What I really mean is that I have always come up short on having a 10-year career plan (it must be the Aquarian in me who rebels against too much structure), and instead have followed my nose and instincts for opportunities that have presented themselves over the years. And no, those opportunities are not just the result of sheer good fortune, although I do feel fortunate.
They have arisen as an outgrowth of my ongoing efforts to build and maintain a network of friends and acquaintances. It helps that I was raised to be sociable and friendly, despite a tendency to shyness inherited from my reclusive engineer dad -- it was a cultural expectation to show interest and hospitality.
I recognize how hard networking can be if (a) you are super-busy and (b) extremely shy or introverted. But I'm here to argue that your success in your medical practice, your nonclinical business or your physician executive or administrative career is tightly linked to your ability to build up your "know, like and trust" factor!
A recent article on the Harvard Business Review blog, "An Introvert's Guide to Networking" reminded me of the tips I previously put together to help physicians create lasting, valuable networking relationships.
The article author describes her feelings this way:
While I wanted to attend the party, as an introvert I usually avoided these types of events because they made me uncomfortable. Knowing there would be a lot of senior executives at this party made me even more fearful.
Her success secrets (the emphasis is mine)?
- I learned to appreciate my introversion rather than repudiate it.
- I stopped being afraid to be the one to reach out.
- I learned to prioritize time to re-energize.
This last suggestion is powerful, as one of the glaring differences between an introvert and an extrovert is largely a function of one's energy level. Extroverts are energized by social interactions while introverts feel drained and need to find ways to restore their energy.
Your success as a medical practice owner or physician entrepreneur may be closely tied to your ability to build strong relationships with others - isn't it worth mastering these skills?
For a quick a refresher on how to do this well, check back to my Networking Made Natural for Physician Entrepreneurs series (the links to earlier articles that complete the series are all on that page).
Philippa Kennealy ran a private family practice, and a hospital, before building her coaching business helping MDs launch and run successful practices and businesses. Visit her online at www.entrepreneurialMD.com to learn more.