Category Archives: Career

The End Of A Culture Of Entitlement And The Beginnings Of Self Accountability.

Looking back at the history of the global economy, most nations have experienced a series of economic growth alternated with periods of economic slumps. There are a few exceptions. South Korea is the most well known amongst them.  In his book, “Breakout Nations In Pursuit of the New Economic Miracles”, Ruchir Sharma related how South Korea strove as a nation to recover from the 1998 crisis. The country was forced to contract a record loan of US$58 billion from IMF, at that time. This triggered a nationwide solidarity amongst the Koreans.  Koreans began mobilizing to pay the national debt, waiting in long lines to donate their gold jewellery to the cause.  How many nations have had such similar experiences?

We have also witnessed that size does not always provide the necessary cushion from the aftermath of natural catastrophes. Whatever the size and wealth of the country, only those with well organised logistics and strong human solidarity amongst its population stand better chances of a rapid recovery. It goes without saying that financial wealth does make a huge difference. However, money without the proper channels ends up wasted.

It can be observed that only those nations who are engaged with the world such as South Korea can continue on with their economic development and prosperity. The complexity of achieving economic progress has always been and is still the main challenge of most nations. High increase in GDP per capita does not automatically translate into continued economic growth for the future. The BRIC nations are good examples whereby their economic momentum has not turned them into strong economic powerhouses– China being the only exception, one could say

The same goes for an individual’s personal success. One is expected to regularly re invent oneself, continue on acquiring new skills and certainly not rest on one’s laurels. Attitudes such as “fake it till you make it” tend to drive people overlooking their personal flaws. Many rags to riches success stories are not achievable without their quotas of personal hurdles.

The motivation to avoid failure represses the courage needed for exploration. Boosting one’s self esteem is not the panacea to addressing all personal issues. It sometimes turns people into narcissists: people who look upon themselves as fundamentally “special, entitled and unique”. A family of successful entrepreneurs does not necessarily imply that the following generations are deemed to continue on as successful business owners.

The culture of entitlement has permeated all aspects of today’s society. It is especially true in communities which believe deeply in tradition and history. It is even more of a challenge to stand out when one lives in homogenous communities with widespread normalised behaviours. Walking one’s own path, irrespective of the family background and of societal norms, can be lonely and challenging. People imagine that there is safety in numbers. Unfortunately, people surrounded by pleasers who would never pose a challenge or a threat, does not always evolve to their full potential.

It is generally the case that, people/nations/communities undergo huge transformation when their backs are against the wall. There is also a tendency for people to defend their existing status, rank or title. It does demand a lot of courage to give it up and rebuild it differently. When one is on a winning streak, one would hardly be motivated to slow down and think ahead. Complacency gradually sets in and reduces further the motivation to think outside the box.

However, examples abound to demonstrate that living off the dividends of past successes is not an option anymore. The emergence of new political parties has disrupted the political establishment of many countries.  Iphone and Ipad came at a time when there was a need in the market for something more user friendly.  The same goes for AirBnb, Uber and their likes….

What would be most important to someone: is it about having a title or is it about the long term recognition and respect from your peers or at large, society? How can one remain loyal both to one’s roots and at the same time, be open to other possibilities? Keeping one’s balance is a centuries old universal message.

Checklist, Priorities and Time

Time management has always been the subject of many books, studies and talks.  One of the most well known is the book:“The 7 habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. In short, there will always be urgent things amongst which are stuff that you definitely need to respond to and those that you would probably respond at some point in time.

With experience, you have learnt not to allow yourself to be dictated by the tyranny of the urgent. Each person views the world differently and, therefore, what is considered as urgent varies according to each person. Your boundaries have sometimes been “invaded” by people who have tried to forge bonds to create a sense of solidarity in an effort to gain your support for their personal challenges. Attempts at highlighting what you both have in common: shared ethnic identities or common passions have been used to encourage you to view the world from their point of view. Your strong sense of self have finally helped you regain control of your boundaries and push back any further attempt of influencing your agenda for today’s work.

On the other hand, developing your own list of priorities at work is actually not only about your own sense of urgency. It also needs to take into account the diverse expectations of the people making up your working environment.  Decoding what would actually work for you and for your colleagues/team members sometimes require that you probe further to develop a better understanding of the inner workings of your environment. Asking the right questions, using the right approach to enquire and probably verifying that you have well understood takes valuable time but worth you putting the effort.  Making a checklist for today that is actually very different from the expectations of your team members or co workers may be sending the wrong message – “I want to be left alone and I don’t need you…”. You may be reminded of that single mindedness at a time when it matters for you to rely on the valuable contributions of your colleagues.

Determining your work priorities correctly require a working understanding of the different boundaries which permeates your workplace.  These boundaries can only be determined through your various interactions with your co workers.  Respecting those boundaries sometimes lead to vain efforts of complying to conflicting priorities. Your efforts to perform at your best are completely undermined by the dynamic power structures at work. Maneuvering the margins of your workplace require you to take an active role. Choosing to negotiate the boundaries would actually add value to your work brand. It is through these social negotiations that your work brand is constantly being moulded giving you opportunities to grow professionally and personally. Your ability to deal with both complexity and ambiguity and at the same time, managing your sense of confusion is crucial for you to successfully navigate your workplace.

There are times when you will feel trapped by those same boundaries that you are trying to redefine. You may then feel a looming sense of frustration and you tend to become very self conscious.  It is at this very moment that your resilience needs to kick in. Resilience is not about continued success but more about your ability to cope with crises, failures. It is an enduring process where at times you will feel vulnerable and lost but you will ultimately emerge stronger over time.

In the end, your approach to managing your priorities and defining your daily checklist is not linear. It does not necessarily follow the construct of any recommended framework. It is in constant flux imbued by the various experiences that act to enrich your time management skills.

Swapping Identities As You Journey Through Life.

Each person has multiple identities: as a sister/brother, daughter/son, colleague/boss, neighbour, alumni/teacher, friend. With globalization, the flow of people crossing borders is increasing and our interactions are not only an emotional experience. It is also about having new cultural experience shaping our view of the world. As a result, most people have “fluid” identities – moulded by life experiences, interactions with a variety of people, overseas travelling, job changes, amongst others. You also would tend to tweak your “personal brand” to fit your new personal and professional goals as you go into a new phase of your life.

Every industry or workplace or country has its own norms and values which must be understood and embraced if you hope to be considered as being “one of them”. It does not necessarily mean that you have to be a completely new person.  Remaining true to your core values and at the same time being open to new possibilities is a century old challenge to anyone who embraces change.

In integrating a new environment, you will probably choose those elements that enable you to “fit in” and that are, at the same time, aligned with your core “self”. Keeping your own sense of “balance” requires a constant management of uncomfortable emotions coming from a sense of confusion, being misunderstood, harbouring contradictory beliefs and a feeling of being “out of place”. In those times, it is important to have access to some kind of social support where you can voice out your anxieties and feel heard. This is also where your problem solving skills can help you to directly address the sources of your discomfort. Remaining open to suggestions made by people who have been in your shoes is another means to successfully achieve this transition.

As you constantly renegotiate your identity over time, your relationships tend to change as well. Most people would use their own personal experiences to make assumptions and behave accordingly. As a result, you will sometimes be perceived differently from your own self image. It is important to bear in mind that no matter how much efforts you put into setting things right, the outcome is largely to the discretion of the other person.

Using an approach characterized by dialogue can sometimes dissolve the misunderstandings. Dialogue is not about having a number of conversations. It is about being fully conscious of your own personal bias and having an understanding of what it is like to be in the other person’s shoes at the same time. It is creating the necessary space so that the parties involved can freely express themselves and be “seen” in their own personalities. Such engagement would become possible when the parties involved perceive that “the stakes are high”. Engaging into this “dance” to reach common ground requires personal commitment and a level of self confidence. Only then, the relationship can continue to flourish and evolve in a way that is both mutually beneficial to both parties.

There is always an element of risk when you go into a new career/country/workplace.  You can actually end up valuing more what you have lost. However, being curious about other people’s views and experiences can only broaden your vision and improve your interactive skills. Going out of your comfort zone is actually healthy because it is good to know what lies beyond and to test your own sense of self. No matter the age gap or difference in cultural background and/or in their career path, people, having experienced similar life situations, have much more in common. You will eventually make new friends and widen your network.

It is important to bear in mind that each encounter in your new environment is only a snapshot. People make up the very fabric of any environment and because people’s identities evolve,  making hasty conclusions can only validate your self doubts, strengthen your resistance to change and lead to self marginalization.

In the end, navigating through the twists and turns of your journey can only provide you with opportunities for personal growth and can help you develop a stronger sense of self.

Strong Resilience Equates Strong Self Worth.

As 2017 comes to an end in almost six weeks, some of you will be expected to make a review of your performance during your appraisal session by your team or by your superiors. There is nothing more exhilarating to remind yourself of all the goals you have achieved for this year. It would be perfect if you have been able to achieve 100% of the targets that you have set yourself to for 2017.

As perfection is a myth, there will be a few goals that are still not within your reach and you wonder whether you were too ambitious, not enough prepared or unforeseen circumstances turned them into moving targets. If these goals happen to have high stakes involved, this is where your resilience will be tested to the core.

Beating yourself up or blaming “others” and/or unexpected circumstances will not undo the fact that you have not achieved what mattered most: that 20% that would have made an 80% impact on your career. For some people, they will shrug it off and continue on with their lives. For others, they will mull it over and over and feel miserable. Alternatively, some people find it useful to discuss it with their friends, family members and mentors to find solace in the comforting words of the people they trust most.

Your approach to tackling challenges will largely depend upon the different “role models” you had, your underlying principles and values and what you have learnt from your past experiences. Shrugging it off is not the right approach and mulling it over is also counter productive. Any challenge has the potential for potential growth and development if you are ready to let go of false pride and learn from it. Sometimes, because of the complexity involved, it is easier to ignore it and convince yourself that this is just a streak of bad luck.

If you happen to be one of those professionals who self manage themselves, you will take this performance appraisal as an opportunity to carry out a critical self analysis. This personal review can act as a stimulus to bring about desired changes so that you are better equipped for 2018. You will allow yourself to question your existing values, beliefs and behaviour. You may initially experience mental discomfort as your commitment to your personal growth conflicts with your false pride.  True resilience is the ability to develop a productive dialogue during that performance appraisal with your superiors or team members.  A productive dialogue is when both parties are empathetic towards each other, are conscious of their personal assumptions of each other and are able to express their opinions in an equitable manner. It is also important to bear in mind that such efforts on your part is rewarded if the counter party is ready to listen and is able to create a safe zone where you feel heard and seen.

Such dialogue is facilitated if both parties consider themselves as being on the same side of the fence. If you always have that feeling of “me” and “them”, then it will be nearly impossible to create a productive dialogue. How you perceive yourself and how your superiors or your team members perceive you need to be similar for you to create strong rapport and turn this performance appraisal into a productive session for both parties. There are times when their perception of you differs from your own as relationships are fluid and evolve constantly. However, if this gap constantly exists, it implies that your values and theirs are not aligned and being part of a team who have not much in common with you is a waste of your time and energy.

Being unable to connect with your team mates or your superiors can be distressing. Such emotional stress can affect your communicative behaviours and you may perceive a lack of control which can severely undermine your performance at work. If this is the case, then your best option will be to look for another job or ask for your transfer to another team. Working for an organization or team that values your contribution is most rewarding, leads to a better atmosphere at work and reduces work related stress.

Your inability to achieve pre agreed targets does not necessarily imply lack of skills or knowledge from you. It does signal that there is a missing piece in the puzzle and it is best to identify this missing piece as part of your personal commitment to yourself. Your self worth will largely benefit from this critical self analysis.

Bâtir Le Relationnel Sur Du Solide.

Aujourd’hui, l’interaction humaine prend une toute autre dimension. Il est facile de “se faire des amis” grâce à Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. On a l’impression de voyager à travers les continents en se liant à des gens habitant à l’autre bout du monde. Les relations deviennent éphémères et ne se construisent plus sur le vécu et sur le temps. Ce sont désormais les intérêts communs tels que le sport pratiqué et les loisirs qui sont mis en valeur par les photos prises et partagés en ligne. Se rencontrer pour prendre un café et discuter de tout et de rien n’est plus aussi important pour bâtir des liens solides.

Malgré ce changement social au niveau de l’interaction humaine, on se rend compte au fil du temps que certaines personnes vous ont influencé inconsciemment. Vous avez changé de perspective sur certains sujets. Vos habitudes quotidiennes ont évolué dans le temps, non pas parce que vous l’avez souhaité, mais par les conversations que vous avez eues avec vos amis.

Le relationnel a un effet catalyseur pour la connaissance de soi. Il y a eu de nombreux philosophes tels que Socrates qui ont prêché la connaissance de soi pour faire des meilleurs choix dans la vie. Aucune personne n’arrive dans votre vie par accident. Il y aura toujours un échange qui aura lieu. Cela peut être des leçons à tirer ou un partage de connaissance ou des moments inoubliables à partager.

Toute personne rencontrée est un miroir de votre subconscient. Votre subconscient régit vos attitudes, vos croyances et valeurs. Chaque amitié ou relation met en valeur un ou plusieurs aspects de votre subconscient. Vous avez un choix d’en interpréter et d’en faire usage de la leçon à tirer ou de ne pas en tenir compte. Certaines leçons reviennent sans cesse jusqu’à que vous soyez prêt à bien les retenir.

En jetant un regard sur votre passé, vous allez peut être vous rendre compte qu’il y a eu des moments où vous avez souhaité prolonger une amitié sans succès. Il est possible que certaines personnes existent dans votre vie pour une raison quelconque. Une fois que cette raison n’existe plus, la personne part de son propre accord. Il arrive que les liens se détériorent et, malgré tous les bons moments partages ensemble, il est mieux de laisser partir la personne. Vous faites ainsi place pour d’autres personnes pouvant contribuer positivement à votre vie. C’est toujours douloureux de terminer une amitié qui n’a plus de sens. Il est cependant souhaitable de continuer votre route avec des personnes pouvant mieux vous comprendre et vous soutenir dans vos efforts.

Se culpabiliser pour avoir “abandonné” certains de vos amis ne vous apporte rien. La vie est faite de choix difficiles et nécessaires à votre bien-être. Construire votre vie en renforçant votre confiance en soi vous donne les moyens d’être heureux et de faire des rencontres qui valorisent votre bien-être émotionnel, intellectuel et physique.

<emLibérez-vous des ressentiments que vous pourriez avoir à l’encontre de certaines personnes, ceux qui vous ont blessé dans le passé. Les rancœurs n’amènent à rien de bon. Construire son avenir sur de la colère ou l’utiliser pour se motiver à aller plus loin est la même que bâtir les fondations d’une maison sur du sable mouvant. Prenez votre temps à vous pardonner d’avoir fait le mauvais choix ou d’avoir été aveugle aux comportements malsains de certaines personnes.

En écoutant votre cœur et votre instinct, vous sauriez au fil du temps vous entourer de personnes ayant les mêmes perspectives de vie. Votre instinct vous poussera des fois à faire des choix difficiles et c’est en les faisant que vous allez être plus en contrôle de votre vie.

La vie est un lieu d’apprentissage et c’est en faisant des mauvais choix qu’on devient plus sage!

Doing What You Do And Why.

Your life is always made up of a maze of relationships: how you relate to people you meet, how you relate to your business or job, how you interpret events going around you. Everything in your life is all about managing, building and letting go of relationships. Some relationships are easier to let go and some others come around smoothly. Relationships are great places to learn, to raise self awareness, to acquire new skills. So pace your learning and be kind to yourself if you have made the wrong choices in the past. The most important thing is to begin with a sincere intent.

The Law of Attraction states that you attract what you are. It means that you attract clients, business associates, co workers or friends having similar emotional states as yours. There are times when you think of someone and that person just happens to be calling you. You are both at similar emotional states and given that you have thought of that person, you both meet “accidentally”. It is the same principle when it comes to explain the state of your business. Life is, generally, a reflection of who you are. It is sometimes difficult to interpret from what you see, feel and hear. Put this need of understanding aside. Let things be until clarity comes. It will always come at the time you most need it.

Any relationship is, therefore, the product of your thoughts and your emotional state. If you don’t like what is happening around you, change your thoughts – something that is easier said than done, I agree! You won’t always get it right and you may have to try it a few times before the desired changes come around. There are times when you won’t even achieve your goals. It is important to let go of the need of being always on target.

There will be days when you will feel you have not given your best or your ego has got the better of you. It is OK. You are learning to honour your personal power. Your personal power is your ability or should I say, your skill to create desired opportunities. You are not waiting on the sidelines for things to happen. You are actively co creating by focusing on the actions that you can do to make it happen.

Your ego, sometimes, gets in the way. It will tell you “why are you doing this?” “You should not be the one having to do this” or “What right do they have to treat me like this?” It is true that mutual respect should be expected from your interactions from others. However, you don’t control the attitude of others nor can you impose your will on others for your own vested interests.

Resilience is one of the most useful traits to have when you are moving on from past mistakes. Resilience is about being determined to pursue a balance between the heart and your ego. Both are needed in this world to succeed and live fully. There is no way you will find satisfaction or happiness in what you do and achieve if you are constantly led by your ego. Happiness is a state of mind. You can be happy right now or you can continuously postpone your happiness for the sake of your ego.

Your daily interaction with the world forces you to do a reality check every day about your why. It is important to remind yourself why you are creating this maze of relationships. Is it worth all the efforts you are putting in? Is it to impress some people or is it because your heart is in it?

A few people would rather give up at certain point and choose the easiest option – to be driven by their ego, fears and doubts. This is because, for many people, running a business is a means to an end. When this end has been met, they don’t understand why they can’t go any further or why things become a chore. Doing business should be something that your heart feels part of. It can actually be a work of art for you – something to be proud of and to pass on to the next generation of entrepreneurs or a source of inspiration and learning for others or it can be a driver of positive changes.

Self Empowerment To Achieve Your Goals

Goals setting is a very popular exercise. You become more aware of your goals once the last quarter of the year has started. The approach of a new year reminds you of the goals you have set yourselves at the beginning of this year. It is sometimes very frustrating to find out that some goals tend to be more elusive than others. Old habits die hard and goals such as eating healthier or spending more time with family tend to be more challenging to achieve. They can become unattainable if you are not ready to make the necessary changes in your lives.

Your skills and talents are not being questioned here. It is more about having the right mindset: those beliefs and values which empower you to achieve those goals. It takes discipline, love, commitment and self awareness. Discipline is combining willpower and actions to turn them into empowering habits.

When your habits stall you, learn to understand the payoff so as to change them. Simplify your life by focusing on what is most important to you. The rest are distractions. Having fun is an important part of the journey because it makes the journey interesting and encouraging.

Goals are not about figures, targets. They are in relation to your dreams: financial comfort, legacy to your loved ones, to the community etc. Emotional goals are those that really motivate someone to move forward. Connecting your goals to a purpose ensure that your heart is into achieving them. The emotional aspect strengthens your commitment and builds your resilience to the challenges that you face in your journey.

Caroline Neita, the Money Mentor, is well aware of the challenges that someone can face to achieve their goals of being financially free. In her talk at SBN Croydon, she emphasizes the need to review your daily habits to ensure that you are not “sabotaging” yourself. She helps her clients to review their “financial” habits and raise their awareness about what is getting in the way of them achieving their financial freedom. Debt management and repayment is also part of the financial mentorship program that she offers to her individual clients.

In going through your monthly expense, Caroline helps you identify those cost savings that will allow you to grow your pot of money so as to buy your property or save for the business idea you want to implement in the very near future. Being a qualified accountant, she also helps business owners to review the financial situation of their business so as to assess whether their current corporate strategy is having the desired impact.

Most people seem to think that financial literacy is about being able to count money and do a monthly budget. Caroline Neita thinks otherwise. It is all about having the right attitude towards managing your personal finance and being focused on the results that would give you your own financial freedom. If you need some help in reviewing your financial literacy, Caroline Neita can be reached on englishneita@gmail.com

Self Awareness Is The Best Tool In Periods Of Transitions

Self-Awareness is the ability to observe yourself without any judgement. You accept everything about you: your strengths and your weaknesses. Everything about life is about ups and downs and this is reflected in human nature. What is not advisable is not making any effort of nurturing a strong relationship with yourself.

How you relate to others is more to do about how you relate to yourself. Managing your fears and hopes, learning new skills, using your guts instincts are all part of managing your relationship with your own self. Assuming that there is nothing that you can do about your own personality and everything is about others’ attitude towards you is more about being the “victim” and not being your own master. How many of your existing relationships do you have where you feel comfortable to be in your own shoes? If it is over 90%, then you are living true to your spirit. On the other hand, if it is a struggle to interact with people around you whether at work or in your personal life, then it is time to raise your self awareness.

Self awareness takes you out of your comfort zone as it challenges you to think differently. Your set of values and beliefs may need re assessment. What has served you so well in the past, may now be getting in the way of achieving your goals. There is no need to discard everything and adopt new ones. There is always some fine tuning to be done. Flexing your behaviour is not achievable if you are not ready to discard your pride. It is your pride that “tells” you that your past achievements give you the right to think that you know best. Each level of success requires you to go through a learning curve and that can be done most effectively when you are ready to be a “newbie”.

You have to take risks: to be in that place where nothing is for certain. Whatever the outcome, it is the experience that matters. It may sound cliché. The human brain – all it knows is limits, potential, options. If you show the way to a range of possibilities then the mind gets used to think out of the box. There will be less “what ifs” on the next round. Of course, failures have a negative impact. They can stop you in your momentum. It is not your potential self that is stopping you. It is that part of you that is all about “know it all”. Well, that is part of your limitations. Your potential self is more excited about adventure, getting to do things differently. There may be parts of your personality that you will get to know better when you are willing to go beyond your  known horizons.

Of course, there will be those moments where you feel inadequate as a true beginner is. You are used to know what to do next and you are now totally confused. This state of confusion, if taken too seriously, undermines your confidence. If you tackle it by making it more as a game then the pressure eases off considerably. At some point in time, you will feel that this is becoming something of second nature to you. Getting used to not knowing everything is a great skill when you start a new job, make a career change, relocate or start a new phase in your life.

Taking steps towards goals are real affirmations as your unconscious can actually “witness” your actions. The more steps you take towards your goals, the more you are comfortable in doing them. That raises your self confidence, boosts your morale when you focus on your ease in doing them rather than the missed attempt.

As Lao Tzu once said: “Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. So, be like water:).

Social Media Networking Strategy – Demystified by John Coupland

Like most SME owners. I have been told that it is important to have an online presence so as not to lose any sales opportunities. True, 90% of our sales come from our online presence.  More and more people make online purchases, look for online reviews and research online before they make up their mind. So, I have decided to include social media in the business strategy. A few years ago, I have been to a number of workshops about social media. I tried to use my notes to help me navigate the online landscape. In terms of business management, I tend to try out on my own first so that I understand the implications and build a working knowledge of it. When the time is right, I can then go and hire the person whom I think will fit with what I need.

Is Social Media a hype or is it truly something that can be leveraged in any business strategy?

I attended a talk by John Coupland, some years ago. He offered a number of practical tips. I bought his book: “ ACCELerate Your Social Media”, thinking that it may come useful. Like any typical business owner, I have allowed things to get in the way and focused more on operations rather than strategic vision. I opened the book very recently when I have been reviewing the marketing strategy of my business. It is the first time that mapping out a strategy that includes both online and offline networking strategies became reality. Within 2 months of implementing some of John’s tips, I am now seeing the results with increased sales leads.

John talks about “return on investment” – a measure that clearly indicates a results oriented approach. This is what he mainly preaches when it comes to an overall online strategy. He helps you determine the target Return On Investment and plan the strategy that will help you achieve it. In his book, John provides a number of tools to review your social media strategy and it actually helped me to identify the gaps that I need to address to make my online strategy more effective.  Whatever works – replicate, replicate and replicate!

Integrating your social media strategy into your overall business strategy is critical. However, many people think that it is about having an online presence. It is goes beyond that. Engagement creates sales leads and strengthens your network. So, merging the offline with the online is crucial. Everything is about People First. Very few people follow up once you have accepted their request to be part of their Linkedin network. In many networking events, not many people would ask you what they can do for you… The reason to meet should be of potential benefit. “Great networking is about bringing the best out of people. If you achieve this, you will be bringing the best out of yourself too.”- John Coupland

It is difficult to engage with your network all at the same time and on a regular basis. So creating a “Core Network” that can add value and whom you can also support is recommended. The Core Network may account for only 20% of your whole network and will bring 80% positive results – the Pareto Principle.

Social media should be used as a means to support the other appropriate channels to market your business. John recommends to start with a couple of social networks. “Less Is More”. There are No “must have” social networks. As a business owner, this is very relevant as being in the driving seat means that you are overseeing the whole operations, thinking strategically and reviewing occasionally to assess your progress. Building strong relationships with your network is more effective in generating business rather than spreading your engagement too thinly across many.  His next advice is “KISS” – Keep It Simple Stupid.

Also, networking is about leveraging the collective wisdom and experience. So, it is important to network not only with potential clients but also with experts in your industry too. Clarity and consistency is key in your communication. Your online presence across different social media network needs to be consistent.

Effective and great networking works when you

  1. Have a positive Attitude
  2. Think the bigger picture
  3. Are Creative
  4. Are giving
  5. Have a “Can Do” approach

As Anon says it well: “ if you want to be incrementally better, Be Competitive! If you want to be exponentially better,  Be Cooperative!”

 

Networking Can Be Fun For Introverts

Networking, networking and networking – this is the most common advice given to anyone looking to change jobs, to find more clients or to make a career change… When you are an introvert like I am, it seems a formidable challenge when I was first given this advice a few years back. Having recently settled in the UK and looking for business opportunities, networking in an environment as a newcomer seems almost impossible.

I knew that I would be able to network effectively at some point in time in the future. It required me to get out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. That is something that I have had a lot of practice over the years. I focused on my ultimate goal and got on with networking. Today, I network once or twice a week and am able to make relevant connections 75% of the time. I would like to share with you how I got on to achieve those results.

  1. Define Your Ultimate Goal

What is your motivation to network? How important is this to you? Who else will benefit if you are able to network effectively? These are the things that would help you make progress and enjoy networking. Anything that you enjoy doing will undoubtedly bring good results and you would be able to do it over the long term.

  1. Taking Baby Steps

London gives you endless opportunities for meeting new people. Meetup.com is a place where new groups and events are being created. A diverse range of subjects are covered: photography, culture, therapies, business etc. Some of these events are free and it allows you to go and explore. Pace Yourself. Choose to go to an event with no expectations and see what it feels like, how did it go and whether you have had any positive experience. To make it easier, choose one where the size of the audience is not going to be overwhelming. Other networking groups are BNI, Sterling Business Network, London Chamber of Commerce, etc.

  1. Choose events on subjects that you enjoy

I am not a great sportsperson. So, attending a sports event is not my thing. I enjoy going to a writers’ club or going to listen to an inspirational talk. I am going not only to meet people but also to learn something new. So, in case I don’t make any useful connections – it does not matter. I would leave with a few golden nuggets.

  1. Review And Change Strategy

Every few weeks, review and make a list of the things you like and those that you don’t. One of the good things being an introvert, we are self-sufficient as we tend to look inwards rather than outwards. Strategies are about changing our behaviours and attitudes.  Your behaviour is changed when you modify your beliefs. Whatever you don’t like – decide what you would like instead. Then, list options about how to go about.

  1. Trial and Error

There is no deadline about getting the results you are aiming for. Strategies are meant to evolve over time and with priorities changing, your strategies would need to adapt to the current situation. Flexibility is important when people are involved. You can only control your behaviour, your beliefs. Believing that you can control other people’s attitudes is a myth!. Faking your attitude is also a no go.  It does not help when you are trying to reach out to like minded individuals… you end up with the wrong crowd!

  1. You Are Not Alone

Being an introvert, you don’t shout at the top of the roof, who you are… You tend to make your way discretely. Yet, there are many of you who have overcome similar challenges and found their place. Susan Cain delivered an inspirational TED talk a few years ago about the power of introverts. Following her talk, she recently set up a community for Introverts: Quiet Revolution. There are many testimonials of introverts having achieved their goals such as public speaking, successful business owners..

  1. Networking Is About Listening

Networking is neither about collecting business cards nor about the ones who stands out. It is about creating connections that would be playing a role in your career, business or even in your personal life. Some of the people I met at networking events happen to be my friends, mentor and people I aspire to be. For you to make the relevant connections, use one of the main strengths of an introvert – be an empathetic listener. Making small talk and learn to know more about the people you meet comes quite easy when you are genuinely listening and not listening to reply.

  1. Do One To One Meetings

When you feel good about someone, don’t hesitate to ask to meet for a coffee. You will be surprised at how much you may have in common with the person. Trust your guts. Your guts instincts work when you are true to yourself and be accepting of you are.

  1. Take Time Out

Introverts need their own breathing space and time alone. This is how you recharge your batteries. Schedule quiet time for yourself on a regular basis even if it means that you don’t meet anyone for a day or two. Your “me” time actually helps to access your personal creativity and come up with new ideas, new options and renewed enthusiasm. Being is as important as Doing for Introverts.

Networking is not only for sales people and are not for extroverts only. It can be fun and fulfilling when you learn to harness your personality to create your tribe and grow your network!