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3 Ways Networking Eliminated My Career Anxiety

Posted on the 02 May 2014 by Classycareergirl @classycareer

If you aren’t satisfied with your career and you feel anxiety, stress and overwhelm, I have the answer for you. It’s so simple it might sound crazy but it worked like magic for me. By challenging myself to expand and strengthen my network, I got out of my career rut, eliminated my stress and overwhelm and transitioned into a career that I now love.

If you aren’t networking, you are neglecting the opportunity to learn and grow which will actually make you happier. If you don’t know the direction you should be headed, talking to other people in different career fields will help you narrow it down and give you clarity.  My favorite discussions with my clients are when they get over their networking fears and realize networking is decreasing their stress and they are now much more focused. There is major relief, excitement and motivation. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

If your career is taking control of your life, take a step back for a minute and focus on YOU.  Are you where you want to be?  Are you running yourself crazy trying to meet all of your manager’s requirements and last minute requests?  Is it taking a toll on your health and happiness?  Then, get out your contact list and start making your network a priority. This is your golden opportunity to bring back some happiness to your career so you can finally reach YOUR goals, not your manager’s goals.

P.S. If you think you don’t have time, remember that YOU are in charge of your calendar. Your calendar is not in charge of you. We all have the same 24 hours a day. What are you going to spend your time doing?

Here are three ways networking changed my life and career:

1) I Finally Found Clear Direction and Clarity

By talking with others in different fields about my future goals and dreams, my career path became crystal clear and I learned exactly the steps I needed to take to get to where I wanted to go.  In 2011, I starting a 4X4 Networking Challenge where each month I would meet with four people I did know but would like to get to know better and four people I did not know.  At the beginning of the challenge, I thought I wanted to continue going down a different career field. I did a ton of informational interviews and that is when I realized that I wanted to take another direction for my career instead.

The same thing happened when I used networking to find clarity while in college. Networking helped me realize that I didn’t want to be a lawyer. I did an informational interview with a lawyer and realized that day that I could throw away my LSAT study books.  Without networking, I would have ended up like many lawyers today who have their law degrees and a ton of student loans but don’t want to be lawyers.

I talk with many women who instead of figuring out the best career fit for them, they just go back and get their masters. Then, they end up in the same position after they graduate. Stuck. Do some networking first to get clear direction so you are 100% positive you are headed in the right direction. This will reduce so much stress, anxiety and unhappiness in your future!

2) I Gained Some Major Confidence

I am an introvert so introducing myself to strangers has often been difficult as well as attending networking events with ZERO people that I know. I was always labeled “The Shy Girl” in high school and college. When you are called shy over and over, it makes it even harder to build your confidence. But the more you  get out there and talk to people, the easier it gets.

In the beginning of the networking challenge, I had to write out all the questions I wanted to ask. I rehearsed my elevator speech five times before each call.  As I continued to speak with people and get more comfortable, my confidence grew and I was immediately ready to go when people called me or when I met someone at an event.

It’s so important to have a ton of confidence in an interview. If you have been networking, you will bring that confidence with you to an interview because you have been practicing talking about yourself and what you are looking for already. Don’t wait until the interview to practice being confident.  Get out there now!

3) I Built a Great Support Network

One of my favorite quotes by Jim Rohn is “You are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.”

You are the average quote photo

When I first heard that quote, it really made me think. I did not want to end up like some of my co-workers who I was spending most of my time with.  So, I knew my environment needed to change to become the person that I wanted to be.

I am now part of a mastermind group and have my own coach.  I regularly attend networking events with people who have the same goals and drive as I do. It’s not easy or cheap. I have invested in myself to get the coaching and surround myself with the people I need to but it’s so worth it. These people have changed my life and help me be more authentic and true to who I am.

It’s also amazing how having people you can count on can eliminate your stress and anxiety.  Another area of support that is so important to me is my church family.  When my husband and I were without a church family a few years ago, we didn’t ask for help when we needed it. It was crazy. My husband and I realized that we needed to invest in some personal relationships that would be there if we needed it and vice versa.

That is the community you want and need. A support network that builds you up, believes in you and makes you a better person.

These are three ways networking has completely changed my life and reduced my career stress and anxiety. If you are ready to eliminate your

30 day networking challenge online course
career anxiety with networking, I am walking a group of ambitious professional women through the 30-Day Networking Challenge step-by-step in my brand new online course. Click here to learn more about the course.

Classy Career Girl readers, how has networking changed your career? What are some reasons that you don’t network now? Please leave a comment and let us know!


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