Misconceptions: A Brief Introduction to Networking

by Christina Garvey, MA in Organizational Management Student

(photo by Mathias Klang from Göteborg, Sweden via Wikimedia Commons)

She bravely walked into my dorm room with her hand awkwardly stretched out and said, “Hi, I’m Alina.” I gave her a puzzled look and thought to myself, “Who is this girl? Are people really this friendly?” Later in life, I was able to finally understand misconceptions relating to people and points of view.

Back then I did not want to need anyone, and I felt needing people was a sign of weakness, even though halfway through my first semester I found myself alone. My overly independent nature left me alone, and I realized I just couldn’t do it on my own. Shouldn’t I have built and fostered meaningful relationships by now?

Five years and five months later I moved to California to start AULA’s MAOM program, and I learned a way to maintain my independence without feeling alone.

In my MAOM course on Personal and Professional Effectiveness, I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Stephen Covey talks about dependence, independence and interdependence. Dependence is the need to be nurtured by others. Over time people become more independent and no longer need others to take care of them. Interdependence is when two or more independent people come together to create something greater than they can individually. Covey states, “If I am physically interdependent, I am self-reliant and capable, but I also realize that you and I working together can accomplish far more than, even at my best, I could accomplish alone.”

Okay, so I’m officially an independent young woman who condensed my entire life inside of a little black Honda Fit and drove it halfway across the country. Now what?

How do I become a healthy interdependent woman when I moved to a city with millions of people that I don’t know? It dawned on me that the only way to achieve this goal was to expand my comfort zone and my network: quite daunting. Isn’t networking just a selfish way of trying to get people to do things for you?

Nope, that’s a misconception. The same type of misconception I held onto when meeting Alina, who is now my best friend. “It’s never simply about getting what you want. It’s about getting what you want and making sure that the people who are important to you get what they want, too,” says successful lifetime networker, Keith Ferrazzi in his book, Never Eat Alone. So, I decided that by helping the people closest to me, I can expand my network.

With so many books out there on this topic, I decided to focus my efforts on mastering the art of networking with a holistic approach of developing healthy friendships in the process. It simply started by writing down this goal and finding ways to manifest it into my real life.

It has only been five months since I drove to Los Angeles in my Honda Fit motivated to start a new life. I’ve learned so much during this journey, and I want to share more of my experiences with you. So please stay up to date on my regular blog entries here on The Antidote. A simple exercise that you can do in the meantime is to reflect on the wonderful people around you and the misconceptions you had about these individuals when you first met. Here are some suggestions to help you along the way:

  1. Find time to sit and contemplate the names and faces of individuals in your life.
  2. On a sheet of paper list these individuals into three categories: family, personal and professional.
  3. Continue reflecting on ways to set up gatherings to introduce these individuals to one another, and write down these ideas on a separate sheet of paper.

No need to act on this idea just yet! I’ll make sure to teach you more about your list soon. Just continue to reflect and contemplate.

Guest Blogger Christina Garvey is a Supervisor for the Transportation Security Administration at the Burbank Airport and a student in the M.A. in Organizational Management program at Antioch University Los Angeles. She received her B.A. in Business Administration at the University of Wisconsin, Superior.