Network through “Sweatworking”

Posted February 14, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

New buzzwords constantly appear in business. Synergy, high-performance, blah, blah, blah. It’s easy to hear these words and roll our eyes. Just another buzz word in business. But recently I heard what might be considered a new buzz word, and I simply had to share. A friend of mine from my Minnesota nonprofit days recently did an interview with My Optum Health coining the term “sweatworking.” Julie Gilbert is the CEO and Founder of Wolf Means Business, a phenomenal organization that has pioneered women’s influence within corporations since her time at Best Buy where she founded the first WOLF (Women’s Leadership Forum) group in the country. She is an icon for women in business, and a pioneer in more ways than one. But for anyone who knows Julie, they know she is also as fit as they come. With gym memberships across the country, Julie always makes her health a priority.

In her interview with My Optum Health, Julie talks openly about her strategy of “sweatworking.” Julie advocates building stronger relationships with business contacts by inviting them to work out with you. Instead of meeting for coffee, meet over a yoga or spin class, or spend an hour on the elliptical together, talking through your business concepts.

I have to say, Julie is 100% right. Relationships form when you sweat together and here’s why:

  • Instant vulnerability. We could spend years developing strong relationships with those in our networking circles, presenting our best selves. It can take an incredible amount of time before we cross into a truly strong personal and professional relationship that allows candid conversation. Sweating together, whether you believe it or not, makes you instantly vulnerable. You’re no longer hiding behind your heels and business suit. The person you’re working out with just sees a person, a friend, a connection.
  • Push the limits, show your salt. Be willing to sweat, and work hard next to someone. It shows your character – who you are, what you’re willing to do, ambition, goal setting, etc. Think about working out even with your mentors. Show them your perseverance and it will spill over into your professional world.

So the next time you’re setting that coffee meeting or happy hour with a new contact or colleague, think about bringing them on a guest pass to your gym, or setting up a time to meet on the yoga mat or spin mat. You might see that sweatworking really takes your networking to the next level.

And!…in 2013, you can “sweatwork” with Career Girl Network in five cities across the nation. In February, we’re launching events in Minneapolis and Chicago! Click here to sign up now to get your “Sweatworking” on with CGN!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."