Introverts and Navigating Networking
Updated: Mar 8, 2019
Happy Valentine's Day readers!
I made known in my last post that I was going through losing a relationship and a job in the last couple of months. Only about 8 months ago, I thought I had found the right opportunity that would take me to where I wanted to be in my career after several mountains, speedbumps, and unexpected turns. After a big move to a new city a year and a half ago to be closer to family, I really thought I had found the right mutually-beneficial professional opportunity and company. I was wrong. And guess what? That's actually amazing.
I have to say, I've never been more thankful. The past couple of months I had to wipe the tears, shake off what wasn't serving me, put my emotions aside, and go back to the drawing board. I have already grown so much in a short amount time thanks to these experiences. It's shown me what I do and don't want for myself professionally AND personally. I need to protect those boundaries, and as an introverted people-pleaser that's very challenging for me. I want to be a more authentic version of myself at work. I have for awhile, and I have seemed to keep saying yes, even when my gut was telling me it was a no.
I want to shake off all of the fear of failure and success and ask for what I want. It's incredible what walks into our life when we are more honest with ourselves, who we are, and what we want. I realized how many people love me just as I am, how many people are positively impacted when I'm more willing to share my gifts and talents with the universe. There's just some serious balance that has to come into play for me.
So how does one find some level of balance as an introvert when networking? Whether it's being a part of a community with a hobby of some kind that we enjoy, finding new friends, finding a mentor at work, looking for your next job opportunity, and just putting yourself out there in ways that make you happy. It's not easy for me to be vulnerable on this blog weekly, but I'm good at it and I feel amazing after I write a new post because I get to witness how it makes any kind of a small or large impact on anyone and everyone open to taking something away from it. It's not easy to speak into a microphone and do ice breakers in front of a new group of over 50 people. I had to do that this week. I smashed it, but I also blacked out while doing it! It was frightening. I love hiding in the corner of the room and observing everyone else. It's easier when people come to me and we have a 1v1 conversation. But I did it! Sometimes we just need to smash our biggest fears to work on getting what we want. Also, sometimes it won't go well, and that's okay too! We tried. We stepped out of our comfort zone and we must breathe and move onward (easier said than done - I know!).
Below are a few ways I have found balance from putting myself out there in various ways, and still make time for myself to recharge.
- I try to plan out my days and weeks in order to create balance. Maybe one day is booked and full of interesting people, but the next night I get to meal prep and spend time alone cooking. Maybe it's a good book before bed or a bath. If I have crazy week, or couple of weeks, I try to mindfully create time for myself in the morning or before. Even if it's just 5-15 minutes. It helps. I love heating up tea and laying in bed reading after a long day. It allows my brain to focus on something only for myself. I can take a few moments to recenter myself and remember why I'm doing what I'm doing. What is driving me? What is this day-to-day doing for my long-term goals?
- Say no. No is a sentence. You don't need a reason. Honor your boundaries and know what's best for you. If you had an exhausting day at work and a friend asks you to do something with them that night, it's okay to create boundaries and say you'd love to some other night. And that's it. When we create boundaries with our loved ones, it creates more space for love and respect for each other's needs. We all need to practice self-care, so if anything, you are simultaneously showing your friend they should practice self-care and say no when they need to as well.
- When you are feeling out of balance, do what you love. What GIVES and CREATES energy inside of you? Painting? Sketching? Yoga? A great sweat sesh? A good book? Cooking or baking? Working on a puzzle? A bath in the candlelight? Cleaning? Cleaning out your closet? Listening to your favorite podcast? Whatever that is for you. MAKE time for it. Stop. Pause. And do that thing that rejuvenates your soul and resets your balance. I promise you won't regret it.
How do you create balance? I'd love to hear about it.