There are things that I put off doing; and just like everyone else, these are the things I imagine I don’t like doing. Networking is one of them. This is what happened towards the end of last year – I was simply so busy that I didn’t have time to do anything more than prepare for the next coaching meeting or facilitation, and then go and deliver. So I stopped thinking about making any new contacts and looking for new opportunities. I imagined that what I’d need to do would be to ring up lots of people I didn’t know and ask them to meet me, and so of course, as someone with a preference for introversion (see the previous blog entry), I didn’t do it. That task had three things I dislike in it – phone, unknown people, and asking.
So – come the new year, and I realise that I need to get back to this. But by then, the thought that networking was something that involved three of my ‘dislikes’ was firmly embedded in my head, so I put it off until I really felt I had to do something.
And here’s the surprise – I really like networking. I still don’t like ringing up lots of new people and asking them to meet me. But for me, networking is not that – it’s contacting a few people I already know and asking them to put me in touch with one or two people I don’t know, who I might have something in common with. That’s great – I get to meet people who want to meet me, I do it through making contact with people I already know and like, and it’s bite-sized. The fact that I enjoy it makes me much more relaxed about meeting new people in general, and so I’ve started to network better at larger meetings as well – because the pressure’s off.
Moral: if there are things you avoid doing, find ways of doing them that make them more approachable and friendly to you. Don’t try and do them the way that seems natural to others. Take the pressure off. Do them your way.