As an entrepreneur, the path to success is often filled with hurdles and challenges. While some obstacles may seem insurmountable, there is one fundamental principle that can make a significant difference in your journey: the power of showing up. For many entrepreneurs, especially introverts, this simple act of showing up to networking events can be incredibly daunting. However, it is precisely during these moments of discomfort that the greatest opportunities for growth and success lie.
Let me share a story about a client I once had, whom we’ll call Steve. Steve was an introverted entrepreneur who struggled with the idea of networking. He actively avoided it, believing it to be an unnecessary and anxiety-inducing activity. When I invited him to attend a networking event, he hesitated and expressed his reservations. Nevertheless, he recognized the importance of honoring his word and decided to give it a try, albeit reluctantly.
The Fear of Unfamiliar Faces
On the day of the event, Steve found himself sitting in the parking lot, battling his internal doubts and making up excuses in his mind. The fear of unfamiliar faces, small talk, and putting himself out there almost overwhelmed him. However, he mustered the courage to step out of his comfort zone and walked into the event.
What transpired over the next hour and a half surprised Steve. Engaging in conversations, sharing his business knowledge, and even sharing a few laughs, he found himself immersed in the experience. He made genuine connections with like-minded individuals, some of whom could potentially become valuable partners or clients. By the end of the event, Steve approached me and expressed his gratitude for encouraging him to attend.
This experience taught Steve a valuable lesson: when you say yes to your business, success will follow. By showing up, he overcame his initial resistance and reaped the rewards.
Here are a few key insights that entrepreneurs, particularly introverts, can draw from Steve’s story:
Embrace Discomfort for Personal & Professional Growth
Growth happens outside of your comfort zone. While it may be tempting to retreat into familiar territory, pushing yourself to show up in challenging situations is essential for personal and professional development. By confronting your fears head-on, you open yourself up to new opportunities and possibilities.
Networking & Collaborating as a Catalyst
Networking is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, enabling them to forge meaningful connections, learn from others, and gain exposure for their businesses. While it may feel intimidating, remember that everyone in the room is there for the same reason – to connect and grow. Embrace the opportunity to share your expertise, listen to others, and build relationships.
Prepare and Practice so Networking is Not so Intimidating
If the idea of networking overwhelms you, preparation can be your best ally. Research the event, set specific goals, and practice your introduction or elevator pitch. By being well-prepared, you’ll feel more confident and in control, making it easier to engage in conversations.
Start with Smaller Networking Groups & Events
If attending large networking events feels overwhelming, start with smaller, more intimate gatherings. Seek out local meetups or industry-specific events where you can interact with a smaller group of individuals. These settings often provide a more relaxed atmosphere, making it easier to initiate conversations and build connections.
Celebrate Victories, Big & Small Along the Way
Recognize and celebrate your wins along the way. Every time you show up and overcome your fears, you’re taking a step forward in your entrepreneurial journey. Acknowledge your efforts, no matter how small they may seem, and use them as fuel to propel you further.
The Mindset Shift Begins with Showing Up
The power of showing up goes beyond mere physical presence. It represents a mindset shift, a commitment to your own growth and success. By embracing discomfort, harnessing the benefits of networking, and pushing through your fears, you will unlock opportunities that may have otherwise remained hidden.
Remember, as an entrepreneur, you have the ability to determine your success. 80% of it is showing up, what will you choose?
NIA Central Washington has a large professional community from Yakima to Grandview to Prosser to Sunnyside to Tri-Cities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike to come together, learn, and collaborate together. While you may have tried other networking groups there is nothing like NIA. There are a few things that make us different like the fact that we meet monthly, we guarantee an ROI, and our group is not run by volunteers which is all part of what makes our community so successful.
Ready to have a network that really values you? Let’s chat. You can schedule a free 30-minute call with me (Monica) today right here >