Nobody Does It Alone: Learn How to Lean on the People Around You

August 22, 2016

As we pursue our careers, each of us relies on mentors, teachers, parents, and colleagues for advice, motivation and support. Every member we met in our “Every calling is great if greatly pursued” series was lifted up by the people in their lives. As we build our network, it’s important to nurture them along the way. Below are a few important lessons we heard from our members about how to surround yourself with people who will cheer you on:

Choose your connections wisely

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“Everyone needs that solid circle of people that they can count on. You don't need a hundred people. You just need those solid two or three people.” Tyrone Jacobs, Intern at Boeing.

Building your network is not a numbers game, so focus on quality over quantity. Be selective and only connect to the people you trust, have worked with, or hope to work with in the future. This way, you’re surrounding yourself with people who will support you in your career goals.

A good place to start connecting is through People You May Know on LinkedIn where you’ll see connection suggestions based on common connections or similar profile information and experience.

Find mentors you can look up to

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“I have felt all my life that I was being cheered on by the world around me.” Darren Walker, President at Ford Foundation

Finding mentors you can lean on is an important part of your career journey. Having someone in your circle who can share advice and keep you motivated can help you to stay on the path to success.

Mentors come in many different shapes and sizes – from the mentors who provide you guidance when you need to make a specific decision, to the mentors you rely on throughout your entire career. Keep an eye out for people who are purpose-oriented - passionate and motivated by their work - as they are often good guides to help you tap into job opportunities that match your potential. The key is finding someone who you get along with and who has the wisdom and experiences to help you move ahead.

Connect in a meaningful way

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“I show people my true colors in hopes of getting theirs in return.” Jenevieve Belair, Photographer

Don’t be shy about reaching out to people with impressive careers even if you don’t know them yet. When you find someone on LinkedIn who you think would could help you in your journey, a thoughtful, personalized message can go a long way. If you have something in common with the person, like where you went to college or a mutual connection, make sure to mention that in your message. You may be surprised to find how often busy people are willing to spare time to help someone with a passion for their field.

At the end of the day, relationships matter because it’s the people in our lives who give us strength, open doors, and urge us on. Lean on the people in your network to #ChaseGreat.