Imagine Your Network is a Mosaic
Tanya Monsef Bunger '86
When I lived in Turkey, I visited the Archaeological Museum in Antakya (Antioch). To appreciate its Roman and Byzantine mosaics, you have to stand back to gain perspective. As you move closer, you see the countless stones that makeup the larger picture. Individually each stone seems ordinary, but together they create a magnificent piece of art.
Life is a lot like art. What I saw in that mosaic was that our life is made up of many pieces and if you can put them together, you have something of beauty.
Nothing is Created in Isolation
Each of us is working toward something and you can’t get there alone. To achieve our bigger picture it requires that we draw on people with diverse thoughts and skills. When we involve the people around us in the work we are doing, our network becomes like a mosaic. It is a work of art that gets you where you want to go, helps you accomplish your goals, and builds community.
Build Your Network Mosaic
The good news is, activating your network is a matter of conversation, both with yourself and with others:
- Draw your sketch of where you want to go
Ask yourself: What is the big idea I am working towards? Where do I see myself in five years? Don’t limit yourself to what you know now. What can you imagine beyond what you see in front of yourself today?
- Explore and Gather your Resources
Ask yourself: Who is in my network today? Who is it I want to add to my network? You are no longer limited to the people in your physical proximity. With today’s social media tools, you have access to global resources. What are the conversations you could be joining in support of your goals? Everyone you meet (online or offline) can be a potential fit for your network mosaic.
- Start putting the pieces together
Ask yourself: How can I connect others in support of where they want to go? What do I have to share today? Where could I share it?
Be an active participant in your network. People confuse going to events, passively handing out/collecting business cards or connecting on LinkedIn as the foundation for networking. Activating a network means that you give what you have and share your insights with others without expectation. It is about knowing what you want and also knowing what you can give. Networking is a two-way street.
Mosaics are based on creating a design and then putting pieces together. Be open and look for the little pieces. Each stone on its own can seem insignificant but each stone provides color, texture and shape. Creation comes through in the exploration. Don’t forget to stand back and appreciate the work of art you have created.
How will you begin building your network mosaic in pursuit of your goals? Take one step today to activate your network. For instance, you could introduce two people who you think should know each other. You could attend a Meetup on a topic of interest. You could join a LinkedIn group consisting of the people you want to meet or the career you want to have. You could share this blog. Let me know in the comments what step you have taken to activate your network.