Good quality personal and professional relationships help reduce stress and depression, and increase your sense of well-being and happiness. However, one of the biggest mistakes people making in trying to achieve success and happiness is that they tolerate an unsupportive environment, which includes the people you spend time with. If you want to enjoy your career and social life more, it’s time to clean out your relationships and follow these 5 steps to building a great network…
Grab a pen and paper now, and take a moment to write down the names of the 5 people you spend most of your time with.
Once you have 5 names in front of you, consider this…
Self-made millionaire and successful author Jim Rohn once said “You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with”. Now cast your eyes over the list of names you just wrote down and think about the fact that you’re a reflection of those people. How does that make you feel? Are they positive people who lift you up, challenge you and help you grow, or are they negative people who sap your energy and make you feel down?
There’s no denying it, you’re the sum of your network, you are who you hang out with, and whether you like it or not you end up modeling the people around you. Significantly, they can help grow you but they can also hold you back.
The people you spend time with influence what you think about, how you feel, and what you do, so as you look over your list think about the conversations you’ve been having and the people you’ve been surrounding yourself with lately.
Are you subjecting yourself to a lot of ‘doom and gloom’, or are you spending time with people who motivate and inspire you? Significantly, you have a choice.
If you’re spending time with negative people who think that life’s too tough then you will find it MUCH harder to be happy around them. That’s not to say that you can’t be positive just because those around you aren’t, BUT it’s more difficult and takes a lot more effort.
World-renowned artist Wyland said
“There are two types of people – anchors and motors. You want to lose the anchors and get with the motors, because the motors are going somewhere and they’re having more fun. The anchors will just drag you down”
This really exemplifies my point. You can CHOOSE who you spend time with and the influences in your life. Some choices are harder to make than others, but the choice is in your hands – it’s not made for you.
So what can you do if you feel as though you’re not spending time with positive people or that you’d like to make some new friends and increase your network? Thankfully in this day and age it’s very easy and I’ve got some simple suggestions for you: –
1. Identify the positive influences ALREADY in your network.
Stop spending time with people who drain you or drag you down and instead make a concerted effort to invest time and energy into your existing key relationships. That’s not to say that you have to stop seeing certain people, because that can be hard if a negative person is a family member for example, but you can choose to limit your time with that person.
All too often our friendships are unconscious – and what I mean by that is that we can go along day-by-day seeing the people we know and doing what we’ve always done, but by making a conscious effort when it comes to the relationships in our lives we can make sure that they really do serve and support us well.
So for example, set yourself a goal – perhaps there’s a particular friend you would like to see more of but time always seems to slip by. Make a conscious effort to schedule regular catch-ups with them and diarise to call or email them.
2. Use your lunch time to build your network.
A great strategy is to have lunch with somebody old, and somebody new every single week. And what I mean by that is, catch up with someone already in your network that you know, respect and admire, but also make time to see someone new that you can build a relationship with overtime. Perhaps someone new has joined your team or department, or perhaps you met a friend-of-a-friend at a BBQ over the weekend. It doesn’t matter HOW you met them, what’s important is that you make the effort to maintain and extend your network on a regular basis.
Treat your network like a Bonsai tree – tune and prune your network over time. Your network is your net worth, so if you’re not improving your network you are ultimately reducing your network. Remember – life’s not static and neither is your network.
3. Meet with a mentor on a regular basis.
It’s great to get trusted advice and feedback, and it aids your growth and development, all of which contribute to your overall sense of happiness. So if you don’t already have one, make a note now to identify someone who you think would make a good mentor and make a point of asking them this week if they are happy to help. For most people this is a great honor, which they will also benefit from, so don’t be shy in getting a mentor on board.
4. Surround yourself with the best.
Do what you can to surround yourself with people who are great at what they DO. Their energy, enthusiasm and expertise WILL rub off on you – all you need to do is put in the effort. This is a strategy that I actively encourage all of my clients to start using immediately as it’s so effective. And the beauty is that not only will their positivity and smart success habits rub off on you, but you will also open yourself up to their extended network if you invest enough time and effort into the relationship.
5. Build your on-line network.
There are great people all over the world and it’s never been as easy as it is today to connect with people globally, so try to find great places online that make you think or give you new insights and inspirations. LinkedIn is a fabulous resource to not only extend your network but also to learn from people who are talking about the things you’re interested in – so join some groups, participate in the discussion boards, and be an active part of your on-line community because the world is a small place these days and on-line networking can be incredibly powerful when carried out smartly.
Written by Faye Hollands – Director at Outshine Consulting and Busy Working Mumma. Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success.
You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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