No one really believes me but I truly am an introvert. I find humans incredibly frustrating and exhausting. And unpredictable. Which reminds me of grasshoppers which I REALLY dislike but that is a story for another day.
I prefer the company of one or two people. Not in a crowd where I have to shout to be heard. Social anxiety can come into play of what to wear, what to say, what not to say, and how not to be horribly awkward or nerdy. How not to spit on someone.
In networking events, I typically plop myself down at a table and hope people will come to me or “work” the periphery of the room.Now that I am primarily working from home looking for my next adventure I find it terribly easy to write down those social events and networking events on my calendar. However, actually going to those events is not always reality. I might have to shower, or stop piddling over the green beans in the crockpot, or put down my book to go be apart of humanity.
Today I have two events that I started to talk myself out of but just in the last few minutes decided I would go and be a contributing member of the fraternity of humans. If you also find yourself hesitating to put yourself out there here are three practical pieces of advice on why you really do need to go to that networking event today.
- It’s Not About You: I know this completely throws us introverts for a loop. We actually don’t want to be needed by someone. Because that someone will tell another someone what you did and they will want that they same thing. Which will require more interaction, communication, and energy we just may not want to give up. Regardless, someone actually needs you. Someone is more anxious than you, more uncomfortable, more unprepared to succeed. They need your encouragement, expertise, and mentoring. What comes around goes around my friend. Turns out humans need all kinds of humans to make the world go round.
- We Have Too Many Walls: Do you know your neighbor? Do you know the person that works across Starbucks from you every Wednesday morning? The person you sat next to in church for the past three years, do you know their name? Do you have a go-to person to help in times of need or question? Many of our social pains come from having siloed ourselves off from one another in the name of safety and fear. This will accomplish the exact opposite. We need to start tearing down those social walls and really get to know each other beyond the superficial. It can feel like speed dating at times but those community social events, those never-ending networking events do serve a purpose in keeping our compassion and our empathy alive.
- Innovation Doesn’t Come From A Party of One: Before you start to interrupt I wholeheartedly agree that innovation comes from within. It spurs from our own hearts of passion, souls of injustice, and obsessions with improvement. Whether it is in the workplace, the church office, or the community at large innovation is largely wasted because it is not communicated near often enough. You need to go to these events to meet like-minded folks. You need their energy and they need your insight. Many more things in this world can be improved upon if we begin to structure our social conversations around how to improve our world rather than what is wrong with it.
Photo by Mag Pole