During your mid-career time, which is typically between the ages of 35 and 45, you pretty much have a strong network. This is ideally the case where you’ve built a promising foundation for the years to come. It also may be a time when others can benefit from the network you’ve built.
However, there are times when you may also need to change your network mid-way. To put it simply, you may need a more evolved network compared to the existing one. This is based on a few factors which we will discuss in this blog. Let’s also explore the techniques to expand your emerging network and leverage it to access new opportunities and gain diverse insights.
Factors that lead to enhancing your existing network
Many leaders who’ve reached their mid-career years are either in the mood to keep going or questioning the next phase. This depends on their state of mind, their achievements, milestones, regrets, struggles, and so much more.
Be that as it may, when you stand in the middle of the staircase, you can either climb forward or fall backward. If I have to give another analogy, I would like to associate it with the concept of a network. Consider a group of people standing in a sinking ship. There are multiple holes in the base of the ship, which is leading to the ocean’s water gushing in. You are the captain of the ship, and you tell the people to make sure each hole is plugged or covered to avoid the water from gushing in and further sinking the ship. But the people on the ship can’t identify what they can use to plug the holes. You start to do it yourself but it’s tiring and leads you nowhere. You start to wonder whether you need better people onboard.
This is what it’s like when you don’t expand your network to a higher level. Here are some of the factors that will compel you to expand your network:
- The existing network is stagnant in terms of improving your career path.
- The existing network is taking you in circles, which means networking through monotonous events.
- You need a career mentoring partner to guide you for the rest of your leadership journey.
- You’ve had a fallout with many people in the existing network.
- You never knew a network would help so you never really invested your time to meet new people.
- You want to explore new opportunities for which meeting new people higher than your level or status can help.
The above reasons are among the most pertinent factors that can lead you to want more out of your existing network. Now that you know what leads to aiming for a network change and expansion, let’s look at the various ways to expand your network.
Key tips to expand your network during your mid career phase
Your mid-career calls for sophistication rather than random explorations. You want to spend less time exploring, and more time to close in on the right network of people. Let’s look at the surest ways to find the right chain of people to change your life as a leader.
- Edit the existing network: To allow the new to enter, you must first remove the old. It’s like removing the old items out of your house, especially the things that you don’t use anymore. It’s like removing broken items from your house and not looking back. So, filter your network by segmenting genuine people from meaningful relationships, and self-interest-driven people. Once you do this, you have not only given yourself the peace of mind you need but also saved the investment of your time. You no longer have to network with people who are purely connected with you for the sake of their benefit, and their benefit alone.
- Locate new networking groups and communities: Maybe you haven’t yet explored more places where other people network. Join as a guest first and see how you feel with the people around you. Remember that networking is a two-way street, so if people don’t see you as beneficial to their circle, they may not welcome you as much. You will find networking groups on social media platforms and other sites on the net. Ask around those you trust about any networking groups that they may know.
- Nurture your existing network: The people you are currently associated with are not completely out of the networking zone. They are still very much an important aspect of your connections. As a leader, use your power to help enhance their status as well. In this way, you get to become a key influencer in their life, and they can act as your biggest reference point for the future.
- Build new connections, and keep in touch: Networking is not a sidekick, it’s the hero of your career. LinkedIn is considered one of the best places to meet genuine professionals. So, build new connections there, post content relevant to them and your field, and keep in touch to enhance their connections as well.
Use these key tips to expand your existing network and in a short span of time, you will have a strong family network. At the end of the day, your network should make you smile and make you look forward to meeting each one of them.