204: How to Build a Life Network to Optimize Your Professional and Personal Life

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #204 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube The Harvard Business Review pointed out in 2011 that there are many networks we each need in our lives to be successful. Looking at this concept from a business perspective, HBR shared that a manager and leader needs three networks to be successful: operational, developmental, and […] Listen now or continue reading below.
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #204
~Subscribe to The Simple SophisticateiTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube

The Harvard Business Review pointed out in 2011 that there are many networks we each need in our lives to be successful. Looking at this concept from a business perspective, HBR shared that a manager and leader needs three networks to be successful: operational, developmental, and strategic. As I shared in this post written in 2014, whether at work or at home or while playing, we are our own brand. How we live our lives is a message to the world at large and more powerfully to those we share our lives with, so I wanted to incorporate these three networks into both our professional and personal lives.

In successful entrepreneur Julia Pimsleur’s book Million Dollar Women, she shares that while women tend to have strong personal networking skills, it is their professional networking skills that must be strengthened. Modeling what she encourages readers to do, Pimsleur’s nonprofit and for-profit earnings of more than $20 million dollars demonstrate she knows how to network and network well. Offering masterclasses, coaching and workshops, understanding how to network and the importance of doing so is a skill, and we can all learn how to master it.

It is important to note, in order to be successful in our careers, we must have our personal lives well-structured as well. And we cannot do it all if we want to do it well, so we must build what I am calling a Life Network that will optimize both our professional and personal lives. Today, I’d like to break these three networks down, and while using the definitions of each given by HBR, I will be applying them to both aspects of our lives.

As I examined my own life, I made a list of all of the people, businesses, groups I interact with through any given year. Some I will see more often than others, some will only be once a year, but all of them are essential parts of my Life Network. I then added a few more to each list that may be individuals most people in certain walks of life need to thrive. Now there may be other networks you need or have in your life, so I have included the definition of each of the networks so that you can decide in which group they would fall based on what they bring into your life.

Operational

  • definition: people you need in your day-to-day life; whose work you depend to do your work; these individuals do not work for you, but the work they do for you is what you depend on (as you cannot do it yourself) for success.  Home experts: house cleaning, maintenance (plumber, contractor, lawn care, etc.)
    • Accountant
    • Web Designers
    • Illustrator
    • Editor
    • Lawyer
    • Real Estate Agentlandlord, loan officer, bank officers
    • Hair Stylist
    • Aesthetician (waxing, facials, nails, etc.)
    • Veterinarian
    • Dog Groomer
    • Dog Sitter
    • Babysitter/Daycare
    • House Sitter
    • Assistants (virtual or in office)

Even if you are not currently in the market to buy a house or maybe you are not working on a project with the contractors you will hire, maintaining that relationships, being cognizant that it is a relationship and being appreciative of it is the strength of your network. Whether it is the holiday extra tip that is given to your hair stylist, paying your bills on time when it comes to your accountant, editor or lawyer, being respectful of the reality that they are running a business, and having paying clients is what enables them to live and work and thrive, reveals how much you respect and appreciate the work they have done for you.

Strategic

  • definition: it is all about tomorrow, looking to the future, creating opportunities or the fertile soil for opportunities to reveal themselves. Sometimes this network will overlap with operationalPersonal Trainer
    • Counselor
    • Financial Advisor
    • Doctor 
    • Dentist
    • Supervisor in your field of business (i.e. administrator, manager, CEO, etc.)

No one can predict the future, but the longer we are in our fields professionally, and the longer we live in this world, the more we understand the causes and effects of events that occur. While we may not know precisely when or exactly how they will unfold, we can know that the economy will ebb and flow. We can know that people retire and new team members will be added; we also know that our good health doesn’t just happen and interest doesn’t accrue unless we invest. Putting the odds in your favor by being preventative with your health, saving intelligently and early for your retirement, building strong relationships with people within your work environment is being aware that there will be a tomorrow and you want to put yourself in the best situation possible.

Personal (HBR calls this network Developmental)

  • definition: individuals to whom you can turn to for advice, to whom you can trust, a soft shoulder or sympathetic ear. These individuals help you consider best options for growth, improvement, reaching your full potential. 6 Types of Friends (a healthy social circle) – learn more here
    • Partner in life (spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend)
    • Spiritual Advisor (religious leader, meditation instructor, life coach, yoga instructor, etc.)
    • Mentor (also included in 6 Types of Friends, listed above)
    • Equals in your field of business (fellow colleagues: bloggers, teachers, CEOs, etc.)
    • Experts in other fields that don’t compete with your field, but their business overlaps with yours
    • Resource for new information about anything of value (industry news, cultural news, etc.)

The premise of living well is to remain curious and continually seek new information. We are dynamic as human beings, and our world as well is dynamic. As much as we may want things to stay exactly as they are once we find a way of life that works best for us, we know that everything else is changing, and so too must we stay privy as well as a student of the world. However, the world can knock us down sometimes, so we must know where to replenish our strength as well as contribute positively to others’ lives. So long as we remember we are always a work in progress and will always have the opportunity to grow should we choose, this network will enable us to do so in both our personal and professional lives.

As someone who appreciates clarity where it is possible to have it, this list helps me not only be clear about what is necessary to reach my dreams, live securely and enjoyably, but also enable me to recognize that we are a part of a web of other people in this world, and we truly do not succeed on our own. While we may be have the dream, we need the team to help it come into fruition. While we may bring home the salary that pays the bills, we need to handle the money we work so hard for well, so that it serves us the best it possibly can.

Lastly, so long as we are aware and appreciative, we will begin to build networks in all three areas that will improve the quality of our lives.

~SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~Why Not . . . Create a To Be List?

~8 Ways to Become the CEO of Your Own Life, episode #40

~25 Must-Haves for the Efficient Office Desk, episode #60

Petit Plaisir:

~Secrets of Wealthy Women via WSJ podcast 

Sponsors of this week’s episode:

~Image: TSLL’s Office, via IG



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3 thoughts on “204: How to Build a Life Network to Optimize Your Professional and Personal Life

  1. LOVED this week’s petit plaisir – I’m already going back and listening to all of the episodes from Secrets of Wealthy Women – really enjoying them. Great suggestion. Thanks!

  2. Great advice Shannon. It takes time to build a sound network but worth the investment for peace of mind it gives. I love your reminder that” we are work in progress”. So true. The minute we think we’re complete we’re robbed of so much growth. I had an interaction with a six year old yesterday and he was so full of life firing off questions in rapid succession. I barely had time to respond.He made me smile😊

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