Opportunities are not like clouds that float in the sky. Opportunities are attached to people.
Well you don’t need to tell me that! It’s why I have been practically prostituting myself, clicking connect left, right and centre on LinkedIn even though I have only the vaguest idea with whom I am connecting. Because. You. Never. Know.
I have to fight the habits of a lifetime to do this. I think ‘Nobody wants to connect with me. I don’t have anything to offer. No money to invest, or jobs to offer: dammit, I don’t even have a job myself, or an idea of where to look for one’. And ‘They never liked me anyway. And I don’t know what my ex has been telling people. It’s embarrassing. They may be laughing at me, or feeling sorry for me. I’ve got nothing to say for myself. I’ll just go and eat worms’.
I make an effort. I pretend to think ‘Maybe they do remember me, and fondly. Maybe they are delighted to have me in their network, to add to all the consultants and accountants’. Or ‘Maybe they have no idea who I am either but figure the more the merrier’. It goes against the grain, but I close my eyes and click. I sift through pages and pages of people the algorithms have thrown up, hoping that a face or name will ring a bell. INSEAD? 1990? Click. I have over 20 years of being sat at home with babies to make up for. I am grateful that the people I know or can at least claim some connection with range from therapists to engineers, CEOs to freelancers, philanthropists to horticulturalists. I cast my net wide. My university friends, my strategy consulting friends, my designer friends, my MBA friends, my Alexander Technique friends, my school gate friends and everybody I can think of.
I contact and ‘friend’ people even if in my habitual, petulant way I am thinking ‘but they never contact me!’ I swallow my pride. And I get glimpses of how unhelpful and misplaced my ‘pride’ has been.
So I have amassed a little collection of connections on LinkedIn. What next? I have some ideas. And I have some missions. And (I hope) an open mind. Blue sky thinking. Let’s try to banish those clouds.