Posts Tagged ‘ConnectingHR’
Networks are funny things, aren’t they? So often people bemoan networking and how hard it is to forge a connection with people, whether that is on a personal or a professional level. Too often there is a cynicism of wondering what someone else may want from you, or the fear of finding yourself stuck with someone who can’t resist giving you a hard sell for their products, or simply not finding the other person of interest. Too often all those potential pitfalls are genuinely the reality.
I’ve learnt a few things about networks over the past couple of weeks. Firstly, that you should build one when you don’t think you really need it and instead spend time figuring out how to contribute to others in your circle that could benefit from any expertise, support or help you can offer, however small and insignificant it may seem to you. The chances are, it won’t feel that way to whoever is on the receiving end.
Secondly, social media can be an amazing place to forge connections with people. Sure, you have to engage and be yourself, be inquisitive and share experiences, but when it works, it is so powerful. The HR and professional networks I have made through Twitter have formed into strong friendship in many cases and unstinting, consistent, solid support in countless others. ConnectingHR really did transform my professional network and continues to do so and boy, am I grateful!
The third thing I’ve learnt about networks? When you have a good one and when you need it, it’s amazing. Thank you to all of those people in mine who have been extraordinarily generous with their time, resources, contacts, offers of help and thoughts. It is hugely appreciated.
My blogging hiatus is over….as of today, I am back in the game!
Thanks very much to Alison for asking me to write a guest blog for her themed advent calendar this year. I have been known to have my own blog but due to work and study commitments, this is currently gathering dust while I focus my attention elsewhere. I’m sure normal service will resume again next summer, but until then, I shall make the most of being given the opportunity to pen guest blogs whenever I am privileged enough to be asked.
I try very much not to get fixated on the end of one year and the start of another. After years of having resolutions and failing most of them, I have quickly learnt that a fear of failure leads me to avoid them in the first place. This is an obstacle in some ways but in others it actually provides me with the focus that I need in order to work out what I want to achieve and how I will do it. Because it’s not a New Year whim, I find that I am more likely to be successful. I avoid making changes on 1 January because I don’t ‘get’ the concept of it but I can easily see why it might be a good driver for others. All it does for me is bring back the cringe worthy moments as a child singing Auld Lang Syne with my drunk relatives (yes, that really was as bad as it sounds).
Because I am studying at the moment, during the past 18 months I have very much focused on my own personal development. This has been quite difficult at times because I felt like I’d lost my mo-jo. The only issue for me was that getting my mo-jo back wasn’t as simple as when Dr Evil stole Austin Powers’ and it being later retrieved from a test tube.
During the course of the year I have had two major breakthroughs and although they may seem quite trivial to some, they are actually massive achievements for little old me.
First up is my overwhelming fear of networking. For years I have avoided any networking like the plague. This is for a number of reasons but top of my list was that I thought people wouldn’t like me, plain and simple. My line manager has spent a lot of time trying to convince me that when you turn up at networking events, people will rarely turn their back on you and/or deliberately not talk to you. It’s irrational when I think back to earlier this year when I was brave enough to grace the Connecting HR unconference with my presence. I still remember how I felt now. The nerves didn’t hit me until I was on the train there, at which point I felt so unwell that I thought of just getting the next train home. However, the attendees couldn’t have made me feel more welcome and although it hasn’t completely cured my daftness, I won’t be quite so reluctant next time to attend such an event.
Secondly, I have addressed a deep-seated internal habit of trying to be perfect – constantly. When I say that out loud, I wonder how on earth I didn’t send myself into an early grave just trying to keep it up. After a mini melt-down in the spring, I took some time to reflect and realised that by expecting perfect, I would never achieve it. I don’t think perfect exists and before now I have not been able to work that one out. Okay, I am a bit slow but at least I finally got there. For now, I am trying to be more content with being ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Sad but true, though I’m sure I’m not alone.
So, whilst these things may not be huge, or you may take them for granted, I have made two very big changes in my life. For that I am grateful as now I feel like I’ve taken some large steps towards meeting some of my personal goals.
On a final note, I would like to wish you all a wonderful time over the festive period. I have lots of university work to get through and won’t be partying, so please raise a glass for me and keep your fingers crossed that in May I pass this year and FINALLY I will be fully CIPD qualified. That’ll be another goal to cross off my very long list :).
What does community mean to you? Where do you experience a sense of belonging?
I think I am perhaps unusual in that I still live in the same town that I grew up in and that all of my extended family (parents, both my brothers and their families and my parents-in-law) live within a 2 mile radius of my home. My children go to the same primary school that I went to as a child, and one of their teachers also taught my brother there 30 years ago. Two of my children’s three cousins also attend the same school and the connections become ever more intertwined: my daughter’s best friend is the sister of my niece’s very close friend; the mum of a child coming to tea with us tomorrow was taught by my mum in a local secondary school many years previously. I understand that to some people this may seem claustrophobic, but I love it and I love the true sense of community I get from continuing to be involved in the school and the local area.
I also love that I have a close supportive network of family and friends; my mum and mother-in-law help me out hugely with childcare and I have made many friends, some old and long-standing, others much newer, who live in and around the local area. I go to the same church I attended as a child and many of the older generation remember me as the 5 year old that my daughters now are. Visiting the library and the local leisure centre also, rather inexplicably, make me feel very connected to the local community.
We talk a lot about community and sometimes I think we are in danger of diluting the real sense of the word behind it. For me, community is powerful and strong, it is unconditional and accepting, it binds and centres you. It is lasting and real and plays a large part in defining who you are.
There is a much newer community that I also feel part of; tentatively, gradually strengthening its bonds and defining its relevance for those that are part of it…and that is ConnectingHR. It is early days and I would not yet put it anywhere near the level of the things above, and yet it is real and vibrant, it connects people who genuinely support and trust and help eachother….and it is only just beginning. All communities start somewhere and, if nurtured, will grow, develop and strengthen. I for one want to be a part of that.
What communities are you part of? I’d love to know what real community means to you.