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The Importance of Finding Your Squad 

Searching for Your Squad 

A squad can help you re-ignite your passion, fuel your ambitions, and refine your career and life. They can help you define your goals, be your support system, and help you navigate the complexities of work and life. However, it’s not always easy to find the right group, and it requires both investment and intention. 

When I began my own assessment of where I was spending my time, I realized I was looking for more than just surface-level networking and business card exchanges. Networking groups are a great way to start building purposeful relationships with individuals with similar challenges, opportunities, and drive. Connecting beyond traditional events also helps nurture meaningful conversations and deepen relationships. The small group I joined helped me build my own powerful board of directors who helped me navigate the pandemic and other challenges with strength and gratitude. The relationships I fostered over the last five years didn’t happen overnight, and I attribute the success to the following factors. 

Honor Your Commitment 

A big part of networking is showing up. Early on, we planned a time and location for the group to meet monthly. Scheduling conflicts will always happen when trying to align calendars, but planning ahead provides the best chance for busy people to coordinate with partners and workplaces or arrange childcare. It can be tempting to move the meeting when someone can’t attend, but that can often lead to additional conflicts and make it harder to ensure commitment over time. Be understanding of seasons that may impact attendance and check in with those who are navigating chaotic work and life circumstances. 

Getting there is half the battle, but being present will help you reap the rewards of multi-faceted relationships. Setting a framework has helped provide a structure for our time together. A facilitator schedules our meetings and shares the agenda, but we all take responsibility to ensure the meetings happen and the group stays engaged.  

Go Deeper 

We also committed to fostering an environment of vulnerability. Starting meetings with a meditation or inspiring article gets us in a reflective mindset and sets the intention for our discussion. We assign a moderator to ensure we stay on task and everyone can contribute their personal reflections and thoughts on the selected topic. Each person communicates whether they are looking for feedback or just want the space to share what is on their mind. This has helped us practice listening without trying to solve, and asking for feedback in this safe place has led to growth for us all. Knowing the time you carve out will be time well spent has been an impactful part of this group’s success. 

It’s pretty amazing that these individuals find the time between family obligations, demanding jobs, and philanthropic commitments. The vulnerability we have fostered has led us to a place where we can ask for help or be honest when we don’t know what step to take next. We all experience seasons where it is hard to get ahead, and having a tribe in your corner is an essential part of pushing through.  

Additional Tools / Best Practices  

Committing to the meeting, being present and transparent are critical for meaningful interactions, but there are a myriad of other tools that can make finding and maintaining your squad easier.  

  • Start a group text for quick communication outside meetings. 
  • Embrace inevitable changes (jobs, commitment level, personal obligations, new members, etc.) 
  • Use tools like Doodle to simplify scheduling. 
  • Leverage happy hours and book discussion guides to foster openness. 
  • Deviate from the plan when circumstances warrant it. 
  • Have fun. Humor is a great way to build relationships. 
  • If the group isn’t jiving, be honest with yourself and try again. 

Personal Impacts  

Diverse perspectives from a network in varying industries and organizations have provided valuable insights, encouragement, thoughtful feedback, empathy, and laughter. Maintaining an intentional group of committed individuals can help triage challenges in a way that might be challenging for others in your life. Consider if having a sounding board to help break things down or build you up could be the solution to catapult you forward or lead to additional fulfillment where you are now!