When you are a novice in the industry that you are becoming acquainted to, there is the general assumption to ask for more tasks, more jobs, more experience, more contacts, more networking, more full exposure to get yourself associated with the right people and right contacts to know your name. How do you stay present within the industry without having to rely on cold-calling and running your energy dry?
It's been a year since I started teaching yoga professionally, and I still have constant fears that I am not already well established within my direct community and fitness industry. And that's okay...
I was having a conversation with a co-worker whom was interested in becoming a full-time yoga instructor once completing the 200-hour teacher training program. I didn't absolutely agree and support the idea, but I wasn't about to shut the possibility of it happening for this person either. Being given the opportunities to teach does not happen right away, like anything in the fitness and wellness industry, and it may take many trials in different studios, gyms, and systems of management before finding something that works for you financially and for your lifestyle.
Sometimes saying "Yes!" to an opportunity opens new doors; other times, being able to carefully craft a plan of what to work around and say "No, thank you" is equally as valid and makes room for where you need to direct your energy in a wise and optimized manner.
Prioritizing work for work's sake is something most of us dread unless we are absolutely stimulated and excited by what it is that we wake up every day for.
Perhaps we can create that mentality of waking up with a fresh, new opportunity constantly on the horizon. I like writing these things down, first thing when I wake up.
Find the things that stimulate you:
- whether this may be cooking and meal prepping, deep conversations with coworkers, group exercise, etc. Carefully carve out what it is that you look forward to in a work day.
- And if you don't know what stimulates you - make a list of the things that absolutely BORE you and that you would rather avoid doing. Next, use this list to find things you would enjoy instead.
- Do the work environments that you seek out promote these activities, values, or principles as well?
Create opportunities that don't already exist.
- Look for areas in your life and habits that you usually frequent and take notice of the things most people including yourself complain is missing
- Are there talents or areas of expertise that you can offer, simply by speaking up and providing feedback for?
- Sometimes, planting the seed and creating the invitation of a potential event speaks louder than planning and executing an actual event out.
Keep some doors open in the meanwhile...
- Be proactive, but not too proactive while you wait. It's good to have an end-goal to work towards but if that specific hiring manager or company does not contact you, that doesn't mean you should switch professions or call it quits. Sometimes, it's good to keep good relations with management and HR to ask for specific opportunities down the road that may be more specific to what you really want.
- It helps to maintain a reputable demeanour across the community - so whether you are volunteering, offering service and your time to a community, or other voluntary act, business professionals will see this as a high-level of commitment and trustworthiness to invest in your time.
Build a brand portfolio
- Create a mission statement. Why is it that you do what you do, for what audience, and towards what benefit.
- It's common for hiring management to check social media handles, blogs, LinkedIn profiles in addition to checking references and reading mindfully-crafted cover letters. Be authentic in your prose and never copy another user in a similar industry just to gain credibility and professionalism.
- Collaborate! What a wonderful avenue to share the artistic merits of other producers, designers, creators and thinkers, while sharing your own vision as well.
Setting up an example of how you wish to be portrayed and treated in the industry, allows others to direct their resources and energy towards you. This may skip the more formal steps of having to provide an elevator pitch, perform an audition, or submit a written request letter. Constantly reflect on your current opportunities and if they are the stepping stones leading up to your favoured end goals.
By narrowing down the opportunities that align with your mission statement and allow you to authentically thrive, you will gain more energy to give back to yourself and the sources that fuel you with more work. At the end of the day, anyone will tell you, networking is all about building relationships. If you spend energy building the wrong types of relationships, your end-products will have the weakest foundation.
The less energy you spend dwelling on situations that could have happened, or should have happened, start creating and embellishing the situations that you see unfolding. Start having conversations, start having empowering brainstorming sessions, start journalling, get it all done clearly so you don't have to waste time cold-calling and figuring out if you fit into another rigid cookie-cutter mould.