A robust business and personal network is important for advancing your career; building your professional profile and advancing your personal influence, however you should be aware of a potential blind-spot that can limit your future success – familiarity. Assess your network in light of the following factors:
Are the majority of my contacts within one or two degrees of separation?
- If yes, you may be the equivalent of being “root-bound”. For any non-gardeners, this is the equivalent of a plant being stuck in one pot for too long. This is where the roots grow into themselves and over time become stunted, or at worst, the plant dies.
Does my network undermine or limit my growth?
- “Birds of a feather flock together” – so the saying goes. There is something comforting and reassuring about staying within a secure circle of friends and colleagues – peace of mind, comfort and little to no risk. On the other hand, there is the risk that group-think and an “echo chamber” mindset can be created. That’s where everyone says essentially the same things at the risk of annoying or challenging the status quo. Sometimes those closest to us have the most to lose if we step out and take a risk. If we are successful, we may move beyond the circle of security and advance financially or in our roles or position. This can create jealousy, or at worst, have others sabotage our success to bring us back down to their level.
Am I Willing To Step Out and Up?
- The best way to grow is to risk moving to the fringes or outer limits of our comfort zone, by taping the outer limits of our connections and network. Yes, there is inherent risk in doing this; however there is also power in feeling the fear and acting in spite of it. This is where we stretch and realize our potential. Moving to a new and unexplored area sharpens our senses; makes us more alert; increases creativity and response time out of necessity. It also introduces us to new people, ideas and perspectives that cause us to grow and expand our horizons. Sounds rather exciting to me – are you up to it?
“You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success – or are they holding you back?” — W. Clement Stone