American television producer Shonda Rhimes once said, “I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way, and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.” Shonda attributes success to intentful actions and putting in the work. Luck and success may seemingly go hand in hand, but simply making a wish at 11:11 or on a shooting star (a rarity growing up in Los Angeles) isn’t enough to reach your dreams.
Growing up, I was told I was lucky to be a student that teachers liked. I was lucky to be so involved at school. I was a lucky kid, a statement I honestly grew to detest because I felt that my accomplishments were more than just a matter of chance. Fast forward to the present and I have been told that I am lucky I was afforded the opportunity to make a major career shift. I recently moved on from my outwardly successful sales career to focus on my notary business, Alexandra On The Go. Not only did I switch gears, I moved from the passenger to the driver's seat. After years of sales experience in the same industry, many in my network were curious to know what led me to create a notary business.
I understand why my career shift may seem curious, so allow me to explain.
I was in the facility management (FM) industry for several years. During my time as an FM professional, I learned about skilled trades, construction, met the most incredible people, and grew my interpersonal skills in a sales position. Facility managers are expected to work behind the scenes to promote smooth business operations. As such, this industry is somewhat hidden and FM professionals will typically have a story that describes how they “fell into the world of facilities.” Not only did I fall into facilities, but I fell for my boss (now my fiancé). As our relationship grew more serious, I decided to quit my job and pursue a career in real estate. While I appeared to be positive and excited, I was anxious about starting my career over.
Turns out, I didn’t have to just yet. I received a job offer I couldn’t refuse, an opportunity where I could make a positive impact on the FM industry I grew to love. This opportunity was more than good luck. I had made several meaningful connections and grew a robust network within the FM vertical. While I was grateful for the opportunity to stay within the FM industry, I quickly realized that I was ready for a new challenge. Long story short - that work environment was not my vibe or tribe (and yes, this matters). At this point, the real estate exam has been pushed aside for over a year, and I still have bills to pay.
Revisiting My Network
Lucky for me, I learned the importance of networking through my experiences. Networking is the ability to successfully and authentically cultivate relationships with people you meet. Becoming a Notary Public has allowed me to expand on my passion for networking. I get to meet new people and learn from them at every signing. I compare a good networker to a good friend: listen, be real, be authentic, and truly care about the well being of others. By taking ownership of your interpersonal relationships, you too can stop looking for four leaf clovers and accept responsibility for creating the life you wish to live.
I always approach people and introduce myself. I am a planner and enjoy taking the lead. I genuinely want to get to know others and help them in any way I can. That’s how I build what I call “REALationships.”
Here are small actions you can take to create your professional network that don't require any luck:
Rebuild your existing network, it is a humbling process.
Pay attention to your network. Schedule time for not only posting on social media, but engaging with others on social media. Wish someone a happy birthday, congratulate them on a new job.
Emotional intelligence is what will make someone want to work with you, support you, or completely ignore you. Just ask any millennial, feelings are important. There is no hand book, just remain cognizant of what you can do to make someone feel special, thought of, and cared for.
Don’t leave your success up to chance. While it is important to look up at the stars and visualize your future, your actions are what will bring the stars to you.