I don’t like people.
Well, I like people… I just don’t like when things get too “peoply.”
You see, I’m an introvert. I enjoy people. Both of my businesses are all about helping people. But I need to be alone to recharge.
But people are exactly what I need to be around to grow my business, yet they are the one thing that depletes me quicker than anything else.
So for me, connection with others is hard. HARD! Being around others doesn’t come naturally and takes a lot of energy.
But last year, I knew that if I wanted my businesses to grow, if I wanted to grow as a person, if I wanted to truly make an impact, I needed to connect.
So 2019 became my year of connection.
At the start
I still remember shuddering a bit when I wrote the word down on my whiteboard as my “word for the year.”
Pep talk: “Okay, Michaela, (inhales deeply) it’s Jan 2nd. You need to start talking to people. You can do it! Go make a new friend.”
I had to muster up all my resolve as I stared at that word on my office whiteboard and my fingers stalled over my Facebook Messenger.
But nothing worth doing is easy, so I began to type.
- I jumped on our local Fargo Ladyboss Facebook page and asked if anyone wanted to grab a coffee.
- I signed up for a networking group and ACTUALLY WENT to the weekly meeting.
- I created an invite and posted on a local moms page inviting anyone and everyone over to my house (with their kids!!) for coffee one morning for a mom and kiddo playdate.
If you are an introvert, you’ve probably already clicked your phone off after reading all that. But if you didn’t; if merely reading those actions didn’t cause you to hide under your covers… stick with me.
(Don’t worry, my heart STILL gets a little panicky remembering that January week and doing those first steps! But it gets better.)
So I typed the messages, invited the people, went to the coffee meet-ups, sat at the networking table, and two things happened…
1. I didn’t die.
2. I grew.
Just a little at the beginning. I made it through the first connection. Then I asked another person to coffee. Then I went to another meeting. Then I had another mom play date.
And I kept going.
For a full year.
ALL. TWELVE. MONTHS. OF. 2019.
I bet I met at least 10 new people every single month.
And not only did it become easier but it changed my business and me. If you can believe it, I actually became somewhat of an expert networker in the process and now began a new endeavor into public speaking and teaching others how to do it too!
What Real Connection Did For Me
So what did all this “peopling” bring?
- I gained more customers in 2019 than any of the six previous years in business.
- I got the idea to start my second business because of a conversation at a lunch date.
- I ended up knowing all the people necessary to help me create and scale that second business at a speed faster than I ever thought possible.
- I made friends, some that today I would be lost without.
All because I met the people, and those people connected me to the other right people, and those people helped me grow… big time.
And now, it’s 2020.
A whole year of connecting.
I no longer quiver at the idea of meeting new people. I am, however, scared to death of where I would be had I not decided to connect more intentionally with others last year.
I would be without some of my dearest friends, most coveted business relationships, hundreds of customers, and without a second business that is fulfilling some of my biggest dreams.
Now that is scary. Way scarier than it being too “peoply” around me.
So now, I remember daily…
People are the only ones who bring opportunities to us.
Opportunity does not come from our computer, from our cubicle, from social media, or from the universe… it all comes from people.
So in 2020 if you are wanting to grow, to develop, to thrive in business and in self, find the opportunities people bring by bringing yourself to people.
Turns out connection isn’t so scary after all.