Now, let’s look at that third category of time well spent: enduring relationships.
Whether you know it or not, work relationships offer the biggest source of support for your career, because no matter what field you’re in, the smartest and most successful people all got there with advice from others.
The best relationships you can form all fall into one of four levels:
The first level is your basic contacts, which covers everyone who’s ever entered your life.
These are unfiltered connections that include all your social network platforms, including e-mail, LinkedIn and Facebook contacts, as well as Twitter and Instagram followers.
These might not be the strongest connections, but they’re useful for sharing a message, such as the launch of a new product, with as many people as possible.
However, if you want one of these contacts to take action on your behalf, you’ll have to raise them to one of the following levels.
The second level contains the experts, who are people that carry specific knowledge and have access to certain information that could one day be the solution to a major problem. It’s important to maintain a good relationship here, which you can do by readily offering them your own expertise.
At the third level are the critical colleagues, which include your boss and other people who have the most impact on your career success. They might be the deciding factor in promotions and pay raises, and are largely responsible for your general happiness at work.
Finally, the fourth level contains the champions, such as your mentors and the small number of people who are there to offer support and advice. These might include a former professor or colleague who can provide a good reference for you. Naturally, these are people who should receive regular appreciation and goodwill.
Now that you have them in order, it’s good to regularly check in and identify your key contacts. And it’s always good to spend the most time with those who make you feel intelligent, stronger and more able to conquer your career goals.