveness at Work. As you develop your network, your influence and effectiveness within the organization increases.
  • Career Opportunities. Professionally, strong networks affect the quantity and quality of career opportunities.

Prompts for Reflection:

  • The people in my life that I should spend more time with are…

 

  • The people that I aspire to be like, that I need to bring into my life are…

 

  • The way that I would define “my tribe” is…

 

  • The three actions I can take in the next month to expand my network are…

 

Exercises:

  • Join / Start a Club: Go find your tribe. They are out there. Do you want to start your own business? Do you enjoy reading about history? Do you like cooking (or eating)? There are people who share your interests. Find a way to connect with them through clubs or meetups, or create your own group.
  • Coffee / Lunch with New People: For the next two months, have lunch or coffee once per week with one person you don’t currently know. If you are looking to make larger changes in your life, have lunch or coffee with two (or more) per week.
  • Engage Mentors: In your academic or professional settings, there are plenty of people who can help you. They have already been through a lot of what you are about to go through. If you have an idea about something, they can help you shape that idea. What mentors often want is someone who wants to listen to them. Be a good listener, and be willing to learn. Of course, be discerning in who you choose as mentors.

Resources:

 

  • Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (an oldie but goodie)
  • Casciaro, Julie BattilanaTiziana, et al. “The Network Secrets of Great Change Agents.” Harvard Business Review, 5 Nov. 2014, hbr.org/2013/07/the-network-secrets-of-great-change-agents.

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