What makes it so hard for you to go out and connect with people in your company to get more visible?

Spoiler alert: It’s your own thoughts.

Many women in STEM say things to themselves like:

  • it’s egotistical to talk about myself
  • my work should speak for itself
  • I despise people who do small talk to advance their career
  • networking without performance is misuse of power
  • if I go and build relationships I might get promoted without having the performance to back it up
  • I don’t want to have power over people
  • I don’t want to be manipulative
  • it bother senior managers when I go ask a question/ want to have a conversation with them
  • I might say something stupid
  • I’m not that important/ interesting

Let’s be honest with ourselves: How do we feel when we think like that? 

Assuming that building relationships or a network is false and manipulative leaves us apprehensive, dismissive, and even repelled (borderline disgusted). 

And what do we do when we feel like that? We stay away from making new connections or revitalizing old ones at any cost. Even if it costs us great opportunities.

The solution is simple, but not easy: Uncover those thoughts that limit you and replace them with helpful ones.

Here’s how you start:

  1. Bring them all on paper: What are you thinking about networking?
  2. Identify the ones that feel like the Truth, the ones that evoke the strongest feelings.
  3. Check if they’re true and find evidence how they might not be true.
  4. Start to intentionally think neutral (and later helpful) thoughts instead.

One of my clients desperately wanted to have more influence in her company, so that her ideas would be heard. She wanted to make her department more consumer centric, more honest, and bring in a bigger focus on sustainability. 

But she kept knocking on closed doors.

Any substantial change to the status quo always seems like a threat to the people you’re bringing your ideas to. And they won’t want to listen to you, unless they trust you, know your intentions, and like you. 

And that only comes from making connections and nurturing relationships. 

That client had been so frustrated with her company in the end that she’d left. We started working together as she interviewed for new jobs in other companies, but she kept holding that grudge and that frustration showed in her interviews.

Until… we uncovered the thoughts that limited her and replaced them with helpful ones.

The result:

“I confidently show-up in interviews and have the right words to reason about my career change decision – and I know I will never be stuck in company politics again. Thanks, Nicole for this ease!”

What are you thinking that keeps you stuck when it comes to building relationships at work?

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