Now I Network

Network

Last night I pushed myself from my comfort zone into something I had never done before. I attended my first networking event. I was surprised by how nervous I was about it. I remember as a child assuming that all adults were cool, calm and collected. As a parent I feel I have to be, that I need to have it together at all times. I had seen lots of these events pop up on Facebook and would make a note of the date and time but then as it neared found a reason not to go. Usually the reason was simply that I would prefer to stay home. But in truth I felt like I wasn’t ready. I felt my business had to reach a certain level before I could attend. 

But this year I am pushing my boundaries like I never have before. I bought a ticket. Paying for a ticket should motivate me, but of course when you have a child you start to get used to paying money for nothing. Like perfectly good food that gets thrown on the floor without a bite and subsequently thrown in the bin. Or a toy that your child is determined to break as part of his discovery of how it works. Broken beyond the repair ability of either parent, that gets thrown in the bin. And the clothes that end up with paint stains all over them, even though the paints clearly state “washable” on them. Maybe they mean skin washable and not cotton washable. Of course I don’t throw those clothes out. They get kept for staying at home days. But they don’t make for very good Instagram photos so they actually end up pushed to the back of the drawer and thrown out when I go purge all the clothes that no longer fit after yet another growth spurt. 

The day before the event an email was sent confirming details and reminding everyone to bring business cards. I don’t have those just yet, I am still ‘consulting’ with the designer about the multitude shades of teal available and reviewing which micro-shade I like best. I could have backed out then. I could have said, can’t do it, don’t have cards.  But I did have a pdf of the latest design which was very close to what I wanted. So I could send that to anyone who asked for one. Another excuse gone. 

My friend messaged me, telling me she was going (woohoo she came through) and did I want to go in with her? Yes please. How much easier that makes it. It probably shaved the nerves off a little and I am so grateful to her for reaching out. We met in the carpark and walked in together. Frankly I have no idea what I was worried about. Everyone was so lovely and friendly and welcoming. There were drinks so nothing like some bubbles to ease the remaining nerves. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I realised I need to work on my networking skills. Of course the point is to meet like minded women and promote yourself and what you do. Yet as a life coach I listen to people and ask them what they do. That is how I am trained. I am curious and like to listen and some of these women seemed to be doing some fascinating stuff that I kept asking them questions on it. But it’s a learning experience. I’ve done it now. I know how it goes and now that there is a sense of familiar, I can go again with much more confidence and be more prepared to talk about what I do. I will see some familiar faces, and thank goodness there are name badges so I can smile and use someone’s name. And I have just told the designer I am happy with the last draft she sent me so off to the printers now and next time I will business cards, plus my elevator pitch. Fear conquered one, comfort zone zero.

Sunday Meditation – Love

Love. That person or people who you want to sit with at the end of the day. They know our pain but also those deep secret dreams and passions. They understand us, laugh when we are funny and shake their heads when we fail the joke. With one look, one meeting of our eyes, they have the power to settle the nerves and swell our heart to bursting. They see our best and our worst and they love us at those extremes and everything in between. When something wonderful happens they find out first and in our moments of sorrow they are the ones who can provide the comfort to see us through. We cannot imagine living in this world without them, how boring and dull life would then be. Let’s make a point to be grateful and say thank you for the difference they make.

Sunday Meditation – Meaningful

Meaningful. Identify what matters most in our lives. Stress often comes when we knowingly give our time and energy away to what is not important to us at the expense of what is. We need to give the best of our energy to what is meaningful in our lives and anything outside of that is given what is left, slotted into the gaps. We cannot do everything, be everywhere or give to everyone which is why there is so much value in gaining clarity on what matters most to us and keeping those at the forefront of our minds. The meaningful is a two way relationship, where we gain and benefit in the receiving yet also the giving. This is true for people, places, passions and processes. When all the fluff is taken away all that is left is what matters most to us. And that will be a reflection of the energy that we invested into them.

Sunday Meditation – The Bottom

The bottom. Life is not lived in a straight line, it has peaks and troughs. We only want the good but that is not how it works. The down periods are not pleasant, still they are necessary for our growth and for reaching our dreams. We have to go down in order to move back up again, and to move up further. Yet when we sense we are heading down we stop and try scrambling to go back to where we have been. This will only delay the inevitable. Go forward. Step into the ugliness of it. Once we get there we can only go up. Yes there will be battle scars of what we have endured. But now we no longer fear things becoming worse as we propel ourselves forward on the excitement of what lies ahead. The worst is over and we are wiser and more accomplished because of it, now the good times begin again.