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Networking and the Power it Brings

I’ve been a member of a business networking group for a year now. It’s been a roller-coaster journey. (I love roller-coasters by the way.) So, what happened to get me there? And what benefits have there been?

A little over a year ago, I think it was March 2019, I did three things in quick succession:

  • enrolled in a small business course at our local CIT with an amazing business coach, David Campbell
  • registered my business, Just Right Words
  • joined Network One business networking group.

Each one of those was a gazillion miles out of my comfort zone.

Each one was life-changing.

I am a completely different person today, to the petrified, lacking in confidence person suffering terribly from ‘imposter syndrome’ you would have met this time last year.

I owe a large proportion of this new-found confidence to David and to my network group. Some of it, I also owe to the ‘give it all or nothing’ attitude I developed in 2017 (otherwise known as the year I kicked breast cancer in the guts).

What ‘power’ did a business coach bring me?

Basically, a business coach is not there to tell you what to do, but to make you think. They give you the keys to open your mind to other possibilities and come up with your own solutions. They also make really good sounding boards.

Doing David’s course meant I had a business coach on tap for 6 weeks. Each week there was new information to absorb, new challenges to meet and hard questions to answer.

In David’s case, he also knew exactly how to push my buttons. I don’t know how he did it, but he pegged me early on as someone who doesn’t like to be told she can’t or won’t do something.

I think it was during the fourth week when he looked me straight in the eye and said,

“You’re not going to do this.”  

And there it was.

Like a red rag to a bull.

I bit…and I bit hard. And from that moment on, I kicked everything into gear…because, damn it, I was going to prove him wrong. For the record, he knew exactly what he was doing. I saw that smug smile on his face.

The value I got from David’s expertise over those six weeks was immeasurable.

One of the many great ‘gifts’ he gave, was the introduction to business networking with Network One.

What ‘power’ did networking bring me?

I very nearly didn’t show up to my first network meeting. Remember, I’d barely started in my business, so who was I going along to a networking meeting with a whole heap of other business owners? What could I possibly have to offer?

Turns out—it’s not like that at all.

What we have in our networking group is a cluster of friendly, sharing, supportive and like-minded people who love a chat, and a joke, but who also want to make connections and help each other out.

Over the last year, being a member of Network One and attending those breakfasts at the Hyatt every Friday morning, I’ve seen and felt my confidence grow. It’s because of this group, and the people in it, that I can now put myself out there and network in other settings.

I can spruik what I do.

I put my hand up for jobs.

I’ve added new arms to my business.

Most importantly, I no longer feel like an imposter, or like I’m overselling myself, or that someone else could do a better job. (Well, sometimes I do, but I’m learning to ‘shush’ that voice.)

For that, I’m grateful.

Networking and COVID-19

My Friday group in Network One are a special group of people—as are the other groups. There are lots of laughs. At the moment, via Zoom, there is also lots of support and opportunity for people to simply voice what they are going through with COVID-19.

That’s the whole point with networking though.

We are there for each other in the good times and the bad.

We are there to offer advice, suggestions and support.

Above all, we are there to just listen—to allow our colleagues, our friends, to say what they’re feeling, and feel that their experiences are validated.

Networking is super-important not just to grow your business—but more so, to grow your confidence. That’s what it’s done for me.

And, if just turning up each week on Zoom to show my support for my business friends, and to listen to them, is what it takes to help out—then I’m there for that.

It’s time to pay back in kind.

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