Whitney Johnson, a management coach I admire, recently sent a message out to her network, inviting us to a dinner party in New York City doubling as a mastermind group. I immediately said yes.
The idea was to gather people with diverse backgrounds so we could mingle, share advice, and build community. The lure of meeting Whitney and others in her circle was electrifying to me, but I found myself strangely anxious on the way to dinner. As traffic inched along, I felt self-doubt weasel its way in. Would I be enough? Did I have something worthwhile to contribute?
I let myself feel uncomfortable and powered through. We played a business version of a speed dating game, sharing fast facts and asking for advice as we went around the room. We talked about life balance, cancer diagnoses, starting a business, and so much more. I left energized, with a full heart—and with a few promising professional leads, too.
Building meaningful connections like these has been an important theme throughout my 2017. I’ve been intentional about when and how I reach out to others in an effort to ask for or offer professional help, and that’s produced some wonderful results. But it’s required me to overcome a good dose of anxiety, discomfort, and uncertainty—and it may for you, too.
So here are a few hard and fast rules I abide by when building meaningful relationships:
I take a sincere interest in what matters to them. I remember details, follow up and help them if I can. I hold them accountable and ask them to do the same for me. We all appreciate feeling heard.
I show up for myself and am vulnerable. Though it often requires a dose of courage, I ask for help if I want it. I admit failure, and I share successes, which is often surprisingly more difficult than the former. Vulnerability makes us relatable.
I make time. There will always be an excuse not to do something if you need it. (Did you read that New York Times article about bailing?) Life is busy. But when I’m committed to building a deeper relationship with someone, I consciously set aside time for them. We can’t build a thing if we aren’t present to do it.
[bctt tweet=”Build a community that electrifies you. Go to the dinner party. Make time. And reap the benefits.” username=”reganwalsh”]
Do you need to be more intentional in your life and work? I’m an executive coach who helps clients nationwide with personal and professional development. You can reach me at email@example.com.