Networking to GIVE – not to receive: 4 networking tips to keep in mind

Networking is critical as a professional.  Whether you work in corporate, you run a small business or you’re in the midst of a job search, inevitably, networking will be ongoing for you through out your career.

Relationships help drive our success in all areas of our lives and many times, business relationships can develop out of nowhere and when you least expect it.

Events, conferences, workshops, you name it – they’re great for networking. They can also be intimidating if you’re attending solo and I completely get this. They are however the perfect way to put yourself out there, without having to be attached to a buddy and unintentionally limit yourself from meeting people you wouldn’t normally socialize with or meet.

I’m sure most of you have heard, “give with the intention to give and not receive” and this I wholeheartedly agree with.  When it comes to networking, some of the most organic conversations I’ve had have come out of me sharing something with someone and with no expectation of getting anything in return.  From those conversations, in some cases, the bonus has been a friendship that has developed with a few of these individuals.

I had no expectation of if they would develop into business opportunities and for me, I was interested in the long-term connection, whatever that might look like.  I’ve heard many times as well, that people need to be mindful of being prepared to offer an exchange of some sort or to be mindful of people’s time when you’re networking, and I don’t entirely agree with this.

Again – if you’re giving to give, then you’re not concerned of ‘time being wasted’ or what you can ‘get’ in return.  It’s a mindset and being open-hearted, with offering a piece of wisdom, advice, insight, etc. that can help someone else.  If you’re ‘tuned in’ and think beyond the immediate interaction, many times, you in-turn could be benefitting from the exchange, and you might not even realize it!

The experience of meeting someone new, learning something about another person you just met, perhaps an introduction to another contact of theirs are experiences in themselves that have meaning to them.  Similar to my experience, you could ultimately be making a new friend at the very least.  It may not seem like anything in the moment, however, be open to the possibility of what could come out of that interaction.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re attending your next networking event:

  1. Be OPEN – don’t be attached to WHO you’re going to meet, whether or not you have something to ‘offer’ and be yourself
  2. Give without expectations of receiving – believe it or not, you giving your time to someone is giving.  Don’t underestimate your value and what you have to offer.  Be open and genuine in giving without expectations
  3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable – events where you don’t know a soul are the perfect opportunities to put yourself out there.  Get in the mindset of going to an event on your own – you might actually enjoy yourself! 😉
  4. You won’t connect with everyone and vice versa – it’s possible you attend an event and walk away from it not having met anyone you connected with.  That’s OK!  You may not connect with everyone you meet the first time and vice versa.  At the least, you’ve learned if that’s the type of event you would participate in again and you know for next time.

Networking doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, calculated experience when you have the right mindset towards it.  Be open and if you’re going to be open to giving your time or insights, do so without expectation of getting anything in return. 

What have been some of your favorite networking experiences? 

Happy networking!

Lisa xo

How to be a bada$$ at work and stay true to your values!

Whether you work in a corporate job or are an entrepreneur, there’s always a balancing act of how much of the real you to show.  You want to be true to who you are, yet societal rules, unspoken politics and corporate hierarchy (in some cases) dictate that only a part of you shows up, while the other parts remain hidden.

But what if something happens at your company where your values are compromised?

Recently this came up for me in my own personal experience and as much as I’d love to say it was easy to deal with and justice prevailed, sadly it didn’t, and it got me thinking. 

How often does this happen in the workplace and how do people deal with it? 

Throughout my career, time and experience have told me this is more common than you might think, and most people don’t know how to deal with it.  I’ve had countless conversations with professionals who have shared a story or an experience they’ve had where something happened that was a direct clash with their values.  In fact, in many cases, they were having a conversation with me because they chose to leave their jobs due to a misalignment with the company and their core values.

So, I got curious and thought about a few things to keep in mind if you’re faced with a situation at work that infringes on your values:

1. What’s the lesson you can learn from that experience?

When something happens where you feel your values were compromised, what’s the lesson you can walk away with?  Are you able to take a step back and consider, what is this experience trying to teach you?  Lessons sometimes come much later after an experience has occurred, but sometimes, it doesn’t take long to realize what an experience is trying to show you if you’re aware!

2. Is there an opportunity to educate your company to help them evolve?

Yes, it’s possible your efforts could fall on deaf ears and your company may not be ready to ‘hear’ or be open to receiving your message to help them evolve.  At the very least, it’s an opportunity to educate where they may be missing the mark.

3. How can you use the experience to help yourself and someone else? 

The disconnect you experienced with your company could be the very gift that you can give to not only your company or someone you know to help them evolve, but yourself.  It’s very easy to internalize and personalize an experience where you feel like you’re the only one in your organization that stands strong to holding your values close to heart.  Instead, consider this a GIFT that you’re honoring your values and recognize that they’re important enough to you to stand for.  See this for what it is and use it to help yourself assess any next steps or course of action.

It’s never easy when you’re put in a situation where your values are being compromised, especially in the workplace.  While it might be difficult to just up and leave your organization if it’s not an immediate option for you, you do always have a choice. 

Use your voice for good and speak your truth even if your voice shakes.

Have you ever faced an experience in your workplace or with a client where your values were compromised? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  I know it’s a bit of sticky topic but one I hope you see how helpful it could be to share with others how you might have dealt with this in your own experience.  If you have anything else to add to this topic, I’d love to hear it just the same!

Lot’s of love

Lisa 

Gender bias and how YOU can move the conversation forward

On Friday, March 8th, we celebrated International Women’s Day where we honored and celebrated women around the globe for political, cultural and economic achievements to name a few.  While it’s recognized on this special day, I’m personally reminded daily of the brave, courageous and strong women I’m surrounded by and who I admire who are showing up and pushing the boundaries. 

I participated in Lean In Canada’s workshop on Friday where we discussed women’s bias and what we can do to help educate and change the conversation.  My commitment leaving that evening was to write about it through educating you with how you can help increase the conversation and hopefully influence change.

With that said, I’m hoping I can inspire you to be that brave soul who can be informed and offer new perspective regardless of your role in your place of work.

Gender bias is real and happens more often than you probably think.  It also comes in many forms in the workplace.  While it happens to both men and women, studies have shown women have experienced these biases far greater than men.

From receiving fewer promotions than their male counterparts to being passed up on important projects, to the biggest one that I think many of you will agree on where women are still earning less than men.  According to a study conducted in 2017, Pew Research Center showed that 42% of women in the United States say they have faced discrimination on the job because of their gender.

So, what does gender bias look like in the work place?

Some examples include:

  • Performance bias – A simple review of your organization to see if there’s an imbalance between men and women can speak volumes. 
  • Educate your leadership team that balance across gender helps the bottom line and brings different perspectives and experiences to the business.  Where is there an imbalance?  Is it across the whole company, a certain division?  Also, look at your company’s recruitment strategy to see how you’re attracting and hiring talent into your organization.
  • Wage gap – According to the Women’s Foundation of Canada, women with the same experience, socio-economic and demographic background earn approximately $7,200 less than their male counterparts per year, according to an Ontario Government report.  This was updated as of August 2018.
  • We’ve seen some progress in closing the wage gap with examples from companies like Salesforce.com. In 2018, a $6M gap would soon see to pay men and women equally across the company. But there’s definitely room for more improvement.  Where can you improve and how can you close the gap in your organization?
  • Maternal bias – women often face this when their male counterparts are being promoted to leadership roles or being overlooked for special projects upon returning from maternity leave.
  • There is often an assumption made when women leave the workforce to start a family, they won’t be able to handle the same level of work upon their return. Educating your leadership team that all opportunities that can help stretch and advance their employees should be left up to the employee to choose. Empower your employees to decide whether they can take on a new challenge.

There are many more types of biases that we can add to this list, however, I wanted to leave you with just a few common ones.  While moving the needle can take time, increasing the conversations in our organizations and creating awareness is a start. Educating what gender bias looks like, and how we can #BalanceforBetter, takes action.

You change the conversation by witnessing it when it’s happening and educating your leadership team on gender bias, followed by proposing a solution. It starts with having the conversation, bringing awareness to it and coming up with actionable solutions.

Remember, courage over fear, faith over fear and keep in mind, the smallest of efforts can often make the biggest impact. Don’t ever doubt that your words mean something.

What can you do in your organization to continue the conversation?

I’d love to hear from you and encourage you to use your voice and share your perspective!  Let me know in the comments below.

All my love, ❤

Lisa

Why a ‘side hustle’ and a full-time job can co-exist

So many of us are exploring our options to earn an income in new ways than ever before. The popular ‘side hustle’ is becoming more common as people explore possibilities and opportunities beyond the traditional 9-5.  For those who don’t know, a side hustle is simply a business venture or side business that you do in addition to your full-time job.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to, take that passion you have for, i.e. making jewelry, baking savory sweets, painting for fun, etc. and want to create a business out of it, then dipping your toe in a side gig without completely leaving your full-time job, can be the perfect opportunity to share your passion and make money while doing so.

If you do what you’ve always done, how will you know what else you can do?

In one of my coaching sessions recently, I had a client of mine talk to me about a side hustle she created at a time when she was in between jobs. She was challenged on if she should continue to manage it as she recently landed a new job at a non-profit organization.  Well, congratulations were in order to celebrate landing a new job, and while she was over the moon excited, she was struggling on if she should continue developing her side hustle.

So, we explored this further as she really wanted to make it work given the time already invested in it.

While we covered this topic in greater detail, here are a few things we talked through.

What’s important about your side hustle?

Her side hustle is being a fitness coach.  She’s devoted to health and wellness for her own well-being and wanted to serve others in the same way given her own personal struggles and how she was able to change her life.  She realized it was important for her on a much deeper level, then just making supplemental income and trying something new.  This was an awareness we uncovered that helped her see how much of a priority this was for her.

When you envision yourself working as a fitness coach, how do you feel?

This was another great awareness for her.  When she described herself working with clients, she felt empowered, strong, and like she was making an impact in people’s lives.  It brought a sense of fulfillment she hadn’t felt in years. She loves the feeling behind doing this work and it was far more rewarding than she could have imagined.

What’s the cost of doing nothing at all?

Aside from the obvious (not feeling the fulfillment she got from being a fitness coach) she felt as though she will have wasted the investment, she already made in creating her side hustle.  She started this business venture with the intention that it would be a small, hobby like business and an opportunity to give back in a field that she personally had attributed much of her own personal transformation to.  To abandon it and not do anything, would mean to let go of her initial investment and personal fulfillment she got from it, along with losing a few clients she was already supporting.

What would success look like?

Success for her would be devoting 5-10 hours/week on her side hustle, maintaining her new full-time job and having enough energy and time to do both without compromising the other.  She could scale back or do more as needed with flexibility, the financial investment was manageable, therefore not having to make any risky or large investments.

From here, we explored options she came up with on how she would continue to develop and grow this side hustle of hers in the midst of a new job.  They aligned to the ‘WHY’ behind her side hustle which for her, was more important then just tapping into her creative potential. 

A side hustle may not be for everyone, but if you’re even the slightest bit curious or pondering taking on a new challenge, it’s a great opportunity to explore a creative venture, generate supplemental income and it’s a safe investment as you don’t have to leave a full-time job to do it. Unless of course, it turns into something where you want to!  More importantly, it can re-ignite a fulfillment you may not be currently feeling in your full-time job and reward you in ways you never would have expected.

Take a chance, test the waters, get out of your own way and try something new.  Besides, how will you know what else you can do, if you’re always doing the same thing?