Re-think Networking and do it with intent
Networking - a concept I myself did not understand for a long time. I thought it to be an exploitative arrangement where we reach out to people in order to add them to our “feelers” in the professional world.
But speaking with Naike has changed my outlook on this in two ways: we should shift our thinking from us searching for networks and for us to become the network and that we should have a clear idea of what kinds of people we want in our network.
Thinking of networking as making professional friends is helpful. In that way, we can practice being good friends to others, which can manifest in different ways. It could be as simple as sharing interesting articles, books, resources, useful tips and tools, and sharing opportunities we think would be fitting to our friends. Being able to give is important in this kind of relationship and it allows us to take the lead and build our value to the other person - and with the right kinds of friends, you will receive the same kind of help as the kind you are giving.
With that said, networking for the sake of networking and knowing people can be energy consuming and not very effective and make us seem desperate - at the end of the day we may end up with a lot of “dead” weight of contacts we don’t interact with and that don’t add value. Networking with intention is important to keep in mind - it guides our pursuits and shapes our decisions on who to have in our professional friendship circle. Naike points out that we should think hard about what we would like our network to look like, what kind of knowledge would they have that we don’t and vice versa, what kind of knowledge do we have that they don’t. Having this in the back of our minds can help in making meaningful professional friendships.
If you’re thinking of trying this out at a networking event, here’s a helpful article on how to get the most out of networking events.
Learning has no limit - but make it useful
In her first job back, Naike found herself at a plateau where her work had become routine. To combat this stagnation, she pursued her fascination with business and went to further her studies with an MBA. After that, she put her knowledge to use and pursued her fascination with entrepreneurship and tried her luck by opening a business. Although it wasn’t successful, she took the lessons from her failure and tried again which led to success with her second attempt and her business has been able to grow.
For us, learning at work can take many forms and it is true as Naike points out that in this information age, we have greater access to courses, tools, and resources. However, I think this also presents a new challenge - to curate and structure our own learning in a way that allows the information we intake to be transferable to solving our day to day challenges at work.