What Is Your Sphere of Influence?

Let’s start by looking at your sphere of influence. Picture three rings – one big, one medium, and one small. The three rings fit inside each other. You are represented by a single dot in the center.

Sphere of InfluenceEach ring symbolizes a target audience. The ring closest to you symbolizes the people you connect with on a regular basis and know you fairly well. They can include your manager, co-workers, peers, clients, family, close friends, etc. They are people whom you associate with directly, who could impact your career. Conversely, you can influence their perceptions through your messages and actions.

The medium-sized ring symbolizes others who may have some influence on your career. They are people you know, but may not see you on a regular basis. They could be managers from other departments, senior managers, past employers or clients, externals suppliers, or people whom you’ve met at professional associations, civic organizations, or trade shows.

The big ring symbolizes your wish list – those whom you want to meet and add to your sphere of influence. Is there someone who impressed you, whom you would like to get to know? Write down her name. Is there someone you admire for his knowledge, skills or career success? Expand your mind to think big. I love what Donald Trump said, “If you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.”

Do you have a strong support system of career influencers?

If you want bigger promotions, better clients, and a richer, more meaningful career, you must work with people who value you and your professional strengths, talents and accomplishments. Otherwise, you will be living in a frustrating world, spending time and energy to accomplish things, yet receiving very little in return.

So what you need to do is put together a strong support system of career influencers. A key step in building a powerful personal brand is to identify those in your professional network who value you. People with an appreciation for your professional strengths and talents can pave the way for you to achieve the career of your dreams. They can help expand and accelerate your career. They can hire you, help you get promoted and recommend you to potential clients or employers.

Identify those managers, clients, peers, colleagues, and potential employers who you feel value your talents and strengths, as well as those you want to value you. These are successful professionals who can give you the strategies, insight, and inspiration to advance your career. They are people who can support you, teach you, inspire you, and influence others.

Career Change Dilemma – Should you stay or should you go?

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Should you stay in your current job or should you make a career change?

If you’re struggling with whether or not to leave your current job and try something new, then I have 3 questions for you to ask yourself to help you make that decision.

First, What do you need in your career to feel motivated and fulfilled?

In other words, which of your strengths do you want to be using? Which skills and areas of expertise do you want to be recognized and appreciated for?

Is there a specific industry you want to be in? Is there a specific job role you want to be in? These are things you need to think about and figure out. This is the first step in transitioning into a career that’s meaningful and inspiring.

The second question I want you to ask yourself is, What are the ‘gives and gets’ in your current situation?

Take inventory of what you are giving to your current manager or organization. You need to look at yourself from your manager’s perspective. Consider the fact that your employer probably had many candidates applying for your job and they gave it to you! Are you meeting their expectations? Are you delivering what you promised you would in the job interview? Define the value that you provide to the company. Those are the “gives” of your job.

For example, do you have the right knowledge, experience and skills to perform the job successfully (and these days you really need to exceed expectations to be successful in a job.) Are you providing some kind of unique expertise and viewed as the “go to” person for that knowledge or skill? Are your senior leaders and customers thrilled with your work? Are you training and mentoring team members and peers?

Those are all the “gives” of what you’re giving to the organization.

Next, identify the ‘gets’, which are all the benefits you’re receiving from your current employer. For example, a paycheck, health benefits, a retirement account, the opportunity to create or launch a new product? Training or advanced education, Developing a new skill? Pride from working for a prestigious company or with prestigious clients? Telecommuting? Flexible hours? Those are all great “gets.”

Now look at the mix of gives and gets. Are they in balance, or out of sync? If your gives outweigh what you’re getting in return, then you may want to take your career in a different direction, and this exercise will help you see that.

Now, before you disconnect completely from your situation, I encourage you to ask yourself one more question – Is there anything else you can glean from your current situation before you leave?

Are there any projects that could give you deeper knowledge or help you build a new skill? Are there projects that you want to complete before you leave that could boost your resume, and boost your personal brand? Could you strengthen your leadership skills by volunteering to lead a project? Is there a project you could create that could help you grow and flex your professional muscles?

Also, is there anyone at your work who could teach you about a product, technology, or the industry before you leave?

It’s inevitable that at some point, you’ll want to move into a different job role or a different company. And when that time comes, remember that before you jump ship, you should ask yourself these three questions. They’ll help you make a smart decision about your career.

If you’re stuck – get professional help! You never want your career to be sitting on shelf longer than it has to – it means thousands of dollars every month in missed income that you should be making! So if you’re not getting results, then invest in some professional advice, like —

  1. A Professional resume writer, or
  2. An interview coach, or
  3. A career coach.

These are professionals who can accelerate your career change and help you get into a new job faster!

Power Networking! Simple Tips to Change your Career Fast

Prefer to listen to the podcast version of this post?
You can also subscribe to our Career Coaching 360 podcast RSS feed. Career Coaching 360 podcasts are also available on iTunes.

If you have you been thinking about making a career change, networking should be in your Career Change Toolbox. But, what’s the “right” way to network?

Here are my tips for Power Networking to make a faster career change as a professional or executive.

The next time you find yourself in a room with someone you’d like to meet, look around to see if there’s someone else around your know who could introduce the two of you. Then, keep the conversation focused on them. (It’s not about you! At least not yet, anyway!) So, ask them about their latest marketing campaign or product launch, or comment on something new or interesting that’s going on inside their company.

Next, try to get their business card by simply saying, I’d love to stay in touch – how about if we exchange business cards? Then, follow up by sending a piece of information that you think they may be of interest to your new contact such as an article, or the results of a new study, or a cool website that relates to their business.

The perception you want to create is not, Hey, I’m someone who’s looking for a job. But instead, that you’re a successful professional who’s resourceful, well connected, and who has some similar interests as they do. You want them to see that you as someone that THEY should get to know!

Offer to introduce them to someone in your network who could help them solve a business challenge, or help them save costs on a project, or who is a mover and shaker in the industry. You want them to see you as a resource – someone who could potentially help THEM in THEIR career!

Then, after you’ve exchanged e-mails, then talk about some projects or teams that you’re working on that are successful. One thing that works really well for me is I offer to share tips or lessons learned. I find that by doing this, people who value and appreciate your talents will naturally gravitate towards you.

So after you’ve established a relationship, go ahead and drop a hint that you’re looking for your next career opportunity. And believe me, if they know of any they’re going to let you know!

One final thought, I strongly believe that no matter where you are in your career, we’re always in a position to help out others. Is there someone else you can support by introducing her to a potential employer, or giving a recommendation, or inviting to a networking event? It’s sometimes easy to focus just on ourselves, but remember that when we help out others along the way – the universe gives back to us more than we ever dreamed possible.

The bottom line is that if you want to drive your career up to the next level, you need to make networking a priority. And once you’ve practiced a couple of the strategies, your career will start moving forward in the direction you want to go!

If you’re stuck – get professional help! You never want your career to be sitting on shelf longer than it has to – it means thousands of dollars every month in missed income that you should be making! So if you’re not getting results, then invest in some professional advice wherever you need it –

  1. A Professional resume writer, or
  2. An interview coach, or
  3. Or a career coach

These are professionals who can accelerate your career change and help you get into a new job faster!