If you've been following my journey for a while (see Blog Archives) you'll know that I have recently located to Barcelona from San Diego, California.
As a new kid on the block I made a promise to myself to get brave and "get out there" via networking, volunteering and such. I was much too shy to do any sort of networking in San Diego. I think because I just don't like the the word "networking" very much. It made me think I needed to have a sales-pitch for myself and my profession. I felt like I had tap into a certain level of assertiveness to make introductions with strangers and have the latest, coolest professional-wear.
Ha! It's so silly to observe how our preconceived thoughts really do hold us back.
So, in moving to Spain I decided to challenge those limiting thoughts and have a look at what networking is and what it could be. I needed to see where I could find a place of comfort for myself, and I did.
What I've learned is just to be 100% yourself in all your awkwardness, quirks, etc. It really is refreshing to encounter others who are authentically themselves as well and I think it makes for a more natural, wholesome community. I've also made an effort to make myself more available (when I can) to help the women of my networking circles with any projects they have working on. My dear friend Alison of Salud Shoppe finishes many of our email communication with,
"Is there anything I can do to help you succeed?"
and I have been paying it forward so to speak.
Approaching my community of professionals with this sentence as a guiding principle has helped me become more patient, open, trusting and just overall available to help. It has helped me put myself in really enriching life experiences that I would not have experienced otherwise. I highly recommend giving it a try and see how it works for you.