The nature of our relationships is dependent on how we present ourselves. And how we present ourselves is dependent on how we see ourselves and the world around us. Life is a journey! As we travel along our path, do we let our lives teach us who we are or do we determine our direction along the way? When one is in transition, whether it is a job loss or a position change we were not ready for, how do we react? Do we recognize our own loss or change? Are we reactive with strong emotions and possible denial? Or are we proactive, reflecting on what we can do next? What story are we sharing with others? How are we telling our story? Are we the victim or the creator of a new beginning? Are we in the right frame of mind to be networking?

Let's begin with one's story. When transitions occur, we need to ask ourselves - how does this fit with our life's plan. How does it feel? What possibilities can come from this change? When we take the time to reflect, we are able to reframe our thoughts and prepare our stories. Sometimes the distinction between what really happened and how the story is told differs. This may be an attempt to capture the listener's attention, to cause others to laugh, or the result of our perception that we have come to believe is true. We need to ensure our stories are based on positive beliefs to network effectively.

Networking is a year round activity. We are always networking - formally or informally. Our stories provide a window into who we are and who we want to be. These windows are visible to both ourselves and those we engage - consider one's reputation, how we present and how we profile ourselves in conversations and online. Our social identity or reputation is based on perception - social interactions that happen in person, on social networking sites and by others who talk about us when we are not there. This identity determines how others interact with us.

When we listen to a friend, colleague or neighbor, we can hear their energy if we truly listen. Some present with a sense of doom, frustration or apathy. Others communicate with enthusiasm, optimism and personal commitment. Think of the law of attraction - what one gives is what one receives. The impact of our thoughts, both conscious and unconscious, has an impact on our reality. If you really want something and truly believe it's possible, you'll get it. Keep in mind that this can also work against us. By spending a lot of time and attention on something we don't want means we will probably get that too! Thinking about what we do not have, may manifest itself in not having it, while avoiding negative and focusing on positive thoughts is more likely to get us what we desire. We need to be careful about what we wish for. Figure out what to ask for before asking. Changing our thoughts can change our reality. Our thoughts have energy. This energy will determine the nature of our relationships and our achievements.

When we talk to other people, how many times do we hear, "I love my job"? Or do we hear more often, "this position is so draining"? If it is the second, then can we change our energy flow? How can we cope with our day? How can we reorient our thinking? How can we change the lens that we are seeing the world through? Is the glass half full or half empty? Do we see life through positive thinking or are we pessimistic and think what else can go wrong today? How many times have we had a day where things are not going the way we want them to - but at some point we choose to go with the flow and laugh it off as a new lesson - maybe to schedule less in our day or by chance we happened to meet someone along the way in our not so perfect day that opened our eyes to something new? What possibilities can come our way when we have a positive outlook? Life is full of opportunities - we just need to learn to recognize them. So we should plan our job search strategy but be flexible enough to let it flow when the opportunity presents and see the is full of surprises - enjoy them - treasure life's successes no matter how small or large they are.

So I leave you with words of wisdom from a fifth grader...

". . .i believe everyone should be themselves, because everyone is unique and different . . . i believe in following your dreams, and listening to your heart . . .i believe everyone should take a step back and look at the world every now and then . . . i believe richness isn't about money, it's about who you are inside . . . i believe all people are equal, and prejudice is just plain not knowing . . . i believe if someone doesn't like you, it's their loss . . . i believe family and friends are the best things on earth . . . and there should be no such thing as money . . . oh yeah, i do believe a stranger is a friend you haven't yet met . . . i believe in leaning on those nearest and dearest to you and…i believe life was meant to be enjoyed . . ."

This column provides guidance for your career success and offers practical and thought provoking strategies. I invite you to send me your comments and questions as I may weave them into future columns. All information will be kept confidential. Please note that not every tip/technique works for everyone. Your career strategy is based on what appeals to you and what works for you and the marketplace.