Connections: not just a network

Connections are part of our daily lives: from our social connections to the potential relationship between what we have done yesterday and we are doing today and what we may do tomorrow, but also the connection between our mind and our body. In challenging times, when we are forced to stay away of people or are left at home without a job, how can we optimise our connection?

Social connections

There are two aspects to social connections: firstly, our personal connections, made of our friends and family; secondly, our professional connections or network. Here we will focus on the “network”.

In a professional environment, connections are made of colleagues and people we may meet in any professional events. It is important to build good relationships with our colleagues because they may be willing to help you out in your job, but also to understand the place where you are, as well as to provide you with advice or tools that could be helpful for progression and improvement. They could also introduce you to other people and one day be ready to provide with references. 

The network effect somehow applies to the professional path: the more people you meet and connect with, the more visibility you may have on opportunities. Connections are not just an opportunity to a better or more interesting job in the future; they can also support you in your career progression as a model or as a mentor. So the best way to keep good professional connections is not only to link with people on LinkedIn, but to stay in touch with your colleagues and the people you have met. You should not be feared to ask for help or advice.

In times where you have to stay at home or are out of a physical office, you can continue connecting in two ways:

  • Through arranging phone or video calls with your colleagues and/or mentors, not only to discuss about work matters and ask for help, advice or support but see how they are coping, if they are feeling well and so on. In short, to keep the human and social connection.  
  • To engage on LinkedIn: following people, finding articles to share or taking part in a discussion.

Relationship between elements: connecting the dots

In the video “Connecting the dots” Steve Jobs highlights how different parts of his life had made him and his career. So if we focus on the professional connections, there is a simple way to look at it: what do I have as skills and experience and as personality treats? What do I miss and how can I get further?

The connections between the dots is a long term path: you have to invest in yourself so that the person you are today can help you becoming the person you want to be tomorrow. There is no straight line and careers are never a straight path. So it will be long, sometimes painful and challenging. You may on your way decide to challenge choices you did before and the road you took. But this is not a loss: it is the possibility to change road and use what you have learnt in the past to help you in your new path.

In challenging times where we cannot or should avoid to physically meet other people, we can spend the time we usually spent with others to work on our long term goal, trying to connect the dots and see what are the options to progress. We should not be scared of having to go on alternative paths because of a lack of opportunity. In the end  what matters is how what you do can be used to demonstrate your skills and ability for another vacancy.

Physical and mental connections

This part is more about the “well-being” or “wellness” side of connections: how you feel has an impact on your body but potentially also on your willingness to do things. It is important to acknowledge and express our emotions so that we are not kept hostages of them. But we should not let them turn down who we are. And each person has to find their own way to live with emotions. It can be sport; meditation; talking to human connections or asking for external help. Even if we cannot see other human beings or be physically close to others, we can call, video chat, or go for some walk or meditation on our own.

by Marie Barani


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