on networking

Last night I made myself look business-like and headed out to a meeting of The Network, an international business and professional networking organisation for women in Luxembourg. Since I work from home, it’s not been very easy to meet other business women since I arrived, so I thought maybe this would be a good way to widen my circle. I declared it to be my daily step out of my comfort zone and headed out with a bunch of business cards in my purse.

Does anyone else share with me a huge suspicion of “networking” events? My previous experience of these kinds of events had been awkward in the extreme, as I find it so hard to step out and introduce myself to people I don’t know. And it has been hard to to convince myself that other people will find me interesting, that I have something unique to offer.

Practising what I preach can be a little hard sometimes!

But can I tell you, it surpassed all my expectations by being non-threatening, interesting, and actually really enjoyable!

The talk of the evening by Mariana Florea, was on stress and techniques for combating stress in work environments. It was so interesting because it went beyond the usual chat about stress to really explain the body’s mechanisms and why stress can be so damaging to our health.

And after the talk, a lot of the women stayed around to chat and meet each other, which was so good. I had some fascinating conversations with the women I met about stress and massage and the challenge of working for yourself and the experience of living in a foreign country. It was meaningful and interesting and I came away feeling inspired and motivated. Not bad for one evening!

It reminded me again of how important it is to surround ourselves with a community, a tribe if you like, of people who can understand, support and cheer us on in the life path we’ve chosen. Whether that’s student societies, mother’s groups, support groups for illness or addiction, faith communities, or networks of women in business – we need each other. We are not created to be independent, but to depend on each other for support and motivation.

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to her her own.” -Benjamin Disraeli.