If you pride yourself on being self-sufficient, you may have assumed that you don’t need a network. But even if you’ve achieved your current success on the strength of solo (or near-solo) efforts, making meaningful connections with people in your field can still be beneficial. If you don’t like the idea of networking, reframe it as a way of making interesting friends for the long term. Create a “wishlist” of people you’d like to connect with — a senior colleague, a thought leader in your field, a respected author. You could connect with them by interviewing them for a blog or podcast. Or, if you share a commonality like being part of an alumni group or professional association, you could simply suggest a “getting-to-know-you” call. If this feels like it’s not your speed, you might concentrate your networking efforts on one or two key conferences per year. While it may feel uncomfortable at first, we all can stand to benefit from spending a little time getting to know people who may end up being our colleagues, mentors, or friends.
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