Archives for diversity

Psychological Safety – Answer The Call To Conscious Leadership

Psychological safety was something that was mentioned in every single Answer the Call to Conscious Leadership event we have had so far, and was also reflected by our group survey as something that many conscious leaders wanted to know more about.

It was so valuable to dive deeper into what that actually looks like and HOW to create it. Rebecca Morgan, Psychological Safety Expert, Bestselling Author, Global Speaker, and Management Consultant, was our guest Tuesday, and this event was, as Lawrence said, “robust.” Watch the replay in the C3 LinkedIn group to gain an understanding of all of the following:

  • Who coined the phrase, and the potentially deadly costs that were observed
  • Who owns psychological safety?
  • How can it be assessed?
  • Easy questions you can ask to instill psychological safety
  • Data-backed benefits of psychological safety, along with both internal and external costs when businesses lack it
  • How often it’s suggested that leaders check-in with their team members
  • How to get started and how to create habits to grow psychological safety
  • Things that destroy psychological safety
  • What to do when emotions are raw, whether yours or your team members
  • Why it’s important to acknowledge that life is different for everyone
  • How can we use this moment to move forward in a better direction
  • How a leader who is focused on outcomes/performance can build their muscles in being more people-oriented
  • Simple, easy ways to instill psychological safety and reduce stress in remote working environments
  • What is leaderful listening
  • Non-time-consuming ways to demonstrate compassion and turn a new leaf
  • The Bank of Grace and how it’s used
  • Top reasons employees are not showing themselves on Zoom calls, according to surveys
  • How to recognize when you are in a state of judgment or making assumptions
  • Common micro-aggressions that demean and diminish psychological safety
  • How humor can be a micro-aggression, and how Rebecca shifted her use of humor to eliminate harmful humor
  • Awarenesses that managers need to address in a remote environment to prevent “paper cuts” while still not making people wrong
  • Other things related to psychological safety

Check in to the group today to take Rebecca’s psychological safety assessment. While you are there, weigh in on the topics that are most relevant to you right now.

Please do not keep this group a secret! Share it! Invite other conscious leaders you know.

The purpose of this group is to elevate awareness of emerging and proven practices that will turn ripples of positive forward momentum into waves of much-needed transformation in the corporate landscape.

If you have a practice that you know is valuable, we WANT more people to know about it. This group is truly about collaborating, giving these practices, and the experts who are in a position to elevate corporate consciousness, a spotlight. Feel free to join the C3 group, help promote it, and let us know what topic for which you want to be a future panelist. The sooner you share it, the sooner things will get better for more people.

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) where some of her students won the 2018 national YEA competition, were named Ernst & Young’s America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Authentic Connection – Answer The Call To Conscious Leadership

If you haven’t yet experienced an Answer The Call To Conscious Leadership event, you don’t want to miss the replay of our most recent call!

On July 21st, Lawrence Henderson, MSHRM, CPC, ELI-MP, our panelists, and I shared a remarkably insightful dialogue as we discussed how conscious leaders can effectively create authentic connections.

If you missed it, you can watch the replay inside of our LinkedIn Group, C3: Corporate Consciousness Co-op.

Here are some of the topics we covered:

  • Is the bias of introverts as leaders accurate or not?
  • How COVID has actually created new opportunities to connect more intimately, more globally online as well as new challenges.
  • How connection at work is evolving and why it’s beneficial.
  • How to qualify what your team can handle and allow them to buy-in.
  • Effective ways to convert a virtual relationship to an authentic relationship.
  • How your digital footprint can accelerate rapport and relationship-building.
  • Why people are so scared of authentic connection and self-reflection.
  • The first step to ensuring authenticity in connection.
  • How to set dual intentions for connecting.
  • How assumptions and biases interfere with authentic connection.
  • Tools to reconcile differences among team members in order to facilitate an authentic connection between them.
  • How to be vulnerable, transparent, and authentic about your emotions as a leader without losing the confidence of your team.
  • Ways to destigmatize mental health, removing the bias against it in leadership, and create more opportunities for neurodiverse leaders.

Julia Armet, ACC, ELI-MP, and Amy Bradbury, our expert panelists featured in the replay, are also part of the group, so if you have any follow-up questions, feel free to ask away!

Please mark your calendars for our next Answer The Call To Conscious Leadership live event, taking place on Tuesday, August 4th at 1:00 pm ET where we will discuss how to create psychological safety. Join us in the LinkedIn group to be a part of our future live events, to watch recordings, and to connect with other conscious leaders.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Ask for Melissa. She’ll make sure you’re taken care of.

Melissa loved being that person. She wanted to take on your problem, fix it, and get you back into your groove. She was really thriving in a support role.

But…

What she loved most was teaching people how systems work, particularly accounting and technology systems.

She came to me because she thought the best way to find a position that was the perfect combination was to look for a new company.

Everyone depended on her – A LOT!

What might they think if they realized she wanted MORE?

Also, perhaps just as scary, what if she got MORE and couldn’t handle it?

It was interesting to me that, even though she loved her company, she was more willing to go through a complete reinvention instead of broaching the conversation with her very pleased manager.

It does seem rather counterproductive to make your manager aware that you aren’t fulfilled, even though you seem really happy, are thriving in your job, and are getting recognition galore.

What if he decided to let her go that instant?

For months, Melissa grappled with which way forward she should go and eventually took a huge leap and invested in a career coach (me.)

Once we dug deeper into her brand and her intended employer audience, I started to see how everything she wanted to and was able to offer was likely something her current company needed. Not only that, but they also needed someone GREAT at it.

The branding process built up her confidence, but it also forced her to confront the fact that fear was making decisions for her.

What became scarier was the prospect of never knowing what could have happened or finding out the grass was not greener.

We built up her courage, which reframed the fear in a way that better served her.

This was 2014. Not only did her manager move her to the department that offered her the best application for her talents and path for growth, but she was promoted to train others. Melissa then moved to an even more visible and profitable position, before being promoted yet again to a position that is completely in her wheelhouse (data) and enables her to take a growth pause (which you may have learned was not okay, but really is) to spend more time with her family.

3 promotions in less than 4 years, and a perfect lifestyle position. That’s what courage can do.

Is it your time to level up? Click here to take The Courageous Leadership 5-Day Challenge and find out.

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Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Communication Techniques – Answer The Call To Conscious Leadership

How many conflicts at work do you think are caused by poor communication or lack thereof?

How many problems do you think could be solved with more effective communication?

The answer – infinite!

On June 23rd, Lawrence Henderson, MSHRM, CPC, ELI-MP, our panelists, and I tackled conscious communication at work with an amazingly insightful discussion in our group, C3: Corporate Consciousness Co-op. Chris, our panelist featured in the replay, is also part of the group, so if you have any follow-up questions, ask away 🙂

We discussed…

  • What companies and institutions need to consider before making a statement on controversial events.
  • What leaders need to do to create effective two-way communication.
  • What it looks like for a company to really live and breathe their mission.
  • What companies are better poised to transverse increased diversity and what should the rest be doing?
  • What are the generations ahead going to take into corporate America based on what they are experiencing right now?

With divisiveness at an all-time high, and life and death conversations rising in urgency and priority, we need to learn and adopt better communication now more than ever!

Please join us in the LinkedIn group for future live events, to watch recordings, and to meet other leaders committed to transforming the corporate landscape.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Conscious Leadership Tools – Answer The Call To Conscious Leadership

During June 10th’s Answer The Call to Conscious Leadership event, Lawrence Henderson and I invited Curtis Smith, Intelligent Leadership™ Master Certified Executive Coach, and Christopher Waters, Social Impact consultant, professor, and fellow, to talk about tools that companies can use to make conscious decisions.

If you missed this conversation, you missed some real talk about what can be done to disrupt corporate leadership systems that are not working now and will not work for companies moving forward. Below are the topics we covered in some detail, but please join our LinkedIn group to check out the full replay AND join our next Answer the Call to Conscious Leadership event on Tuesday, June 23rd at 1 PM ET, live if you can: http://bit.ly/LI_C3. Our topic for June 23rd will be conscious communication.

  • Companies need to follow protocols for making decisions that do not add bureaucracy and maintain agility so that they can stay competitive and adaptable to accelerating change.
  • Sometimes decisions are defaulted to the “smartest person in the room,” whether or not that person has been adequately qualified to be the primary decision-maker.
  • Leadership development gaps that prioritize technical leadership skills cause functional collaboration and communication breakdowns.
  • Diversity is accomplished only when you also include diverse ways of thinking and leading.
  • Cy Wakeman – Work with the willing. Reward engagement by giving them their voice first.
  • The quandary is that there is a distrust brewing that goes both ways from top to bottom.
  • The dynamic of respect in the military is that when you earn a rank, you automatically earn respect. There is no ability to question other leaders, and that bleeds into companies – that people assume that once someone has been elevated in position, they have done something to earn the respect commensurate with it, so there are cultural roadblocks to effectively assess the actual competencies of leaders.
  • Information flow vs. procurement. We tend to want to covet information, but the next generation of corporate leadership is starting to adopt more of a flow policy because what happens in one area of the company has an indisputable impact on others. This is contributing more to models of shared power.
  • Leaders get too busy to understand what people actually need, and focus too much on what they think they need.
  • Sometimes what is needed is what is ignored, not what is repeated.
  • SWOT analysis findings need to be validated by additional assessment to make sure that the data is objective and gaps need to be seen as opportunities for growth.
  • Regardless of tools that companies might use, including leadership assessments, there is often a lack of establishing metrics around growth goals, developing actual plans to fill gaps, and following up with leaders to see if they are growing and developing.
  • When leadership is too busy to put out fires, there’s no time for additional development and growth. The system puts band-aids on problems and that creates more fires, and nothing ever changes.
  • Prepare communities to have the conversation, and develop a shared vocabulary around issues. Set the expectation that doing this will take time and energy, inspire them with the shared vision, then gain collective accountability through a social contract that you commit to getting comfortable being uncomfortable. Lean into being curious vs. confrontational.
  • Leadership is a quality you can exude at any level of an organization. You only need one person with “bestowed” power to be willing to listen to someone vocalizing for the lower levels in an organization. Successfully soliciting sponsors and co-sponsors is included in the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint, as well as Business Case Development, VUCA/CALM models, and decision trees.

Mark your calendar for our next Answer the Call to Conscious Leadership event on Tuesday, June 23rd at 1 PM ET. We’ll be discussing conscious communication live from our LinkedIn group.

PS: This week, I was honored to be part of the #AllThingsHiring podcast to discuss corporate consciousness and self-awareness for leaders at all levels. Click here to listen to the episode!

Nine Inch Nails – Head Like A Hole (Official Video)

“Head Like A Hole” – Nine Inch Nails from Pretty Hate Machine Apple Music: https://found.ee/nin-NINEssentials-applemusic-alt Spotify: https://found.ee/nin-Th…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Will You Answer The Call To Conscious Leadership?

If you missed the inaugural Answer the Call to Conscious Leadership event, you’re invited to watch the highlight reel of June 4’s event below.

Hosted by Lawrence Henderson and co-hosted by me, we invited two panelists to yesterday’s discussion, David Guerreso, Leadership and Purpose Coach and former IT leader, and Kristin Corson, human resources veteran, former trauma counselor, and current talent acquisition specialist.

Without a real agenda, but more of a need to just get the conversation started so that we can start processing what is going on, what’s led up it, and how this needs to look going forward to create a more equitable and just future, yesterday’s conversation was rich with topics. We focused especially on the qualities that leaders need to embody.

Here are some of the important topics we covered:

  • Top-down leadership – Organizations keep trying to fix problems from the bottom up.
  • Model vulnerability to create psychological safety so that people know it’s safe to share how they feel.
  • Resilience – How do you build resilience if you haven’t naturally built it by going through tough times? Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
  • Fear of alienating employees and customer base as well as organizational culture that has modeled the military has stifled forward progress.
  • Start the conversation, then listen, then act! You don’t get across that you care until you act.
  • Invest time in understanding where your people are coming from and meet them where they are.
  • “Us vs. Them” doesn’t work.
  • Commitment to personal development – be willing to accept that you have room to grow.
  • Purpose – it doesn’t feel like you might expect.
  • “Cooperetition” – Working up to the best of your ability to raise the bar for everyone around you.

Watch the highlight reel here:

06-04-20 Answer the Call to Conscious Leadership Event

No Description

Lawrence and I are going to do these events bi-weekly. Please join our LinkedIn group, C3: Corporate Consciousness Co-op, to attend live, watch recordings, and meet other leaders committed to transforming the corporate landscape.

 

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Racial Injustice, Economic Injustice, Health Injustice

It’s funny how coincidences work, isn’t it?

I ordered the 2nd edition of The B Corp Handbook to see how it was augmented with new case studies of companies that profit, thrive, and grow, all while doing good in the world.

I usually force myself to read prologues, forewords, and introductions because, even though I’m anxious to dig right in, I often find there are critical context and additional resources in these sections that can exponentially increase the value that I get from a book, and this edition was no exception.

Co-author Ryan Honeyman seemed to anticipate some backlash from B Corp prospects on the diversity and inclusion focus of the new edition, justifying that you can’t really have a company that does good in the world without acknowledging how racial injustices impact economic, social, and environmental injustices; they are directly correlated.

In light of the events of the week (#GeorgeFloyd), and unfortunately too many weeks before that (#AhmaudArbery, #CentralParkKaren, just to name a couple), it seems more like a sign than coincidence that this was the focus of the introduction, but it was the way Honeyman seemed to need to justify its inclusion that bothered me.

When I was in college, I was told by someone who shall remain nameless, but who was a very influential person in my life, that I should despise affirmative action, because it meant that even if I was qualified for a job, a [person of color] would get it just to make the numbers look better.

Why were the numbers so bad, was my response. Their reply – including blatant racism, lack of empathy and understanding, and justifications – reinforced that, while this person will always be in my life and I cherish them, I cannot possibly adopt their world view, and I became a skeptic of theirs ever since. It wasn’t until years later that I became a recruiter and found myself challenging my own biases while also being exposed to others’, that I became a stronger advocate, and in a position to do so, for equality in the workplace. It was…. messy, though.

I’m excited to dig more into this edition of The B Corp Handbook, but today I wanted to share just a few of the wisdom bombs within the introduction because they directly correlate to what is happening right now before our eyes.

The other co-author, Dr. Tiffany Jana, is the representative voice of diversity in this book. I think it’s only fair to start with her wisdom:

  • “If we fail to leverage our collective economic power to address what we can clearly see our gross injustices– economic, Environmental, social, medical, educational, and more– then are we really walking the walk?”
  • “There are no perfect role models for DEI. The important thing is to acknowledge your error, apologize whenever possible, and be more present and intentional next time.”
  • “Equity… means everyone gets treated according to their individual needs or circumstances.”
  • “If you use people as tools to get work done but don’t engage their minds and hearts, that is not inclusion. If people’s opinions are not sought out, taken seriously, or at the pond, that is not inclusion. Inclusion is sharing the work, and the opportunities, the glory, the fun, and the failure.”
  • “In order to restore trust in business, the business community needs to respond to those people’s legitimate desire for jobs with dignity the business community also needs to make the case that economic justice for all isn’t inextricably tied to, and dependent on, social and environmental justice.”
  • “Companies that thrive on the exploitation of people should not thrive.”

Quotes from Mr. Ryan Honeyman:

  • “It’s should not be the burden of people of color, women, or other marginalized groups to educate folks with privilege about institutional racism, institutional sexism, and other forms of systemic bias.”
  • “If you choose to walk away from an uncomfortable conversation, you are exercising your privilege, because people of color, women, and others cannot walk away from their identity.”
  • “White supremacy is the system that perpetuates many of the problems our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are attempting to solve.”
  • “I had never considered that challenging and unraveling the norms, assumptions, and culture of white supremacy is self could be part of the solution.”
  • “Only by naming it, disrupting it, and dismantling it can we successfully create an economy that works for the benefit of all life.”

I invite you to consider Mindfulness Training and Emotional Intelligence (MT/EQ) training for your company and/or team. When applied correctly, over 200 studies prove that MT/EQ helps companies control profit bleeding by contributing to improved problem solving, enhanced motivation, higher performance and productivity, and more while also helping to replace bias/discrimination, corruption, workplace drama, harassment with consciousness and kindness.

What are your thoughts on how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Natalie Merchant – Break Your Heart

Music video directed by Sophie Muller, featuring N’Dea Davenport and filmed at The Chelsea Hotel in NYC.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

When You Are Advised to Network, But Feel Network-Disabled

“Maybe you need new friends.” Have your parents or other authority figures ever said that to you?

What happened to inspire that advice? Usually, it’s because you told them it was your friends’ idea to do something stupid. When you’re a kid, doing what your friends are doing makes you popular. But we grow out of that, right? Not according to data.

According to data we earn, eat, and generally do what our 5 closest relations earn, eat, and do. 

When I was a recruiter, this was used as justification to always ask top candidates for referrals – good talent runs in packs, apparently. However in the real world working with rising, thriving, and even dying corporate stars, not everyone feels particularly akin to their closest circle of influences. Some even pride themselves on being the black sheep.  For most others, however, being the black sheep is isolating and creates challenges, particularly networking challenges when it comes to making career moves. 

Even though some of these clients were top performers and great team contributors, they shied away from inter-office friendships and social activities. In their private life, they had smaller social circles and preferred low-key, private gatherings to un-traversed, public adventures. 

They were happy to surround themselves with people who know and accept them, introverts and extraverts alike. Not all of them felt the need to change anything until it came time to campaign for a career change (moving up, over, or out.) 

Some coaches I have paid over the years have advised me and many others to cut people out of your life who hold you back or weigh you down. I think this is awful, even dangerous advice. Success that requires you to cut people out of your life sounds too cultish and elitist to me. Yes, sometimes we change and grow, which can cause conflicts with people who have known us as we have been. Sometimes we do outgrow relationship. Sometimes people are genuinely toxic and you need separation. 

Let’s go back to the main point our parents usually got around to making: If your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you?

Friends aren’t the real reasons we stay stagnant in our lives or our careers. Once we get to age 18, family is no longer a reason we can legitimately use to say why we stay stagnant, even if we stay in the same location for their sake. 

Can friends and family influence us? Sure, if we let them, but we let them influence us because, ultimately, we choose. The tighter we make our circle, the harder it is to recognize their influence on our decisions and our path. 

Before I tell you about the light on the other side, I should share with you my personal triumph:

I was severely friendship-disabled during 3-8th grade. I preferred reclusively sitting home and watching television because socializing hurt, sometimes physically. All interactions with peers could easily transgress into a “social suicide” situation. I had to outgrow and overcome this. I did this by diversifying my friend pool. Doing this helped me in multiple ways I could not have expected. It started as a way to have a friend to call when there was drama with my best friend and her other friends. I started doing new things my other “friends” weren’t doing, like tennis camp. I made a friend at tennis camp. She introduced me to other friends, many of whom were going through similar home situations – divorce, shared custody. My best friend could sympathize with this but really didn’t understand like my new friends did. In fact, she and my four other friends from that group still have parents who are alive and still married. 

My new friends shared some of the same anger and pain, and I felt safe talking about it with them. They gave me new ways to deal with it, even how to use it to my advantage. Hanging out with this group changed me a bit – I got/talked tougher and started smoking. My best friend didn’t like the changes so much, but I gained more confidence and stuck up for myself more. This new group also helped me appreciate my individuality. For the most part, I was the “Bomar” of each group, a word we used for studious bookworms who loved to participate in class and generally earned good grades. They didn’t shame me for this like my older group of friends – they admired it. Eventually, I expanded my sphere of influence and even became a “joiner” in high school – athletics, school clubs, yearbook and prom committee, etc.  I also found that my guy friends were a lot more fun with less drama, usually. I spent more time with them and enjoyed being the girl in the group. This came in handy when I started working at a sports apparel retail store working mostly with men talking mostly about professional athletes, and even getting to meet a few. This also helped when I worked in other male-dominated fields, like tech. 

The cumulative effect of having diverse groups of friends is that I can work with difficult personalities successfully, but never feel like I have to continue associating with anyone who mistreats me or whose values are not aligned with mine. I have tried and adopted new hobbies, traveled to new places, and can relate to more people. I meet fewer and fewer people now with whom I can’t find something in common, and that’s a good starting place for rapport, mediation, and negotiations. 

I didn’t leave anyone behind, but some groups grew closer while I expanded my horizons. I became a “special appearance” friend. I wasn’t always where they were, which actually saved me from being arrested on multiple occasions. I still have multiple groups of close friends from high school. We made different decisions at graduation, and we all mostly wound up successful in our careers. We all eventually expanded our circles to include new people – neighbors, sports parents, co-workers, spouse/partner’s friends and in-laws, etc.  

I’m certain that if you take a look at the years since you were in grade school, you would see an evolution in your social sphere as well. 

Some people choose to delineate the social sphere from the professional sphere.  That’s a personal choice and one I didn’t make for myself because of the richness of opportunity that has come from cross-pollinating my professional and personal networks. In fact, I can say with utter certainty that if I had made the attempt to keep my personal and professional circles separate I would have failed at my jobs and in my business. 

If you are choosing this for yourself, this blog is not for you and I really don’t think I can help you get where you want to go. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a career or leadership coach that will help you get where you want to go in your career under the conditions that you continue to only associate with people on either a personal or professional level and never bleed the two together. I do encourage you to start your own society of people who follow the same belief system and maybe you can ONLY help each other based on what you learn about each other professionally. You do you!

Back to the other readers who saw this headline and thought, “Yes – that’ me. I’m network-disabled.” The first step is identifying this. Right now, I want you to know that if you recognize that this has been holding you back from enjoying opportunities for greater professional growth and performance, your network is not permanently broken. You can enjoy expanding your social spheres and spheres of professional influence simultaneously while expanding your comfort zone and discovering new strengths and qualities. It doesn’t take as much time as you think. You could be the new “Norm” to your new Cheers within a few weeks, actually. 

In the coming weeks, I’ll share advice and tips that will help you maximize your victories, minimize and learn from your failures, and accelerate your ability to leverage your new-found friends without feeling sleazy or self-serving.

 

Cheers intro song

intro song to the tv show cheers( 1983-1992) song: where everybody knows your name, by Gary Portnoy.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.