For those of you who don’t know me personally, you should know that I rank a solid 10 on the introvert scale. Impending social events will have me in anxious knots for days, even weeks, sometimes. I do enjoy making new friends, but the repetitive process of rounds of introductions coupled with shallow small talk stresses me out to the max. I even read this book in preparation for the Create & Cultivate conference (and would definitely recommend- even for extroverts!). Blogging can be pretty solitary, but when it comes to networking events, making connections & contacts face to face is vital. I made a point to reach out to meet some other attendees, so I’d at least see some familiar faces at the conference and would be more at ease. Taking that initial leap of faith to reach out to a handful of total strangers online is how I was able to meet Alexis, a fellow creative based in Nashville who has her own blog and podcast, “The Laptop Lifestyle”. We ended up really hitting it off- heading to dinner after our Happy Hour event on Friday evening, accompanying each other at all of our panels on Saturday, and before saying our goodbyes on Sunday, deciding to make the most of our time in the city and wake up early to stroll the empty city streets and take some photos. Surrounding yourself with others who understand you, whether on a personal or emotional level, or just in shared similar interests & aspirations is so empowering and I headed back home with a renewed sense of all of the possibilities that can appear and amazing people you can connect with when you get out of your own head and begin to test your comfort zone.
Here are a few simple tips to help YOU start stepping outside of your comfort zone;
- INITIATE A COFFEE DATE Maybe it’s with an old friend who you’d like to reconnect with, someone who you admire and look up to, or just someone who you feel needs a friend.
- ATTEND A CLASS I’ve taken three classes this year at various venues (an essential oils class sponsored by my local Parks & Recreation Department, a class about how to grow sprouts and micro-greens at my local Co-Op, and a talk on the benefits of the herb Turmeric at my local library) and they are a great way to meet new people who share similar interests in a learning and self-improving environment. Having a task at hand is a great tactic for introverts to feel more comfortable in social situations (I’m telling you, read the book!)
- WEIGH GOALS AGAINST ACTIONS Maybe you’re looking for a career change to a completely new industry that you know NO ONE in, so you need to network to get your name out there and meet potential employers and/or clients. Is landing your dream job worth a little time spent networking? The actions needed to achieve our goals often look much more accomplishable and less intimidating when we look at the bigger picture of what we’re working towards and writing them out (yes on pen & paper!) helps, too!
MICHAEL Michael Kors 4-Pocket Utility Anorak in Orange Spice (no longer available, similar options linked) Also worn here
H&M Off-the-Shoulder Top (a few sizes left, similar options linked) Also worn here