By Miranda Millard
Development Associate

Networking – the thought of it used to get my jaw clenched up tight and that tenseness would slowly overcome my entire body and have me ready to clam up – lockjaw, locked down to a notion of what I perceived networking to be, asking the question “Do I really have to?”.

And the answer was overwhelmingly yes – for my personal and professional goals; the answer is still yes.  When you are starting, building and/or growing a business – the answer is YES!

But does networking have to be a gut-wrenching burden of trying to make small talk with strangers and handing out business cards?  The answer is NO!  But you have to attach purpose of maximizing the power of your networking.  

The purpose and power of networking can and should be to help you achieve your goals.

Recently, I attended a session about the power of networking to help achieve goals and how this change in mindset about networking can entirely change one’s networking experience.  The session facilitator demonstrated how it worked by having a participant share a goal they have and then having the rest of the group identify if they or someone they know could help achieve that goal.  

The results were outstanding and incredibly eye opening for me.  At the time, I was in a space of experiencing an incredible amount of anxiety around a situation at work to transition into the leadership role that I desired.  I was lacking confidence about my capabilities – unsure I had the know how to be successful.  The impact of the stress it was giving me was taking a toll.

But listening that day to how networking could and should help you achieve your goals completely transformed my perspective.  I realized in that moment the number of connections I had in similar departmental roles and it hit me, the wealth of knowledge and resources that I had at my disposal.  

My self-doubt and “I’m not sure” self-talk turned into “YES, I can!”

Your network is a resource of support and if utilized correctly networking with intentionality can maximize your ability to achieve your goals- people are willing to help!  So get on out there, yea you can bring some business cards *wink* and network to achieve those goals.