As far as I can remember I have always set specific and constantly evolving short-term, mid-term and long-term goals in my personal and professional life. This has allowed staying focused on what mattered to me the most. The center of my current personal goals is to start a family and spend time with my family traveling and expanding our horizons. Other goals are to continue learning, read more, and to live a well-rounded healthy lifestyle where I can embrace my hobbies.
On the professional level my goals are to improve the diversity, tie strength and density of my network to increase my social capital, to be promoted from a management to an ownership position, to own my own real estate development company, to distinguish myself in the field, to create job opportunities for others and contribute to the society. I also have goals where my personal and professional goals meet such as improving my communication skills to become a better active listener and an effective speaker. These goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely and focus on both professional development and personal achievement. Overall, I would like to align my professional goals with my personal goals in order to achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Building the right network can enhance our ability to influence our professional milieu and increase out access to opportunities, resources, and information in order to achieve our professional goals. However, in order for our network to provide the access, we need it should have the appropriate content and structure. I find the content of my network to be limited to various gaps. My network doesn’t include enough of female professionals and is not racially/ethnically diverse enough. The majority of my connections are male and of the same race/ethnicity as myself. My network is also limited in professional diversity. A greater part of my connections is in the construction/real estate industry, and more than half of them hold similar positions/functions such as laborers, project managers, and project engineers.
Although my future goals also reside in the construction/real estate arena I would like to include more developers and professionals from ownership which is where I see myself in a couple of years. I would like to develop a network that inspires new ideas and challenges my beliefs by making my network more diverse from a gender, cultural and professional point of view. In order to have more heterogeneous contacts, I will try new experiences, meet new people and ask about the things we don’t have in common. (After all, it was a calligraphy class that Steve Jobs dropped in during his undergraduate studies which inspired Apple’s typography.) I will attend events which are not necessarily linked to the industry of my interest and reach out to people whose perspectives have been shaped by distinct experiences. This will also allow me to avoid echo chambers of individuals who struck share the same worldviews.
The structure of my network, on the other hand, appears to be more assonant with my professional goals. In the past five years, I have added more strong ties to my network creating a more balanced network of strong and week ties relationships. Prior to that, my network heavily weighted towards week ties. I attribute this to my regular change in positions, projects, and countries which led to more superficial professional acquaintances. Having a more consistent professional path, in the same company, has given me the opportunity to distinguish myself in the field which has also led to creating stronger relationships built on trust. I believe my network is effective as its density is a halfway point between dense (1) and sparse (0) (based on the relation between my actual connections and potential connections.). I have regularly enhanced the density of my network by introducing people I’ve just met others in my network, this also gives me an opportunity to learn more about both of them.
In order to continue to build and maintain my network and help achieve my professional goals, I will set SMART goals to give me clarity and a deadline for achieving them.