Why I stopped networking. And why I started again.
About two years ago, I stopped going to networking events. I felt it had stopped adding value to my business and was in fact interfering with my energy and service, rather than adding to it. For two years I looked inwards, focussed on my clients and gave myself a break from the endless introductions and card exchange and gave myself time to breathe, be myself and not worry about “Time, Place, Occasion” pressure and judgement, which while, useful can seriously interfere with authenticity and integrity.
I took time to launch my first one-year programme, February is the new January, then my second. I transitioned the business from mainly corporate workshops to mainly private and executive one-to-one coaching sessions.
I worried that I would lose money and reputation. The last two years have been my best yet and I have started turning down lower-paid work and valuing myself more highly (I wish that for you too, and encourage my clients to do the same). I have educated myself and invested time, energy and money in expanding my coaching smarts. I have focussed on home and family and my closest friends. And I highly recommend that anyone who is getting networking fatigue do similar.
I can help with that.
I have spoken at events and workshops that I love and said yes to work that interests and excites and is inside my genius zone. I did Yin Yoga, Gyrotonic, studied and became a trained coach in Relationship Systems Coaching™, Celebrated weddings and anniversaries, made more dinners than I ever had before, enjoyed food shopping, stocked my freezer with good stuff and making weekend brunches with my husband. I said no to multiple social events and focussed on my nearest and dearest. I played Aunty Sarah to the families who welcome me into their daily lives. I hosted clients at my house and visited theirs. I have laid low, had periods of great satisfaction and – I know I don’t need to tell you this, because it’s part of the human condition, but just in case you are starting to get into that crazy-comparison-thinking, spinning a story for yourself that my life is perfect and I navigate it with ease, even though I am a complete human with a nervous system and everything and only my very closest friends and carefully selected professionals (oh and ALL the people on that one yoga retreat) get to bare witness to my lowest points, some pretty hairy and overwhelming low-points happened too, as I transition into life as a nearly-fifty year old lady (huzzah and also WTF is going on with my body and sanity). Clothes swaps, partnerships and delights. The quiet of just being at home and being in my life without dashing round Tokyo being here there and everywhere.
Some relationships dissolved. Others emerged. Some remain constant and loving through thick and thin, even if we don’t see each other that often. I made my mistakes, but now I have a better idea of who I should say yes and no to. Some clients were not a good fit. Quite normal. Others are absolutely wonderful. I uncovered a secret aspect of myself, the mother, then got asked to speak at Tokyo Mothers Group and it was a delight. Some circled round again and because I had created so much mental space around me, we were able to say yes to each other and start a new chapter.
And now it’s time to expand again.
And now I am craving the contact of the outside world and of input.
And my boundaries are clear.
And my business is thriving.
And my intuition says – keep all of this homely, satisfied, well-considered activity and add some more interaction in.
Go to see that speaker.
Go be in that room with those people.
And seek out the people who have similar aspirations and financial aspirations to you.
Be out and about in Tokyo and elsewhere.
***IT TOOK A MAN WITH A MOHAWK TO KICK START THIS NEW CHAPTER***
You see, diversity is the word on everyone’s lips, but I rarely actually see it. Not really. A woman on a panel here (NOT CHICK) a not white not Japanese not straight person there, but generally if you took away the sex/skin/sexual preference stuff you’d find a lot of safe not-so-diverse speakers, panelists and ‘diversity’ experts.So when the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan invited a man covered in Tattoos and sporting a Mohawk to talk about LinkedIn I raised my hands to the air and shouted “Halellu” and with a racing out-of-practice-networking heart signed up. On. The. Spot. You see his outside kind of looks like my inside. ACTUAL diversity. ON A MAN of all things.And I loved it – it was the best presentation I have seen for ages and left little clues for me going forward. I don’t yet know what they are exactly but down in the intuition, this gentleman (Chris ‘Mohawk’ Reed, Linkedin Marketing expert – highly recommend you check him out or see him speak if you get the chance – Singapore is his home base but he does gigs all over the place) stirred something and pointed me towards more integrity, more authenticity, more keeping it real and more diversity in the way we look. More expression on the outside too. To my delight, and as usual, there were a lot of my clients in the room too! I love my people so seeing them was a real boost. Had a brilliant time and learned so much about using LinkedIn (I’ve been over there changing things up – but I have a lot to learn) – we even had a social afterwards with some Tokyo besties – wine flowed and we had a really good laugh. So nice to connect with people socially.
That prompted me to attend Find Your Element last night as well. Another really pleasant evening of connecting with old faces, befriending new ones and also making an exit as soon as I felt like getting back to my lovely home.
So here I am – back in action, looking forward to celebrating with everyone for our third Winter Holiday Season Clothing Swap on Saturday.