As the ominous date of January 1st looms closer and closer, I am forced to reflect on the year that has passed. I long ago began burying my head in the sand and suppressing the urge to ruminate on the multiple ways in which I can become a bigger, better 2015 me. However, try as I might, I simply can’t help but reflect. And top of my list of goals is to network more effectively.
This of course includes attending more classic networking events. After getting over the initial insecurities hindering me from seeking these events out, and attending my first few with the security blanket of friends, I believe I’m ready to start venturing out solo. So far I’ve found structured events to be an invaluable environment to meet and learn from people who come from varying backgrounds. Nearly every person I’ve encountered has been personable, interesting, and more than welcoming. Most of them I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet in my day-to-day.
But I also want to focus on harnessing and utilizing my existing network. Going through the public relations program at SFU this past year has enlightened me to the power of connecting with people authentically, if not purposefully. Instead of seeking out those whom I see potential “value” in, I would rather use the next 12 months to connect more deeply with new people, or even those who may be in my social periphery, and create meaningful connections rooted in authentic goals and interests. It seems to me that every successful and truly fulfilled individual I’ve met lately has had this important trait in common. I want to surround myself with like-minded, goal-oriented people.
My hope is that as I take the first baby steps into a fledgling career this year, I will be armed with an array of people who I can use as an honest sounding board, and vice versa. Nothing brings perspective like the cold, hard truth from someone you truly respect.
So as we ring in the New Year and 2015 settles in, look for me at your next event. Maybe we’ll have something in common (disclaimer: I love cats) and be well on our way to an authentic connection through effective networking.