For whatever reason I woke up in the middle of the night and entertained myself by watching the stars outside our bedroom window, reviewing my day by reliving the networking lunch I attended. I somehow composed in my head a much funnier blog post about networking than what I’m typing here. But how nice that I was cracking myself up last night. Funny or not, I had an epiphany about networking, or better yet…let’s call it…reaching out and connecting with others.
Creating my own vision and ideas requires that I also create the follow-up to those ideas. That means it’s time to leave my awesome sunny house, pull myself away from watching the bird feeder activity, shake some hands and parlay connections to speaking opportunities. Opportunities won’t drop into my life and bite me on my cute…well, you get the idea. I have to take some action in order for the results to meet me where I am.
Therefore, yesterday I attended the second networking event in two weeks and I haven’t done that since the days I worked in the Corporate world. Thankfully, I’m no longer mingling and talking about how I grow a company’s ROI through my strategic marketing plans. Now I’m talking about our humanity, something 30 years ago I never would have guessed I’d be talking about. Something that’s not the least bit mainstream and boy did I ever feel like I stuck out at this luncheon. After my initial Sesame Street song moment…which of these things don’t belong?, when I took a breath and chilled, I realized I’m actually really great with sticking out because I can’t make much of a contribution if I water down the thought provoking ideas I’m sharing.
As I listened to the realtors, the beauty product and healthy food supplement sellers, those in fashion, IT, photography, floral arranging, marketing, travel, fitness, various support services, I realized we’re not so different after all. Just like me, it seemed like every person that attended that luncheon desires a meaningful life. They either genuinely already feel good about what their work is or want to. Purposeful work is a heartfelt desire but often isn’t pursued for a gazillion reasons. When I was ready to move into what I’m doing now I had to let go of don’t attract attention to you. And here I am, an introvert networking to find public speaking opportunities where I’ll be seen and heard. Introverted or extroverted, as we create connections we all show our vulnerabilities as we allow each other to see where we are in our personal process. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person feeling awkward.
Ok, so in the past, networking has been nowhere near as fun as a walk in the woods, music, painting, taking photographs, or going to the dentist. But my new intention is to have fun with it because it’s about connecting with others and isn’t that what my work is all about? And I can use networking to practice telling what I do in a New York minute (fat chance), assist someone with one of my contacts, parlay it into a newfound acquaintance, or let it lead to a sweet speaking opportunity. I’m good now at allowing for and enjoying what’s within to assist me. Now it’s time to get out of my own way and gratefully let it also assist, through people.