Do you love or loathe networking? Perhaps it is something in between.
Attending professional events of any kind can be a powerful way of connecting with like-minded people, a way of building your brand and a way of potentially fueling your client pipeline.
Today, I'm thrilled to represent the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce as the Chair of the Women's Leadership Committee at their annual Inspiring Women's Event. We have a great line-up of presenters including JUNO Award-Winning Musician & Mental Health Advocate, Serena Ryder. I'm looking forward to meeting Serena and sharing on the topic of Health, Wellness & the Art of Resiliency.
If you tend to be more on the introverted side, attending events can seem daunting and emotionally draining. Having a plan for approaching the event is helpful.
I find these tips help me get the most out of participating in networking events:
Being intentional about your involvement in a networking event and knowing what you want from the event is key. Set a small, realistic and attainable goal. Perhaps you decide you want to hand out 3 of your business cards or arrange to meet the keynote speaker. There are many small, but powerful possibilities to be intentional about how you participate and engage in your next networking event.
How do you spend your birthday? Yesterday was mine. I've made it an annual habit that I don't work on my birthday. I want to have a day where I have more control over my interactions with a focus on self care and self reflection. It is something I've encouraged clients to consider as a form of employee recognition too -- giving employees a paid day off on their birthday.
People have mixed feelings about birthdays. Some make a big deal of it with parties and various celebrations and for others, it is a non-event where they don't even share that it is their birthday.
I love recognizing birthdays. The ability to honour and recognize the gifts people bring into my life is something I cherish. Doing so brings conscious awareness to the present moment, to the gift of life, to the gift of people who share with me on this amazing, crazy journey. A birthday creates a moment to pause, to appreciate, to honour the gift that is life. Recognizing another's annual milestone is a celebration of love. It creates a connection to oneness, to something bigger than what we are as individuals.
Today I'm going to celebrate my friend, Val's birthday. She is an entrepreneur who has started not one, but two businesses. Not unlike the McDonald brothers, she's faced her version of a Ray Kroc experience and rose from the ashes. I treasure her resilience and ability to dream big. She remains committed to her values and to living the dream of building something that matters and makes a difference to people's health and well-being. Now she has a thriving business focused on a Drōm movement and mindfulness practice through drumming on exercise balls.
So I invite you to think about your birthday and the birthdays of those who you treasure in your life. Take a moment to recognize them, to laugh with them, to cry with them, to hold them in your heart as the precious child they are...born into this world with hopes and dreams. Life can be so beautiful if you choose to adopt this mindset.
Whether or not today is your actual birthday, I extend the same hopeful wishes to you -- may you feel content, may you feel love, and may you feel a sense of peace with who you are and the unique gifts you alone have the ability to share with the world. Happy Birthday.
On October 8 at The Museum, Laurier is bringing together alumnae committed to advancing women's leadership. This special series hosted by President Deborah MacLatchy is coming to Waterloo after sold out events in Toronto where I've had an opportunity to moderate a session earlier this year.
Please consider attending this 8-10 am event. It is a great opportunity to network and hear from panelists who exemplify volunteerism through mentorship in the community where they work and live. I'll be moderating the event and hope to see you there. Please use the promo code "Susan" for a 10% discount.
Mentorship has its benefits. You don't have to take my word for it. Mentorloop research reveals that 71% of Forunte 500 companies have established mentorship program and 75% of Millennials deem mentorship critical to their success and the same percentage of executives credit their mentors with helping them reach their current positions.
If you're an employer considering the value of mentorship, studies show that retention rates were much higher for mentees at 72% and mentors at 69%, than for employees who didn't participate in mentoring programs at 49%.
Mentorship allows you to connect people and improve knowledge transfer along with a greater sense of connectedness. It allow employers to empower their workforce through feedback and experiences all while fostering a better culture.
If you're looking for a mentor, consider these 5 questions before making your ask:
It's never too soon to be a mentor. If someone approaches you and asks for your advice and insight, consider their request because everyone can learn from someone else's experience or perspective.
Mentorship relationships are a helpful tool in your professional development toolbox. Consider having or being a mentor to foster powerful connections and expand your network.
September is officially here. Children are readying for back to school, a bit of a chill lingers in the morning air and Mr. Sun is a wee bit slower to rise and shine. As we head into sweater-weather, I look forward to drinking pumpkin spice lattes, decorating the front porch and watching movies like You've Got Mail. I love the line Tom Hank emails Meg Ryan, "I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils." It pretty much sums up how I feel about September. It's time to set goals, refocus, and shake off the lazy haze of summer.
Earlier this year, I read a great book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. The premise isn't new, but the author's approach to the topic is refreshing and encouraging. It is a guide to introducing positive small habits that, over time, will lead to remarkable results. I decided to put it to the test, not only for myself, but with one of my clients who had a specific weight loss goal. I invited him to read the book, which he did. It helped him set realistic weekly goals by implementing small, but consistent changes that become part of his healthy lifestyle. My client set a goal to lose 1.5-2 pounds a week. He also gradually introduced some physical fitness in the form of walking, jogging, planks, and push-ups. As one of his accountability coaches, I checked in with him weekly. Since February, he has lost close to 60 pounds and has increased his running, weight-training, planks and push-ups, substantially.
What about me? I started running again. I set a daily goal to run 35 minutes 5 days a week. I scheduled my runs in my calendar so the time was secured. I kept to the goal and within 8 weeks, I was running 7km 6 days a week. It became an activity that was just part of my day and if I didn't run, I felt like something was missing.
So back to the book summary. Atomic Habits is broken down into six sections. The first section explains the theory and fundamentals of atomic habits. The next four sections cover the laws of making and keeping a new habit. The premise here is that you want to make it obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying to keep a new habit. In my case, I laid out my running clothes and shoes right beside my bed so that I had no excuse when I woke in the morning. I tracked my daily runs and had a weekly reward planned if I kept up my running habit.
What about breaking bad habits? The opposite approach holds true here. You want to make a bad habit difficult, unattractive, invisible, and unsatisfying. James Clear provides many real-world examples in his book.
The final section deals with more complex issues you might encounter as you continue to develop and improve your new habits.
It is a great read, especially for those who are keen on setting new goals and look at September as a fresh start or a chance to adopt some new and healthy habits.
The trick is to start small and allow yourself to experience success so you can build your confidence, have fun and gain momentum over time. No hidden secrets here. It takes effort, but not as much as you think to experience remarkable results.
Welcome September and all you have in-store including sharpened pencils, fresh starts and good habits.