The difference between networking and having a network.
There’s a difference between networking and having a network. While both are highly valuable, knowing what separates the two can mean the difference between a one-time opportunity and years of meaningful connections and support.
Networking is an important tool that requires you to get out of your shell, meet new people, and create connections that can lead to potential opportunities, new introductions, or maybe your next life adventure.
Having a network, however, goes far beyond that. It means investing in a group that will give back to you in return. It means sharing your goals and setbacks with others and trusting that they will take that information and make you better. It means committing to something outside yourself, and through that, becoming a better version of you.
Last week, I returned back to my network. As a Chapman University alumna, I returned to the women’s soccer program that I dedicated myself to for the duration of my college years. As member of the program from 2003-2007, I gave everything I had to making my team and myself better, on and off the field. My teammates were my friends and my support – my network.
Flash forward 7 years later when last week I stood in front of the new faces of the women’s soccer program, sharing with them sport psychology tips and tricks to help enhance their performance for the upcoming season. This is a new career path for me, so the week was filled with excitement and uncertainty. Without hesitation, the incredible women of the program welcomed me back with big smiles and bigger hugs. Knowing that solid network was still in place after all these years gave me the confidence I needed to feel empowered to share my knowledge with these young players.
Having a network isn’t just about creating new opportunities, making new connections, or passing out your resume, although all of these things are paramount to personal and professional growth. Having a network is about being part of a group that challenges you to take on new adventures, encourages your pursuits, and welcomes you back with open arms. Your are also able to extend yourself to others and welcome them into a network that empowers growth and support.
If you’re looking for a network or interested in expanding you’re current one, consider joining the Accountability Ally program. Let’s make connect and inspire progress.
PS – to all the newest faces of Chapman WSCR, welcome to the family.