When you feel at ease it means that you have a strong connection with your network, but sometimes the more you feel comfortable, the more you stop pushing yourself to step outside of your comfort zone.

Have you ever been getting ready to go out to an event and suddenly you felt nervous? This is exactly what happened to me.

I’m not usually a nervous person and people generally describe me as confident and sometimes even a bit of an extrovert. I had previously met a couple of the people who were also attending the event at least once before and had a connection with them on social media, which meant we kind of already knew each other, right? We were connected.

But how well did I really know them, how well did they really know me? And why all of a sudden was I so nervous about seeing these people and meeting new people? I was off to do the very thing I love, hang with amazing women, challenge our thinking and beliefs, engage in thought-provoking conversations, exchange learnings and experiences, enjoy a nice meal with a glass of wine and have a laugh.

During that time my mind is full of thoughts about how others would see me and maybe I was not good enough. I feel isolated in the party and I started to question myself if I should be going to the event, was I good enough, is what I was wearing okay, would I say something stupid?

My reaction had intrigued me to find out what I was being affected the way I was. It was just a networking dinner. In preparation of the dinner, they’ve asked me to prepare 60 seconds of who I am, what I do, what are my biggest achievement in the last month, and what I wanted to get out of the evening. Simple right, I do this every week within another network. But why the reaction, why the nervous energy?

I’ve been doing a lot of self-discovery lately and trying to understand who I am, how I operate, why I react the way I do to situations and get to the roots of my core beliefs. It comes out that I fully understand the relentless standards that I put on myself internally. Now that I know I do this to myself, I’m now trying to get better at recognising when I’m creating unnecessary pressure on myself in if in doing so it’s benefiting me and the situation or hindering it. I meet a lot of people in business who put the same sort of pressures on themselves who can relate to this.

Progress is better than perfection’ this is something that’s been thrown around a lot lately (including myself). Which is true! I nurture and push my clients around this, helping them to take the small steps necessary to achieve the big goals. For me though, I am so good at putting a little too much pressure on myself to perform and deliver, I often am left feeling like I’m not achieving much or anything at all. Which perfectly explains why I was feeling so nervous, and why I was struggling so much to find my biggest achievement in the last month. It’s crazy because I help people do this everyday day, I truly believe to progress we need to be able to recognise the stuff we did that we thought we couldn’t, and the things we did that we didn’t think we were capable of, our achievements and our successes.

So here’s what happened. I went to the event, and I went prepared, to just BE ME. I didn’t want to sell myself to these amazing women, I wanted to connect with them. Especially the ones that I already had a connection online. When I got there, one particular gorgeous lady I look up to, came up to me and embraced me. It’s not just a polite embrace, but hugs that I felt like we’d been friends forever. It notably reminded me of the power of connection.

The power of connection is important because you’ll begin to relax and forget yourself. We live in a digital world where one of the main facets is to create and maintain relationships. I’ve been accepting friend requests, follows and connections from people all over the world and I had never met them but for some reason, they want to connect with me. Maybe it’s something I posted, or something I shared, or something I commented on, or the way I look. You’ve created and designed the content just to have good relationships with people. And in some, if not most cases, created relationships with people you may have never met any other way.

But true connection, true gold, true value, comes from taking the connection offline and connecting face to face. I know this to be true for us both personally and for business. I have created so many business opportunities and networks by taking my relationships offline.

We should create an online relationship to seduce the ease of connecting with others. Over time I’ve watched this happen with people I’ve worked with and also with my own children and their relationships. We need to be conscious, not to alienate the people who populate our daily lives in pursuit of intimacy with our online friends.

Every small business needs to embrace an online presence and find a way to leverage their online influence into offline business results. So I ask you this, how well is your online networking actually working for you? If you are using social media platforms to build your networks, then you will need to have a strategy to transition these relationships into reality. Because that is where the real value will come from the connections you’ve made.

So excuse me, do you want to connect?

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