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Take the Work Out of Networking

By Bigg Success Staff
01-07-08

Career Builders

 lions_jpg

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, right? What if you approached networking more as play … and less as work? Two excellent posts on networking recently caught our attention:

Networking Rx by Barbara Safani, writing for Career Hub.

Do You Make These Networking Mistakes in Your Job Search? by Liz Lynch, The Stealth Networker.

Safani’s post builds on Lynch’s, which was inspired by an article in The Wall Street Journal by Joann Lublin, entitled How to Network Without Sabotaging Your Own Job Hunt. Now that we’ve given everyone the credit they deserve, let’s get back to netplaying … oops … we mean networking!

Don’t start networking when you need something. It’s too late.
There’s an old saying about borrowing money – bankers are happy to give you money so long as you can prove you don’t need it. Can’t the same thing be said about networking?

It’s claimed that animals smell fear. Humans “smell” insincerity. When you badly need something, like a job, you may unconsciously put off a bad vibe. So everything you say and do communicates your weakness. Desperation never sells.

Networking should be fun!
Don’t dread networking – it should be fun, because people like to have fun. Embrace that and have fun with them while you get to know them. That’s all networking is, right?

Make it a part of your daily life. Everywhere you go, everything you do, is an opportunity to meet people. Go out to meet people and have some fun doing so. Doesn’t seem so bad then, does it?

Remember that you’re talking to a human being.
That person you just met has feelings. They have insecurities. They’re proud of their accomplishments. They have interests. Get to know them, genuinely. Sometimes you’ll hit it off … sometimes you won’t.

Treat each person you meet as a real, flesh-and-blood human being, rather than a cog in your machine. Focus on building relationships, without worrying about whether it’s going to help you or not. You may not find what you’re looking for right now, but then again … you never know!

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Related posts:

Mingle Bells: Networking tips for your next party.

Don’t Shy Away From Networking

Network Your Way To Your Next Job

(Image of lions by tambako the Jaguar, CC 2.0)

The Home Stretch

By Bigg Success Staff
December, 06 2007 

Work-Life Balance

We recently discussed how pushing yourself to your limits leads to your peace of mind. “Brazen Careerist” blogger, Penelope Trunk, wrote a related post recently called “Don’t get too comfortable at home after work.”

She cites the book, Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment written by Gregory Berns. Berns is a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Emory University and Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Now that’s a title!

In his book, Berns discusses the mood-lifting chemical reaction that occurs in your brain when you stretch yourself. Trunk asserts that you won’t be happy if you only push yourself at work. You also need personal growth at home. Otherwise, you’ll feel a void. Her post is ripe with ideas. We think you’ll enjoy reading it. Here are some thoughts on how to begin.

Shake up your after-work routine
Start with little changes. Make it a habit. You’ll soon feel excited about your new routine. Then you’re ready for bigger and better things.

  • Instead of sitting, stand. When you would usually stand, walk.
  • If tonight is pizza night, order a Hawaiian pizza instead of pepperoni.
  • Instead of staying at home, go out. Instead of going out, stay in.
  • Watch an educational show instead of that show you normally would view.
  • Eat dinner at the table, instead of in front of the television.
  • Instead of surfing the internet, browse materials at your local library. You remember the library, don’t you?

Without balance, you can’t be whole. It’s analogous to taking elective courses. They round you out. You become a more interesting person because you expand your point-of-view.

Without growth, in all areas of your life, you won’t feel fulfilled. Begin with baby steps. Make stretching yourself, at work and at home, a habit. Start today!

Related link:
The Work Life Teeter -Totter (article)
Stretch Yourself Anew (blog, show)

Work Life Teeter-Totter

By Bigg Success Staff
November, 25 2007

teeter-totter

Work-Life Balance 

There’s a fantastic article by Stephanie N. Mehta with Fortune magazine. It’s entitled Confessions of a CEO, but it’s less CEO, more confession about one man’s dilemma to balance work and life.

The subject is Dominic Orr, who’s generally regarded as a very successful CEO. We admire Mr. Orr for sharing some of the difficulties he faced as he tried to become a complete man.

We also applaud Ms. Mehta for this piece. We’ll hit some highlights here, but you should check out the full article to gain insight from a person who has, and still is, struggling to strike the proper balance.

We refer to a teeter-totter, in the title to our article, because it seems we often are up on one side of the equation while being down on the other. This is evidenced by a common problem faced by many of us today.

When you’re home, do you ever find yourself catching up on all the work you didn’t get done that day? At work, do you find challenges from home spilling into your day? So what lessons can we learn from Mr. Orr?

Organize your day. One solution Mr. Orr discovered was to work different hours. He didn’t work less; instead, he organized his day so he could spend time with his kids when they were available.

Define success properly. Mr. Orr felt constant pressure to not screw anything up. That’s a tough standard to uphold. You should allow yourself to be human. Humans aren’t perfect. For a realistic standard, see four things you must do to insure success.

Do the right things right. First, determine what the right things to do are. In other words, visualize the future you want. Then, you can do the right things right. If it involves things, focus on efficiency. Find the shortest path to get your project completed. If it involves people, focus on effectiveness. Connect with the person you’re trying to reach. Mr. Orr’s vision was to die a complete man. This meant changing his ways.

Use balance to your advantage. Mr. Orr’s management style has changed as part of his journey. He’s more rounded now. That comes into play at work and home. Find ways to use lessons learned in one world to benefit the other. Now you’re using your balance to your advantage. Let your balance drive your success, rather than detract from it.

Get the cat out of the cradle. Note how Mr. Orr used the only model of parenthood he knew. What kind of a model are you setting for your kids? You’re creating your granchildrens’ childhoods now. Are you happy with how they’ll grow up?

Work your teeter-totter. Mr. Orr took time away from work after selling his business. He focused on his children. He tried going back to work and still found it difficult to balance his career and family. Make the teeter-totter your friend. Accept the fact that at times your work will be up, family down. Then make it reverse. Work the teeter-totter, don’t let it work you.

A balanced life is one of the most difficult challenges we face today. Following these tips will help you work toward a more balanced life. It’s a process. Take baby steps, but be sure you take at least one today.

(Image of teeter-totter by mayr, CC 2.0)