BLOG, Networking / January 24, 2017

Follow Your Own Yellow Brick Road

By Janine Garner

In the classic movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, a quiet country girl, and her best friend Toto the dog are transported by a tornado from their home in Kansas to the Land of Oz. Their dream, their goal in the story, is simply to return home, so they ‘follow the yellow brick road’ to the Emerald City to find the wizard who can make any wish come true.

Along the way they meet the Scarecrow, who believes everything would be perfect ‘if only he had a brain’, the Tin Man, who wants a heart, and the Cowardly Lion, who thinks life would be sorted if he only had courage.

When our band of adventurers finally arrives at the Emerald City after fighting off the Wicked Witch of the West, they are grateful to be granted a meeting with the wizard. Until, that is, they discover that he is in no way magical, but merely a wise old man. Still, the fake wizard delivers on his promise, if not in the way they had expected: he gives the Scarecrow a diploma, the Tin Man a heart-shaped ticking clock, the Lion a medal for courage, and Dorothy a chance to fly home in his hot-air balloon.

So what’s the point of sharing this story?

As we make our way along our personal yellow brick road, our own journey, we can make plans and set goals but too often we make excuses for what we lack. ‘If only’ becomes the catch-cry that holds us back from our dreams when in fact we already have the answers for what we seek within us. It’s simply a matter of choosing to accept who we are — our strengths and our weaknesses, our good and bad bits.

In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield describes the “if only” as resistance. He shares that “Resistance cannot be seen, touch, heard or smelled. But it can be felt”. He adds, “It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us for doing our work.” Resistance’s aim is to feed our ‘if only’s’, stopping us dead in our tracks and leaving us standing still on our own yellow brick road.

When it comes to effective networking and connecting with people in the right way, developing clarity on who you are, what you’re looking for in terms of help and support and at the same time understanding what you can provide in return is essential to moving forward with momentum. To connect with the right people and build a network that works, you need to:

  • establish your own goals and dreams so you can make the right decisions and meet the right people to take you there
  • understand your values so you can consistently walk your talk
  • identify your strengths so you can share them
  • own your weaknesses so you can seek help on them
  • be yourself so you are authentic and true.

You need to own your vision of you and what it is you want to achieve in your career and life.

Author Marianne Williamson put it beautifully when she said, Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure… Your playing small does not serve the world...and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.’

Say yes to goals that ensure forward momentum, and say yes to owning who you are and who you want to be.

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