Okay, so, apparently there’s some big romantic holiday approaching? Sure, whatever, I’m too distracted to focus on that right now — because TODAY IS GALENTINE’S DAY!

What is Galentine’s Day, you ask? Only the best day of the entire year, as introduced to us by the one and only Leslie Knope of Parks & Rec.

Galentine’s Day is about celebrating lady friends! Friendships with your fellow women have long been shown to be particularly good for your overall well-being, but they’re especially beneficial to your career. The irony is that people like us laser-focused entrepreneurs often miss the benefits of strong female friendships when our social lives fall to the wayside in favor of professional development. It’s hard to justify going out for brunch when you’ve got a to-do list twelve miles long, right?

But the reality is we need those lady friendships. If you want your business to grow, if you want to succeed at work, if you want to finish that book, well then — sustained, healthy, female friendships are an absolute essential. We need women in our lives who can encourage us, build us up, hold us accountable, and remind us why we started. They keep us on track, and prevent us from burning out.

On the other hand, these things don’t just happen. In this day and age, finding and maintaining great friendships can feel like a second career. We can’t be friends with everybody, and we can’t say yes to everything — or we’ll find ourselves in burnout, anyway.

So where’s the balance? What do you want your Galentine’s crew to look like? While everyone has their own needs and differences, I want to humbly suggest three #SquadGoals for your consideration — three essential friendships that are a must for any working woman hoping to healthfully develop her career.

  1. Have Work Friends – This one might sound obvious, but for a lot of us it’s the most difficult type of friendship to find. Maybe you have a hard time connecting with the people in your office. Maybe you work from home. Maybe you don’t feel like you have time in your work day for ‘water cooler talk.’ Whatever the excuse, the truth is we need friends at work, and without them your career can suffer. I would argue that even friends who are just in our industry provide a huge benefit. These are the people who can really get where you’re coming from when you have work struggles, when you need to figure out the next step for that promotion, when you set specific career goals and need ladies in-the-know to hold you accountable. Find work friends, or even just one work bestie, and you’ll find yourself with a regularly revitalized sense of motivation.
  1. Have Non-Work Friends – Probably equally as important as work friends are the friends who have absolutely nothing to do with your job or industry. These are the women who will provide much-needed relief from work stress, who can turn your mind away from that project you’ve been obsessing over, and who can check in with a fresh perspective. If all you do is run your business all day, every day, you need someone in your life who doesn’t care about invoice numbers! Again, this doesn’t need to be a big group — everyone’s different, and if you’re the type (I can relate) who just needs one or two deep friends, that works just as well. Conversely, if you want a group dynamic, join a club! Whatever works for you. Just make sure you have some social escape from your job. It will strengthen your career in the long run.
  1. Have a Mentor – This might be the trickiest of the bunch. Research shows that having a mentor in your workplace or career can have significant, long-lasting effects on your trajectory, but how do you find someone who fits the bill? What does that relationship look like? Well, like any friendship, it can take many forms, but basically: A mentor is a person who is more experienced than you in your field and who takes a dedicated interest in your growth. Establishing a mentor relationship is as simple as asking. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend cold-calling; establish a casual friendship with a woman you admire, someone you believe you can learn from, and get to know her. If it seems like a good fit, then make the ask. It’s a real commitment to be a mentor, so don’t take it personally if she declines; after all, if she’s a working woman you admire, she probably has a lot on her plate. That being said, if you find yourself in a place that you could provide mentorship to one of your juniors, consider offering your time! Who out there could you build up with the experience you already have? How could you help them succeed?

Building new friendships as an adult can be daunting. As kids, this kind of thing was as easy as sharing the ball pit two days in a row. Now…well, it takes a little more effort. But when you develop amazing female friends, you get to reap the rewards in your career and, honestly, overall health. What’s more, you get to encourage and build up other women towards success, thus completing the cycle of the most wonderful day of the year.

Happy Galentine’s Day!

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