Have you ever felt as if you were running a solid professional race, and then boom!
Your forward momentum is suddenly brought to a halt. Finding yourself left standing with nothing to show for your effort except questions, confused, maybe even dazed.
Well, about 3 years ago that is where I was.
Newly transitioned U.S. Army Officer with so much (I thought) to give to my future employer or my next business venture. But, there I was alone (figuratively)! Hundreds of resumes submitted no phone calls, no prospects, no suitors, no nothing, but filled with so much anxiety, frustration, and at times anger.
What was I trying/doing you ask? Everything in the guidebook” on building a personal brand, do’s & don’ts of networking, do’s & don’ts of filling out applications. I was going to networking events, I was making my own business cards, I was moving and shaking, but still, no leads.
It was at an HR networking event where I was introduced to serial networkers we all know them. To be honest I generally tried to avoid these people because I thought it was shallow to be popping in and out of events just to shake a couple dirty hands (joking…am I :o). This particular event I finally got over myself and listened to the content of the conversations of this guru and everything made perfect sense…just wait I’ll tell you what they said in a minute.
What I began to notice was this networking guru mingled but did not give everyone a card. I in previous events was taking the airmail approach just throw a bunch out there and someone will pick it up and be my saving grace. Like, “You get a card, you get a card, and you too!” However, this person I was observing was being selective. Only handing cards to professionals that seemed to have similar aligned talent and professional prowess intriguing to the guru.
So, back to what she said, “Networking is about the relationship, it is not just about handing your card, or being a card collector.” Then it hit me, the things I had done so well in the Army I needed to now get back to the basics and do as a new civilian. I need to build a foundation of trusted folks in the industries I desired to be in.
So, I got to relationship building. Ureka! You mean to tell me focused intentional purpose filled conversations are a thing? Absolutely, its all about alignment! How do you get here?
Be intentional and consistent with your mission:
- Hone your message to highlight your strengths that are foundationally grounded to meet a potential need.
- Develop a personal mission statement for where you want to go and be
- “I Lawrence Henderson of sound mind and body do…wait…I Lawrence Henderson desire to be a Leadership & Organizational Development professional no later than January 2016 at an organization that understands me…wait…with an organization where my talent and skills can assist the company goals to add value to all stakeholders and customers by connecting the dots for individuals and teams to maximize return on investment.” Nailed it!
Get out of your own head. You are enough! You have the what it takes! Get to intentional relationship building. If you are missing something.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who I need to connect with?
- Do I need any specialized professional training?
- Who do I know today that I can begin assisting to help my development? (for FREE, paid, or intern)
This process is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up! It will happen if you remain consistent and vigilant. People naturally want to help, but they cannot support you correctly if you have not defined your need before asking.
If you need assistance figuring that out, get a coach. Reach out to me or a solid recommended person to map out things.
Look for intentional programs events or relationship building opportunities. There is an awesome opportunity on March 17th Called the Community Leaders Network: Connecting the Dots see information below.
Call to action: Engage and Engage some more. I cannot stress how important it is to put yourself out there. I know its hard, I know its frustrating, I know its time consuming, but what do you have to lose.
The quote goes “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; suddenly you are doing the impossible.” (I’m possible) ~ Francis of Assisi
Leave a comment, your thoughts, and let’s begin to truly support our fellow man.
Let’s partner for our collective success!