Spending time figuring out how you can network best can be hard to do (just like finding the time to actually go out and network). But when you make it a priority to spend some time getting to know yourself—you discover (or rediscover) your authentic self. (Read the chapter on Responsibility in The Power of Everyday Networking for some inspiration!)
Getting to know yourself means you have a solid understanding of
- The professional goals you want to pursue over the course of your career journey,
- The kinds of professional and outside interests you want to put your “extra” energy and efforts in, and
- The ways you like to spend your (limited) “free” personal time so you feel successful (and balanced) in work and life.
Getting to know others means you have taken the time to gain a clear sense of:
- Who is trying to achieve the same professional goals as you,
- Who is in the same profession or field,
- Who attends or belongs to the same outside professional or volunteer associations?
Taking responsibility for understanding the direction you want your career to move in and having a sense of who you might meet along the way is the first step to building long term, professional (and personal) relationships.