1. Take a Breath
Take a breath and have compassion for what you are going through. You have just gone through a major life-changing event. It’s ok to stop and let that sink in, acknowledging the many emotions and feelings that surround this change.
Action: Set aside daily reflection time and journal about how you are feeling and whatever ideas or worries are flooding through your head.
2. Make a List
Think of who is in your network. Professionally, personally and peripherally. This helps me not only see what my network looks like, it also helps me gauge who will be in my support network.
Action: Make a list of:
- Who you are currently in regular contact with
- Who you have recently been in contact with (have talked in the past 3-6mos)
- Who you’d like to get reacquainted with (haven’t talked in 6+mos)
- Who you’d like to be introduced to – research LinkedIn, cultivate based off of connection recommendations and referrals from your current network
Activate your network through open communication. If you are an extrovert, this probably comes as a welcome step! If you are more of an introvert, you might have to dig deep and have the courage to reach out and communicate in an open and possibly vulnerable way. Trust me, this step is worth it!
Action: Reach out to your current list of active contacts and let them know your current situation. Make sure to spin this in a positive light – that you are excited about the open opportunities ahead and are confident you will land something that can leverage your strengths fully
4. Set Informational Interviews
Now that you’ve activated your network and they know what’s going on in your life, it’s time to set up your meetings. Meetings can be anywhere from a virtual cup of coffee to a more structured informational interview.
Action: Set a minimum goal of 5 meetings a week (10 if you feel up to it!). These can be virtual, a cup of coffee or meeting an individual at their place of business. Base these informational interviews and invitations off of the book, “The 20-minute networking meeting”. Keep a log either in a spreadsheet, OneNote or on a CRM (free ones are out there) of who you talked to, their company and role, contact information, the outcome of the meeting – did you get a referral, did you get a job, did you gain insight into the industry…etc. Tracking your progress will help you understand what’s working and what changes you might need to make in your networking process.
Watch my video on Emotionally Intelligent Networking to help you set the tone for your next meeting.
5. Make Time for Fun
Finally, take time to have fun during this time. A very dear friend of mine always said, “When the suck factor outweighs the fun factor, then it’s time for a change!” If we are always working overtime towards fixing issues and overcoming obstacles, we will burn ourselves out. If we become burnt out, we won’t have enough energy for the other, important areas of our life – family, friends, hobbies, health, spirituality… After all, that is what it is all about… life!
Action: Schedule time to be with individuals you enjoy and love. Take time to do things that you have been putting on the back-burner. Is there a sister you haven’t talked to in a while? Is there a course you’ve been wanting to take? Is there a hobby that has been collecting dust on the back shelf? Dust those things off, reach out, sign up, do!
Be well and remember to #lovefirst!