I once got a fortune cookie that said “you are the average of your 5 friends.” Shut your eyes and think for minute about your five closest friends. I’m guessing you have the wild college roommate who is now gallivanting across Europe and the other end of the spectrum is your Martha Stewart-like friend who homeschools her kids and bakes cookies for the troops. You are right in the middle.
I think this rule holds true for your professional colleagues as well. Who are the five people that you trust most professionally and are your sounding board for career moves? These include mentors and the person that you like to hang out with at work. Keep it to just five and if you are having a hard time coming up with the five, it’s time to start focusing on building your professional network.
Thinking of your five closest colleagues, ask yourself the following questions:
Do you have people that you regularly spend time with that are doing the job that you would like to do in 3-5 years? 10-20 years?
Do those 5 people support your dreams and aspirations?
Do you have people in that list that you are mentoring?
Would you be comfortable asking everyone on this list to act as a reference for you?
Do you see any holes on this list?
What proactive steps could you take to fill those holes?