Breaking Down to Network Can Bring You Joy

Heathman PhotoIntro from Alana:

I must open today’s post with a heartfelt and emotional THANK YOU to the men and women who have served and/or continue to serve our great nation.  I am grateful beyond measure for your selfless bravery and strength.  Wishing all Americans a meaningful Veteran’s Day.

With that, one of the coolest people I know is Colonel Drew Meyerowich; you’ll remember him from his November 2014 guest post, “Seeing Relationships Through a Veteran’s Eyes.”  In addition to being an important friend, Drew is an amazing connector.  He has introduced me – and many others – to some of the most impressive, most intelligent, most courageous people I’ve ever had the privilege to know.  Such is the case with Colonel Scot Heathman, Vice Commander, 92nd Air Refueling Wing, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.

Col Heathman explains that the wing operates 35 KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft performing refueling, airlift and aeromedical evacuation missions supporting U.S. and coalition contingency operations and U.S. Strategic Command strategic deterrence missions. As installation vice commander, he is also responsible for activities and assigned functions of Fairchild Air Force Base and support for 19 associate units.

Prior to his command, Col Heathman served as Division Chief, Senior Leader Management at Headquarters Air Mobility Command (AMC). In this key role, he served as personal advisor to the Commander of AMC, 18th Air Force and Expeditionary Center on all senior leader matters. Col Heathman also commanded the 64th Air Refueling Squadron—a KC-135 Active Associate unit located at Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth, NH.

A native of Rochester, MN, Col Heathman received his commission in 1997 through the ROTC from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. He’s served in several key operational and staff positions at the Squadron, Group, Wing, Major Command and Joint Staff levels. His combat tours include Operations NORTHERN WATCH, SOUTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM.

Thank you for your service, Col Heathman and welcome to CLC!

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Breakdown” by Jack Johnson.  Guest Post by Colonel J. Scot Heathman.

You may be asking, “Why is this guy promoting ‘breaking down’ as a prerequisite for successful networking?” Look no further to Jack Johnson’s chill, island hit “Breakdown” for some answers.

Whenever I hear this tune I reflect on the speed and sometimes mindless pace of life. Occasionally, I hit that rut in my work when my creativity struggles and my motivation dips, yet I continue to trudge along without seeking the wisdom of an outsider. Jack describes his struggle in the opening by singing,

“I hope this old train breaks down; Then I could take a walk around; And, see what there is to see; Time is just a melody….And though my window’s got a view; Well the frame I’m looking through; Seems to have no concern for now.”

What he’s saying is his current view from the train [his moment in time] is not fulfilling his needs. He wishes he could stroll through town seeking inspiration from others. I believe he’s talking about the power of networking and what it brings to our daily lives.

I sometimes find myself feeling like Jack, just sitting on a train while aimlessly staring out the window…watching life pass on by. But the real travesty is our inability at times to hit the brakes. Instead, we hope for a ‘breakdown’ but don’t act on that feeling.

Networking is about taking action, about doing, about slowing the train down enough to step onto the platform and journey into town. The answers are not on the train. They are sometimes with the strangers who live and work amongst us. Additionally, he provides us a word of caution,

“But you can’t stop nothing; If you got no control; Of the thoughts in your mind; That you kept and you know.”

If we lack the self-awareness to recognize we can do something, we’re doomed to be passengers on a purposeless train. We’ll miss key networking opportunities and potential gifts that others may bring to our lives and careers.

When I find myself steaming along and recognize the signals that my train is running monotonously, I search for people with similar interests either online, at community events or through mutual acquaintances. Then I engage them by calling, walking up to, or emailing them with genuine admiration for their field of expertise. I also express my desire to see what makes them tick. Nine times out of ten, my initial engagement is followed-up with an offer for a dialogue. From there I let it roll where it needs to go. This small yet deliberate action brings more joy to my professional life than I could ever ask for. More importantly, the professional relationships I’ve developed through this ‘breakdown’ are simply priceless.

“The wisdom’s in the trees; Not the glass windows; You can’t stop wishing; If you don’t let go” Jack is urging us to take action, to get off the tracks and explore what others have to offer.”

Find time to ‘breakdown’ and appreciate the joy of networking.

One thought on “Breaking Down to Network Can Bring You Joy

  1. Scot;

    Great Posting and thrilled that you and Alana have found the connection mutually beneficial…This is the purpose of networking!

    Love your comment about “Life’s Pace” and I especially like the fact that Networking allows you to slow that pace, even for a moment, to share and reflect with others. The train will continue to move, but taking time to enjoy the journey through networking is incredibly rewarding.

    Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

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