Surrounding yourself with a supportive network is one of the most important things you can do.
I expect most already do this within the family unit, seeking out certain family members for guidance and advice and appreciating the value these interactions have. Likewise, the same could be said with friends – their input is valued and often solutions to issues or problems are offered freely if it results in the betterment of a situation.
Both professionally and personally speaking, the network you choose to engage with is likely to be similar to you – like attracting like. As I start progressing with my goals for 2014 (library and non-library) I have begun to notice that some within my existing network are more supportive than others.
I was always of the belief that those around you wish to see you develop, grow and succeed. I was somewhat disappointed to learn this is not always the case. Whilst I think constructive criticism is a valuable tool to help with self-development, I also think that criticism alone is not. We learn from our mistakes, and sometimes, we need to try things, or take risks in order to learn. Some things will work and some won’t. I don’t think it is a matter of getting things your own way, but rather taking advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself.
I think the way you interact within your network is important. Having someone’s opinion you value say ‘Hey, that’s a great idea, why don’t you give it a go?’ or ‘Great suggestion, how can I support you to make it happen?’ can make all the difference in the world. I am incredibly fortunate to have more individuals within my network with that attitude and approach, than not. I feel inspired and confident. It believe it is in this type of environment that collectively we will learn and grow best.