In 2003, I was attending a conference – by myself – but, of course, with more than 6,000 other attendees – all largely technical. I was feeling pretty much out of my element – I was a right-brained person hanging out in a largely left-brained world. At the end of a long day of education, I wanted to go back to my hotel room and sooth my introverted brain. And that’s when I met my colleagues from American Airlines. Half a continent away from where I live, they remain two of my very best friends – part of my posse that gives me energy, that “gets” me and that isn’t afraid to tell me if I’m wrong. Priceless.
Your posse – or your “five to thrive” as author and futurist Dr. Karie Willyerd talks about them – are essential to your success. And from experience, I will tell you why.
- Your posse gives you honest open feedback and coaching – is not afraid of hurting your feelings, making your cry or creating an unproductive workday for you (as, perhaps, a manager or supervisor may fear). They and you trust each other and your relationship enough to do this.
- Your posse makes you think – is intellectually stimulating, making you grow and think about things in different ways, ways you might not otherwise have considered within the walls of your daily life.
- Your posse laughs with you. Laughter is essential to a happy, balanced life. Being with your posse – virtually or in person – helps you to maintain a sunny outlook and value the work that connected you in the first place.
- Your posse has connections they share with you. Your posse and you have rounded out other sets of great people in your individual lives and you connect each other to someone else when an answer or a further idea or information is needed.
“The best network stretches you. While you may have hundreds of people in your network who are the five people who can help you be a better person, especially when it comes to your work?” – Karie Willyerd, Stretch: How to Future Proof Yourself for Tomorrow’s Workplace
As an introvert, I lived in absolute FEAR of networking for a large part of my life. But once the doors were opened by the reward of a fascinating conversation in 2003, I didn’t stop reaching out to others and connecting others. Whether or not you would say it has brought me career success, I don’t know. “Success” is relevant for each and everyone of us.
My posse has brought me personal enrichment. They helped lead me to a new career when I decided that’s what I wanted. They open my eyes to something new in business, in experiences, in life. They saw things in me that I didn’t see – good and bad. But most of all, they’re fun.
Get a posse.