Hey, Women/Womxn! I’ve been thinking about this week’s post topic and couldn’t let it go… When I Googled, “how to network as an introvert” a couple of days ago, even searching for it makes me want to hold my breath. For years, I’ve been a combo of independent and I-can-do-this-on-my-own introvert. Hole me up with Mama Nature and I’ll be a-okay until I die. We’re good.
Yet lately, I’ve been witnessing and experiencing the power of networking with intentionality and action. Come to find out it’s made my life absolutely better. Shocking, right?
And while my post title uses the term “actor” in it, there’s truly no acting or B.S.-ing involved. Today, we’re talking about six tips that involve authentic, chosen action that avoids dormancy, invisibility, and social fears.* Let’s get started!
Navigating Your Bubble and Confidence Building with the “Need” to Network
Tip #1: Remember Your Why
We’ve already talked about this on FSW and this phrase, “remember your why,” gets a lot of press. For good reason. Your why, or as some label it a calling, a purpose, your drive, and more… It can be what you get out of bed in the morning for. It can be “that thing” that feels natural or second nature.
If we can set aside or calm our egoic Human Element, and grasp less, we can resonate with our Inner Guidance. This Guidance remembers why we’re here on this Earth. Why we’re here in this lifetime. What we’re trying to do. The more often we can connect with our Selves, the more at peace we can be, and the more we can roll through this space with ease. When we feel at peace and grounded in our work, relating with and to others is a smoother, more confident ride.
Tip #2: Align with Others Who Support Your Why and Help You Focus on It
We’ve heard it before: we are who we hang out with (or who we connect with). Some say it’s five and others say it’s more than that; you can search for all the perspectives you want. Without getting into the debate myself, I can tell you I consider the following when spending time with someone:
- Does this person align with my core and who I am?
- Will they challenge me in a good way?
- When we spend time together, does it feel like I’m spent afterward, uplifted, or neutral?
- Do they act like they unconditionally love me, Being to Being, or does it feel like a “take relationship?”
- Are they encouraging me to, essentially, keep my status quo, or do they buy into my progress?
Notice, I’m saying “progress” and not “success.”
There are days where we think we know what success would feel and look like, but maybe certain goals or checkmarks aren’t meant for us. Whereas progress can be an individualized growth path and different for each person. And if we try to align with people that offer encouragement, progress, and even (challenging) unconditional love and friendship, that can be a beautiful dynamic.
When I feel like retreating back into my shell more often than is necessary, I try to remember connectivity and alignment are less scary and more intentional than randomly putting myself out there. Maybe that should be another tip but think of it as just a little reframe for you.
Tip #3: Don’t Feed into Perfectionism or Comparisons, Regardless of Where You Land on the Introvert-Extrovert Spectrum
This one may need a little explaining, so we’ll start with dropping the realization on the next line.
Repeat after me: “I don’t need to have all my shit figured out before I start talking to people…” (Be it a conference or event, a random stranger asking about your work, etc.)
Women and Womxn: This one has taken a ton of practice and I still fall into the trap of not feeling good enough. From what I hear from friends and peers, they struggle with the same thing, too.
So, 99% of us are all in the same boat and it can affect how we work and connect with others, yeah?
It doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum of socializing comfort, per se, if we get too deep into perfectionism or the comparison game, we can really miss out on an important time of self-growth. I tend to believe that any opportunity meant for you will come, but we might need to help ourselves out a little bit by making an effort of stepping forward bit by bit and opening up to relationships with others. Relating to another human, or humans, may be that open door to opportunities we didn’t expect.
Shifting from Inaction towards Action
Tip #4: Follow Your Gut Not Your Fears
We can all feel fear around networking, talking to people we don’t know, being in the crowd at a conference by ourselves… I still avoid mixers. Networking hour on the eve of the conference… No. Way.
That being said, I used to be the gal at the conference who skipped lunch with a room full of people, sat in the corner with my agenda, and waited ‘til the next session. Now, I’m the gal at the edge of the conference luncheon room with a book and my agenda waiting for all those extroverts to come to me. Progress, yeah?
Quick side story: At a conference years ago, I accidentally started networking with the keynote speaker (who was very cool) and we had lunch together. Afterward, a peer asked how I pulled that off because “they were Such-and-Such Person!” I said I honestly didn’t know. I just went to the salad bar and got lunch…
Point is, if I didn’t go to the salad bar, had clammed up, and kept my typical robotic act, I might’ve missed out on a lovely conversation and a years-long connection. Follow your gut not your fears… and follow your stomach sometimes, too.
Tip #5: Focus on the Act of Service While Balancing Solo Time
Over the years, I’ve noticed if I focus on serving others networking and connecting outside my circle is easier. Meaning, if I trust and open up to some vulnerability, the service can be so much deeper and more extensive. That’s one of the beautiful results of extending your circle(s): you unexpectedly pay it forward to others. And then they might. And then their people might… You get the picture.
That being said, there’s time for serving and there’s time for self-focus. It’s not shameful and it’s not selfish. It’s necessary to regroup.
When we have the time and ability (even for five minutes) to regroup and have solo time, that makes our serving that much stronger and exponentially more effective. Try it for yourself or move on to our last tip for pointers!
Tip #6: Renew Yourself Every Day
This one is easier to describe and can be harder to commit to and make time for, especially in busy schedules. We’ve talked about tenderness, self-care, and a whole bunch of other “you-focused topics.”
Taking time for you matters, Friends. It means you can do the work you want to do, make connections, and rest with self-compassion and maintenance in mind. It’s not necessarily about vanity metrics here, but if you are more rested or grounded, the You that gets shown is what you want to show. Not fake, not B.S., and not superficial to your own Spirit. Definitely, own your feelings and do self-checks. But really consider taking time for renewal, because that’s how you not only grow yourself, but you relate more openly and with your Intuition present. It’s a key to living every day for you and not getting lost for others.
*Whew, we got through the six tips! And FYI: There are definitely diagnoses and emotional health needs that relate to social anxieties, fears, etc. This post is not meant to trigger or degrade. If your circumstance is different than what we’re talking about here, there’s no shame in gaining help. I, 100%, support you, Beautiful!
If you’re more like me, where you get a sense of how folks are before jumping on email lists or signing up for direct content, here’s the FSW Quiz. It’ll help you get started with living life on your terms and you get a free, personalized mini-guide out of it. If you’re ready for 1:1 messaging, the FSW Circle is for you, or if you have questions you can email me this way. I’m here for your journey and accept where you at: whether it’s the beginning, the middle, or the end of the marathon. 🙂