We had the best time in Costa Rica over the Thanksgiving break! There was so much wild life to see – sloths, hummingbirds, monkeys, frogs, ants – you name it we saw it!!! What I loved the most was how much the trip inspired my 12-year old. We had a great guide on our first few nature hikes who was super knowledgeable and made everything interesting – even the ants! My son, as a result, only wanted to go hiking and bird watching! He bought a bunch of books so he could identify the different kinds of animals and birds on his own, and even started journaling! Wow! It’s amazing what a little inspiration in our environments can do for us 🙂
Speaking of environments, did you know we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with? Even if we are super conscious of not taking on negative energy, we still gradually morph into who we surround ourselves with. Which is great if they are inspiring people operating their lives in alignment with our own values! Being clear on your values and what is important to you is of the utmost importance. Read on in today’s article section, where I share how to get clear on your own values (template included), and also discuss the value of connecting versus networking in your business.
When we’re clear on our values it makes it easier to say yes or no to people, things, and events in our lives and business. I am including a fun values game for you to download.
This will help you to identify your top values, i.e. what you value most in life. My top 5 are; family, fun, love, connection and spirituality.
They can change and shift as we grow and change. We also may surround ourselves with different people who suit our different values too. I may have a group of friends who are super fun and who I connect with over parenting, and not necessarily business related. I might connect with different business groups because I feel the love and connection from them. You get the gist.
In determining how to spend our work time and resources, it’s important to find other like minded people who share the same values. I’ve belonged to a lot of business groups over time, and the ones I have enjoyed and do enjoy, are the ones where I feel a connection to the other people in the group. If the overall “vibe” of the group is to “get”, I’m out. I remember early on when I would go to groups where people would arrive and just start passing out business cards! Not taking any time to engage in a conversation or get to know someone, just trying to “get” new business. A lot of times I would pass on taking the card to make a point. And it’s nothing against these folks, they just don’t know any better, and were likely trained in the “old school” networking method 😉 People don’t want to feel like they’re being sold too or being used. Hence why “sales” tends to have a bad rep. I’m much more apt to refer to someone or do business with someone, if they have taken the time to connect and get to know me.
Here are a few tips on how to connect effectively:
- Take the time to ask the other person questions. Sure you might be there to gain visibility for your own business, but the more you can give the better. People want to be heard and want to feel like you care. What are you genuinely interested in? I love hearing about how people chose their path and what lights them up. Find what that is for you.
- Take the time to be fully present in the conversation. We can tell if someone “appears” to be listening but is completely pre-occupied.
- Set an intention. I love doing this for both business events and social functions. I set the intention to have at least one meaningful conversation because I really don’t love small talk. It’s always amazing to see who the conversation ends up being with and about what!
- Set a business intention. Set the intention that you will connect with someone your service / product can help. This will help you to stay in the energy of taking notice of when they do pop-up. Tune into their needs when you do connect with them, and move them to the next step. It might be booking a meeting or phone call with you at a later time, or to offer them the free gift you offer on your website and then the opportunity to stay connected virtually. Stay open to what presents itself.
At the end of the day, spend your time connecting with people you feel good around and events you’re excited to attend. Don’t just go to an event to “network”, go to connect. This also applies to going to things in your personal life you’re interested in. Like a new dance class or yoga retreat. They aren’t separate, it’s all about connecting.
It’s also important to find your tribe on a smaller level. This is outside of larger events and personal interests. This is about connecting with like-minded business owners who will lift you up, support you and have your back no matter what. Who that is will shift over time. I’m fortunate enough to belong to a group of successful women in business who are also super spiritual. I love them so much that I drive 8 hours each month to be with them. This is because I feel so supported and want to support them too, that I’m willing to make that commitment. I’ve also started a group here in our small town for Mom’s who are business owners to have the connection and support of other Mom’s who get these unique challenges. I just love the women who come to our meetings, and the support and love that is given. One Mom just started her own consulting business, and took the advice of some of the other more seasoned business owners, and was able to enrol her first client! She was scared to put herself out there, but did it anyway and I am just so happy for her 🙂 This is what your tribe is for. Put the effort in to find yours and you will be so thankful you did.
Have a beautiful weekend!