Do you hate networking? Do you cringe at the thought of having to answer the question, “what you do”?
Do you feel like you will start networking when…
you need a job?
you have more time?
your kids are older?
you feel more confident?
your boss sends you to another conference?
Well, the good news is you don’t have to wait for any of those things to happen. You can (and should) start networking right now!!! And with my little secret in your back pocket, you may actually find yourself enjoying the process.
If you have been following me for awhile, you know that I used to be an actress. And when I first moved to New York in (yikes!) 2002, I decided that instead of waiting for casting directors to call on me, I would take my career into my own hands. So I started producing my own shows.
One of the first shows I ever created was called Stacy & Who?. The premise of the show was that I would be performing with a “different guy every night”. Oooooh scandalous. It ran for about 6 months in the back of an old porn theatre in Times Square (yes that’s a story for another email).
So why am I telling you this story? It’s because I CREATED THAT SHOW TO MEET MORE PEOPLE!!!
I was a pretty seasoned improviser when I moved to New York. But I didn’t really know anyone. So I had this idea that whenever I met someone I really admired, I would ask them to be in my show. And I don’t think anyone ever turned down my offer.
Well, a magical thing happened in the process. I started to become a better performer.
I mentioned that these performers were all people I really admired, right? I invited people from Saturday Night Live, Upright Citizens Brigade, anyone that I admired to be on my show.
These were powerful people. But when we got on stage, we were equals. They elevated me and I rose to the challenge.
So how does this apply to networking for your career?
Here is what I learned:
NETWORKING IS NOT ABOUT…
getting a job.
building your rolodex for when you need a job.
adding more people to your LinkedIn profile.
NETWORKING IS ABOUT…
boosting your own self confidence.
practicing your elevator pitch so when you do wind up in the elevator with your CEO, you know what to say.
knowing and believing 150% where you are headed in your career.
I invite you to think about this for a minute. When you think of getting active and networking, how do you feel when you say these words to yourself, “I am here to practice. I am here to connect. I am here to meet as many people as possible and just practice sharing the impact I want to make in the world.”
How does that feel? Try it out.
You will likely feel more confident. You will begin to craft language around what you want from your career. And you will look forward to meeting more people so you can spread the message about your desire to make a bigger impact on your company.
How does that feel?
It feels to me like taking action and ACTION CREATES CONFIDENCE!
So if you are still telling yourself that you hate networking, I encourage you to give this a try. And let me know how it goes.