FENG – Financial Executive Networking Group
FENG – Financial Executive Networking Group
When I was a child I hated having curly hair. Nobody else in my family had curls so it seemed like the fact that I had a head full of them created a lot of unwanted attention from my perspective as a child. People would ask my mother where my curls came from and she would just say she didn’t know. Of course there were the inevitable winks and jokes like, “What did the mailman look like?” which I didn’t quite understand but it always made people laugh. For the record, I happen to look very much like my father. The point is that all of this attention caused me to hate having curly hair. I used to actually cry and say, “No curls, is it?” asking for my mother to confirm what I so desperately desired to be true. But the fact remained that I do have curly hair.
When I grew up, I learned how to straighten my hair and wore it that way for a number of years. I happily lived in denial until my hair would get wet and the curls would start bouncing into place. Now, I embrace my head full of curls because it is an authentic part of who I am. It’s actually become part of my personal brand. I’m recognized and known for my curls. In fact, when I occasionally straighten my hair, people that know me don’t recognize me because I look so different. They actually walk right past me and don’t realize it’s me until I speak to them. So if there is something about you that stands out, use it to your advantage and make it part of your personal brand. And please don’t call me out on the color. It might not be quite as authentic. 🙂
An illustrator/ cartoonist who is a very good friend of mine, David Bamberg, even did a caricature of me that emphasizes my curls. I love it!
There are actually different seasons to consider when networking. The very busiest and most lively time of year to network is January through April. In January, many people are launching new businesses and are anxious to meet new people. If you are a beginner to networking you’ll fit right in because there will be many newbies in the crowd anxious to make new connections. You can work through figuring out your networking strategies together and you won’t feel like the only one in the crowd that doesn’t know everybody.
Another thing that happens in January is that in the beginning of a New Year, many seasoned networkers look at their networking habits from the previous year and commit to making more connections in the upcoming year. It’s kind of like a New Year’s resolution for business. Business people approach the New Year with a renewed sense of determination and purpose for their businesses just like they do in their personal lives. They set goals and do their best to stick to them. Whether it’s the veteran networker or the newbie, there will be well-attended events everywhere you go and lots of new people to meet. Just like with personal New Year’s resolutions, often as the months pass by, the commitment starts to fade and people will drop off. By March and April, you’ll notice a lower attendance rate, as only the most serious networkers will continue with their commitments.
With this in mind, I urge you to get out there and visit some new groups like Network Texas which has many chapters to choose from. Find a group where you enjoy the people and can connect! Once you’ve found it, attend regularly and really get to know everyone. I promise, it’ll pay off for you!
Read more in my book, Networking: Naked & Unafraid.
~ Tweetable: Networking is simply starting a conversation with no destination in mind. ~
I am fortunate to be able to interact with and touch many lives. As a writer, speaker, and instructor, I get all kinds of feedback from others. Most of the time the comments are delightful. Occasionally there is one that jolts me a bit but I do listen to the criticism. I know it will make me better, especially if it’s given with love.
But that isn’t what this is about. It’s about the praises! I’ve received emails, thank you notes, texts, social media accolades and personal compliments. I’ve been told that I inspire and motivate others. People have come back to me after months or even years of hearing me speak and tell me that something I said helped them through a tough time. This tells me they can see that little light inside and it lifts my soul!
I delight in seeing smiles, hearing laughter, and even seeing tears because of something I’ve said. Knowing that I have been used to positively affect someone else with my words inspires me like nothing else. I want you to know, YOU inspire ME! You bless me! You make me a better person! You are my inspiration and I want to thank you. Thank you for opening yourself up to me. Thank you for being kind enough to let me know that you were moved in a positive way. Thank you for the love.
Here’s the really important part; You inspire everyone around you! You shine! You don’t have to be a writer, speaker or instructor. Just live your life and share your joy with others. Your life is your message! You never know when you will touch a life in a positive way. It kinda works like karma; whatever you put out there will come back to you. You will be blessed every time you are a blessing!