One of the placements during my masters in sustainable development was in a large company. The ‘sustainability department’ in this company was just 2 people and the rest of the organisation knew little, and cared less, about sustainable development.
It was during this placement I learnt how unbelievably hard it is to swim endlessly against the tide on your own, and how imperative a good support network is.
A great professional community is the difference between feeling isolated, struggling and losing your way, or staying informed, being inspired and staying motivated.
It’s the difference between you just surviving. Or really thriving.
Even if you’re convinced of the reasons for building your sustainability network, that doesn’t mean it’s straight forward. Maybe you hate networking. Possibly you’re not that sure what’s missing. Or you have no idea where to start.
Here’s 5 quick steps to help you build your sustainability network from scratch:
- Identify what’s missing. The first step in creating a network is to identify the void. What do you want from the connection you need to create? A good indicator here is how do you feel? Alone, stuck, lost, out of the loop, frustrated, bored…
- Brainstorm. The feeling is an indicator of something missing in your professional world. Let’s say you feel alone. So brainstorm all the ways you might build your sustainability network so you feel more a part of something: Could you create a group, or maybe there’s something out there that is similar to what you’re after already.
- Use your contacts. The message here is you are not on your own. However few people you know in this sector, you have a connection with someone. Use it. Perhaps you’re also in some online communities. Reaching out to others and asking for what you need is how people make change in this world. There’s no shame in asking for help. It’s smart. And anyway, people like to help.
- Nurture your relationships. This is a bit tangential but if you’ve gone to all the effort to build your network, now take care of it. It’s ridiculously easy to stay in touch with old colleagues these days. So when you’ve made the connections you’re after, nurture them!
- And finally, help someone else. I’d be willing to bet that pretty much everyone in the sustainability field has felt lost, isolated, stuck, or demotivated at one time or another. Connecting with someone else who you know in the sector might be just the connection you were both after.
Over to you:
Got other great ideas of ways to build your community? Please share them in the comments below.
Be part of the sustainable you community
Do you feel isolated in your work? Would you love to connect with other sustainability professionals (and by connect I mean really get to know and be there for each other)? The Sustainable You community is growing – it’s already a place where you can get the support you need to stay empowered and resilient – and soon it’s going to be a place you can get to know other change makers like you, too. If you want to be a part of this personal, genuine and supportive community, sign up here.
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