How To Jumpstart Your Professional Network Without Losing All Your Friends

You are the average of the five peo­ple you asso­ciate with most.

For good or for bad, for bet­ter or for worse, the peo­ple around you influ­ence who you are today and who you will become more like.  If you dream of being an entre­pre­neur, but you sur­round your­self with peo­ple who play video games all day, good luck.

Take a good hard look at those you con­sider your best friends.  You wouldn’t marry some­one with­out con­sid­er­ing what you liked about him or her, so don’t waste hours of your time build­ing rela­tion­ships with peo­ple who have incom­pat­i­ble values.  

Learn­ing how to build your social net­work offline is crit­i­cal to effec­tively man­ag­ing your online relationships.

Hello, My Name is… (Cre­ate A Rela­tion­ship Report Card)

  1. Take out a notepad and a pen.  Write down a list of 8–10 qual­i­ties that you would want your friends to have.   Try to write these with­out con­sid­er­ing what your cur­rent friends are like right now.  Imag­ine the peo­ple you would be sur­rounded by if you had your dream job. Maybe these will be the things that you love about your best friends. You might real­ize that the things you want in your friends are miss­ing. In that case, you’ve been sell­ing your­self short.

  2. Write a sec­ond sep­a­rate list of your top three val­ues. Health, wealth, fam­ily, spir­i­tu­al­ity.  Write sen­tences and be as spe­cific as possible.

  3. Write a third list of the five peo­ple you con­sider your best friends.  Now give them one point for each qual­ity and value they have that is on one of the two other lists.

You don’t have to explic­itly axe your old friends in order to make new ones but you do need to have an under­stand­ing of what you want.  Chances are, not all five of your top friends will get 100% and this shows you where there are oppor­tu­ni­ties for mak­ing new friends that will help light your fire within.

How To Instantly Find A New Tribe

Trav­el­ling is by far the best great way to put some space between your old friends and new ones that you want to build.

Go as far as you can, for as long as you can, prefer­ably alone and with as lit­tle as pos­si­ble.  Trav­el­ling will inject new colour and vital­ity in your life. You will have the head space to con­sider a num­ber of things.  link

Solo trav­ellers tend to be much more out­go­ing.  Trav­ellers also tend to be  much more hon­est and they will bring out a side of you that you never knew existed. They are not try­ing to judge you.  Every­one on the road has a story LINK

The best part about travel is that you make a clean exit from your cur­rent social cir­cle with­out hurt­ing any feel­ings. Guar­an­teed, you friends will find some way to sur­vive with­out and you get to meet new peo­ple with­out feel­ing guilty about ignor­ing them.

When you travel alone, you will nat­u­rally meet peo­ple as go, some of which might become life­long friends.  The pur­pose here though, is to have a com­pletely new slate and start meet­ing new peo­ple.  When you return home, you will prob­a­bly still con­nect with your old friends, but you will be able to see your rela­tion­ships at home clearer.

If Travel is not a pos­si­bly right now, keep reading.

Clean out your old clutter.

If you are a chronic face­book stalker, you need to quit. Delete old friends on face­book.  Today. The moment you fin­ish this arti­cle, go onto your pro­file and delete any­one who does not serve you well.

You know the ones I’m talk­ing about.  The ones you keep on your list because they’re hot, pretty or ugly, even though haven’t talked in years.   If you feel relieved after­wards, then you know that you made the right decision.

Open the win­dows and let the fresh air rush in.

4 Ways To Get On The Guest List

 Build­ing rela­tion­ships takes time but the first step is to start putting your­self out there.

  1. Attend con­fer­ences on top­ics that you like or want to learn.  There are con­fer­ences for just about every­thing: social media, wine,

  2. Take group lessons for that thing you’ve always wanted to learn.  The peo­ple that you see every week in class will slowly start to become your friends.  You know that you have at least one thing in common.

  3. Join local asso­ci­a­tions.  Again, there is pretty much an asso­ci­a­tion for every­thing.  Some of these will have a small mem­ber­ship fee, but they give you access to the exact peo­ple you want to start know­ing.  Peo­ple also tend to be very friendly and help­ful to oth­ers in the same asso­ci­a­tion.  This also helps with #5.

  4. Find a co-working space.  These make per­fect offices if you are a free­lancer or self-employed, but even if you have a day job, you should still find out if there is a co-working space in your city. These places often have work­shops on a wide vari­ety of top­ics and often they are free for any­one to attend.  Again, a great place to meet lively, pas­sion­ate peo­ple with sim­i­lar interests.

A Word Of Caution

Friends are peo­ple and I’m not advo­cat­ing that you throw peo­ple away. You do need to be con­scious of how the peo­ple you sur­round your­self with affect your life. You online net­works will only flour­ish over time if you con­nect with peo­ple in person.

 Do you have any strate­gies for how you jump­started you networked?

Anita Wing Lee