For years, I interpreted networking as a daunting task and at times I made every excuse to avoid doing it all costs. Now, don’t get me wrong, by nature I am always eager to have a deep one on one conversation. However, it was not until I got to business school that I understood the true purpose of networking, which is to expand your knowledge base and reach to uncover hidden opportunities.
I guess it took a while for me to accept this, because as an Olympic athlete I was taught that I controlled my own destiny. The mantra my coach swore by was practice and work harder then everyone else and you will be the winner. But, life does not always work that way.
When I entered business school I witnessed how my classmates wasted little time in developing deep bonds and from day 1 on campus had an amazing experience. On the other hand, I struggled to adjust to the experience of collaborative learning and networking. Maybe, it was because I began taking classes a day after the Olympics and it is a completely different mentality in the Olympic Village.
Once I understood that business school was not strictly limited to learning, but to build as many friendships as possible. I loved every minute of it. I met people from all walks of life and learned about career opportunities that I never knew was possible.
Today, I have made a conscious effort to attend at least 2 Meetups / month (daddy day care limits this amount), because I want to network and build more relationships similar to my b-school experience. So, if you see me out at an event, please stop me and say hi.