Get Wise About Your Network

Is your life in chaos? Even if it isn’t, you might want to map out your networks to help you understand where you can make it better or be prepared for any of the “wild cards” life tosses your way.

On today’s SkillBites Show, Glenna Crooks explained the value of understanding your networks. Glenna is the founder of SageMyLife, as well as several other companies, and is an author, international speaker and global consultant. Glenna started SageMyLife to address the needs of so many high performing senior executives feeling the stress of life. When she sat down with them to determine how they could deal with their challenges, it invariably came down to understanding their support systems and changing them if necessary. It wasn’t just about the responsibilities on their plate but also about who was helping get things done. Glenna set out to create a way for anyone to understand their networks so they could change their life for the better.

For example, when her attorney completed his network, he realized he’d spread himself too thin and was spending too much of his time on small clients who weren’t his main source of revenue. As a result, he referred those clients to another attorney and focused only on his biggest clients. Two months later he called to tell her he was earning more money, enjoying his work much more and has more free time for golf.

Most people find the exercise of completing their network map “liberating,” advised Glenna. Some realize they should be delegating some tasks to others; others realize they need to put limits on their relationships. One gal, for instance, found she was spending too many evenings attending her friends’ parties at which they sold jewelry, clothes and cosmetics. She liked her friends and their parties, but had other priorities. She told those friends she would be happy to attend but would have to limit the number to one each year.

When couples complete network maps together, it has enabled them to better coordinate their lives. One father whose wife died didn’t know the name of his children’s pediatrician, since his wife handled that. Had they done a network map before her death, he would have known. To deal with requests from their daughter’s school, one couple shifted the email contact from the wife’s address to the husband’s. The wife admitted she used to be up past midnight baking cookies for fundraisers and she was delighted that husband took over and had no problem turning down school requests. It made life easier for the family.

If you want to understand how to improve your life, Glenna suggested following these four steps:

  1. Determine who the important people are in your life in each of the following categories:
    1. Family
    2. Health/vitality
    3. Education/enrichment
    4. Spiritual
    5. Social
    6. Career
    7. Home/”personal business” (e.g., lawyer, accountant)
    8. People who are no longer in your life but are important to you (they’ve passed away or moved away)

    Think about whether anyone isn’t in your life who should be, and whether anyone in your life shouldn’t be, or shouldn’t take as much time as you are giving them.

  2. Think about who might need to know your intentions. For instance, if your son has a food allergy, you need to tell the adults responsible for his health and safety when you are not around, like his school, his teachers, and the parents of his friends.
  3. Tell people how they can support you.
  4. Monitor what is happening, particularly if anything is causing you to feel drained.

www.SageMyLife.com is officially launching soon, and you’ll be able to get more information about creating network maps there. You can also reach out to Glenna at glenna@sagemylife.com. If you want to create a network map for your children or pets, you can go to www.SageMyLifeKids.com or www.SageMyLifePets.com , respectively. Glenna is in the process of writing a book about network maps. If you want to receive notice when the book is published, let us know.

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