Nine Types of People You Need in Your Inner Circle

Today’s aspiring career professionals, especially women, are continually being told to expand their network, grow their brand, and capitalize on every opportunity thrown their way. However, this career guidance can be quite intimidating, and with the shift of the ongoing pandemic, it is becoming increasingly difficult to execute these commands. So, in what ways can the workforce of today stay intentional in nurturing their professional and personal relationships while creating an avenue for future opportunities?

In a recent article for Forbes WomenEllevate’s Natalie Eicher reveals her team’s research on who should be a part of your “Success Circle” and why. Join us as we uncover and support her findings with critical insights of our own:

1. The Co-Striver

“Someone who is working to achieve something similar to you.”

While everyone approaches life and business in their way, this person has a strong resemblance to the accolades you set out to achieve. There is mutual respect between you two because of your shared values. Going through similar experiences allows you to relate on a deeper level through the highs and lows of your shared industry or job title or through personal matters such as buying a home, planning a wedding, or having your first child. 

2. The Super Connector

“They know everyone and everyone knows them. They can introduce you to the right people.”

This individual knows several people or prominent groups that would tie into your career aspirations and make your network elite. They are likely someone you have a long-standing relationship with and who you know reciprocates a feeling of high regard. While you must be wary of overstepping your grounds, this person can be essential for making introductions and opening up future opportunities.

3. The Champion

“Your cheerleader and someone who believes in you.”

This person is your biggest supporter. Someone who has always believed in you and who you can rely on to give the extra motivation you need. You conjure energy from your conversations with them. They help you imagine beyond your own beliefs and bring new possibilities to what you see as achievable. 

4. The Re-Energizer

“A person you can call when you need a boost of energy and inspiration.”

This person is your number one motivator and voice of inspiration when you are feeling down. They are constantly pushing you to write out and meet new goals. They see a higher purpose within you and take an enthusiastic approach to fill you with energy. 

5. The Mentor

“A person more experienced with wisdom to share and desire to help you succeed.” 

In terms of where you hope to be or what you hope to achieve, this person has seen it all. From what to expect and what to avoid, they are willing to share it all with you. Whether through a phone call or face-to-face meeting, your mentor is there to offer constructive criticism, industry knowledge, words of encouragement, and a fresh perspective to help see you grow. 

Are you looking to nail down your career mentor and construct a meaningful relationship in the process? Check out these tips.

6. The Sponsor

“A leader who will take charge to advocate for you and your career advancement opportunities.”

Mentors are a great asset in problem-solving and garnering wisdom. Still, a sponsor can play a more immediate role in carrying out your success. The role of a sponsor is played by an influential leader with the capabilities of not only advocating for you but prying doors open in the process. Specifically, having the support of a proven leader can play a tremendous role in taking on more responsibility and advancing your career, especially for women in business. In many instances, they’ll have your back, even when you are not in the room.

7. The Community

“Anywhere you feel a sense of belonging and a safe space to be yourself.”

Your community serves as your comfort zone where you can let your guard down. Whether at home, the gym, or any location where you are with friends and family, there is little that beats the support of your community. Through any turmoil life throws at you, they are ready to support you in times of need and cheer you on when you succeed. 

8. The Accountability Partner

“The person holding you responsible; your tough love.”

Your accountability partner is a tactical method to see rapid growth and unaltering motivation. The relationship is a committed agreement between two people to help achieve your goals and meet regularly to check on the progress of said goals. Based on trust and shared ambition, it is a great tool to promote your development and establish a unique friendship. Consider these essential tips to choosing your accountability partner and optimizing the relationship.

9. The Diverse Perspective

“The person(s) who are really great at what they do, but they don’t look like you, share your background, education, or the same network.”

These people open your eyes to new lines of thinking, push back on your prejudices, and expand upon your network. You may not always like what you hear, but you will receive the honest (and sometimes blunt) answers you need to hear. 

Wrap Up

Once you have your circle defined, it’s time to get intentional in feeding off their support to accelerate your career. Think situationally as to who is the right person to call and when. Suppose you are having thoughts of pursuing a new position or industry. In that case, you may benefit from reaching out to your mentor for wisdom and discernment. If your opinions coincide, then it may be time to reach out to your Super Connector, Champion, and Sponsor. 

One individual CAN play multiple roles in your inner circle. Still, it is imperative to differentiate between the roles in conversation. No matter which of your nine ‘team members’ you are conversing with, make yourself aware of which of these nine roles you may be playing in their life as well. Relationships are a two-way street, so you must take the time to learn about their hopes and dreams and how you can best support them.

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