Why simply tell you that BUILD YOUR DREAM NETWORK readers are having career AHA! moments when I can share with you exactly what they are sharing with me!
First up is Caroline, a professional with 15+ years in business development and strategic communications (now working in a pension and investment company). With a passionate interest in building high-impact diverse and inclusive employee populations as well as creating a more meaningful employee experience, Caroline connected with me after hearing me speak at a conference. She was in the early stages of mulling on how to create something new in her career when we spoke.
I’d describe Caroline’s career emotions as ranging from frustration to hopefulness as to her career future, with a mega dose of “where do I even begin to make this happen????” sprinkled throughout.
Caroline and I chatted for several minutes then a couple of weeks later, her first email arrived:
“I took you at your word and worked through your book which is now in a vibrant state of written-on; folded back; Post-It note collage. It has some really practical “how to’s” that really are more than common sense. I’ve always thought I hated networking (and, as a result, that I was bad at it)! Turns out I was in the wrong headspace entirely. Send me into a room of hundreds of strangers for work — an event, training delivery, coaching, there was no issue. No so with “networking” … thankfully you’ve debunked the “working the room” concept. The idea of purposeful networking (and avoiding “random acts of networking”) really resonated. I spent last Saturday evening with colored sticky notes on the walls and floor of my apartment updating a strategic plan for the department I head up, with a new focus on more relationship building, generosity in outreach and making real connections both internally and externally.”
With a big grin on my face, I emailed Caroline back congratulating her on the progress she had made to date — and urging her to keep me posted.
Then 3 months later, Caroline sent this:
“I promised I’d send on an update on progress…I’ve found some like-minded souls who are interested in employee experience and we’ve set up a local chapter of a UK-based professional body on the topic. I’ve also gotten on the Board of the same organization to help shape the future direction of it. At work, I’m working with a coach to redefine the role and the focus of the function I head up … working to turn it into the dream job rather than look for the dream elsewhere. I’ve been fortunate enough to make some really good new friends and contacts in the process because networking is now a whole different experience. I’m volunteering with a start-up I believe in to give them business development and strategic comms direction and loving every second. Your book and more importantly, meeting you in person, has literally reshaped things. I’m back to being passionate about what I do, it’s like I’ve found more hours in the day, and it’s fun.”
Who doesn’t want to have more hours in the day and FUN in their chosen career! YOU know I leapt from my chair when I read her email. And I can’t wait for Caroline’s next update.