Yesterday is one of my favorite days of the month. I belong to the Women In Networking IV group in Louisville, which meets on the third Tuesday each month. I love this diverse group of women owners and leaders. The caring among this group runs deep, and the support given extends beyond business.
Joining this group started me on an unplanned journey. I am a solo practitioner. And I realized a few years ago that I genuinely missed having work colleagues. I tried business networking fourteen years ago when I left my corporate life, and I didn't get it. It felt like the business equivalent of speed dating - everyone trying to make their elevator pitch to as many people as possible before time was up. All of the focus was on telling, not listening. I didn't feel community or connection was present. I quickly disavowed committing my time to this activity.
This WIN IV group is everything I was looking for back then and more. The bonus is the way this positive experience has enabled me to recognize and connect with several other groups of smart, generous, thought-provoking, and inspiring business people. I am so grateful that this one counterpoint to my networking experience has allowed me to attract similar groups into my inner circle of support and generative thinking.
This step that morphed into a conscious choice to seek and grow my business community has been affirmed in several books recently containing this advice.
Surround yourself with people you want to be like, who model what you want to become. Having people who inspire you helps you get to the next level.
As a business owner, I have many competing demands. I've come to realize in the last year that committing time to engage in creating a community of business colleagues fuels my health and well-being. If you are struggling to find the energy you once had for your business, if you are feeling uninspired, if your relationships require more of you than you get in return, then I encourage you to find a business community that nourishes your mind and spirit. Start small. Just commit one hour each month or join an online community on Facebook or LinkedIn.
In Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he emphasized the importance of renewing ourselves (Habit 7, Sharpen The Saw). This wisdom is as poignant today as it was in 1989. So don't just take my word for it. Know that this idea passed through the decades, evolves but doesn't diminish. And remember that that speed dating style business groups are still around, so don't be afraid to ask questions before you invest your time and be prepared to try a few groups before you find the right one for you.
2020 is your year to Claim Your Extraordinary! I hope you'll give this one idea to aid your journey a try. Please comment and share your wisdom about how you are building your business community to support your growth.