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How To Create A Career Inner Circle: The Power Behind Finding Your People And Supporting Each Other

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Everyone craves meaningful, solid relationships in life. They keep us grounded, support us through difficult times, and cheer us on in our successes.

These relationships can also be very beneficial in work and business.

For women specifically, it can feel difficult to ask for help or support in the workplace, for fear of being judged as incapable. We are more likely to try to do everything on our own.

But like in life, relationships are a powerful tool for getting us through the highs and lows of our careers. We need people–mentors, allies, advocates–and they need us.

Why An Inner Circle Is Important

Have you ever been in a meeting where you brought up an idea and it was dismissed almost immediately? Then later, someone else says the same thing, only in different words, and suddenly it’s great? If you have, you know how annoying and degrading it can feel.

This is a small example of how having allies and support in meetings can help you in these situations. If you have one or two people in that meeting to be supportive of you, others will be forced to recognize your contribution.

In our culture, it’s not uncommon to have women working against one another in the workplace. We need to shift our mindset to one of collaboration as opposed to competition. We don’t have to do it all on our own!

How To Create Your Circle

You don’t have to go through your career alone. This isn’t the dog-eats-dog world it was in the 80s! People find support when they need it all the time, whether you see it or not.

By forging your own circle, you’ll be better equipped to manage the hurdles your career will undoubtedly throw you.


First, create a list of at least ten people you would want in your circle.

This list should include both peers and mentors, all of whom you admire and want to be close to. 

These should be people you want to build meaningful relationships with and that you believe will be supportive of you in your career and vice versa.


Don’t wait until you need something to begin building a relationship. This will make it seem transactional and meaningless.

Be generous with your time, support, and advocacy. Be there when they need it, regardless of what’s in it for you.

There is sometimes the fear of being taken advantage of, but without vulnerability, relationships cannot thrive.

Be generous with your effort in building the relationship and watch as it begins to flourish.


Just like relationships in life, work relationships need to be nourished.

Connect regularly, at least monthly, with a call, email, thank you note–anything to remind the person you are thinking of them and to keep you fresh in their mind.

When you do connect, don’t ask for things! This isn’t the time for transactions–this is just about keeping up with them.

This part takes a lot of mental effort to remember! Maintaining relationships doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so if you need to, set calendar reminders.

Growing With Your Circle

As you continue to grow, think about the ways you could be more supportive of those around you. In doing so, you will begin to see new relationships form and connect with current relationships in a new way.

When you do the work to establish, maintain, and grow your circle, you’ll feel the power of having a group of people you can count on.

To find more ways to grow your circle and cultivate it in the workplace, listen to my full podcast episode here!

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