As I prepare to launch a new career as an independent consultant, there is a growing list of things that I can be worried about. On that list right now is “networking.”
I’ve never liked the term “networking.” It could be that my introverted nature makes me feel queasy about social interactions, especially those involving multiple people. But I also don’t like the term “networking” because of what it implies.
When someone says, “You have to network” they likely mean, “You have to meet new people in order to advance professionally.” People see networking as a means to an end. It has a very self-serving spin. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Making connections is enough.
You never know who you’re going to meet that can potentially help you down your path. When asked for advice on finding a job, one of my colleagues once told a student, “Talk to bartenders.” In other words: Make a connection with another human being and see where it goes.
I don’t network, I connect.
I connect because:
- It gives me knowledge I couldn’t have gotten otherwise.
- It gives me strength in the places I’m weak.
- It gives me hope because others can show me the way.
- It gives me joy to talk with people about meaningful things.
- It reminds me we all need help sometimes.
Why do you connect?
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