She offered four options to choose from.
I generally feel confident walking into a new situation.
That’s not to say I always felt that way, certainly not early in my career. Anxious would have been my choice then, but over time that changed.
Experience. Knowledge. Accomplishments. A lot of personal work to get past my core, I am not good enough childhood wound. All of that contributed to me feeling confident in new situations.
But confident is not the answer I chose.
That’s not what drives me forward when I am networking professionally – or for that matter in any situation that life presents.
The option I chose was curious.
Having been to countless networking events, talks, seminars, you name it in my professional career – not to mention the places I’ve traveled to or gatherings I have attended personally, I approach each one with curiosity.
What is this all about?
Who will be there that I might make a connection with?
What can I learn from this?
I am curious.
If I learn one new thing, no matter how big or small, or meet one new person that I want to know more about, I consider that a success. Sometimes what I learn is more about myself – my likes and dislikes, what I want more of or less of. Sometimes I learn that I know a lot more than I give myself credit for and sometimes as Socrates said, “The more I learn, the less I realize I know.”
Approaching anything – including professional networking from the viewpoint of curiosity eliminates those pesky underlying anxieties. It reframes it into a research expedition or a game. It makes things fun – something we could all use a bit more of in these very challenging times we live in.
The extra bonus in this approach is that you often get to discover some new cafe you’ve never been to before, a new word game (think Wordle) that you develop a daily addiction to, or sometimes when you’re really lucky you make a new friend.
The older I get and the more I know, the more curious I become to find out what I don’t know and the more convinced I am that among other payoffs staying curious is the secret sauce to staying young.
So whether you’re reading this on a Monday as your week is about to begin or a Friday before your weekend starts, be curious, stay curious, and let me know what happens.
If you’re curious, you can listen to my conversation with Kelly on Marketing, Mindfulness, and Martinis, Episode #22, but only if you choose curiosity.