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A couple of weeks ago I was reminded of the value of personal connections. I love the social world, the ability to connect and build relationships online has been a powerful resource for my business. As a writer it is so easy for me to hide away behind my pen and paper and remain in the safety and comfort of the office. Trusting relationships can be established through many different ways, including online, but I think like many of us, I had lost sight of actually connecting in person.
When organising my trip to New York with other entrepreneurs for an event with our business mentor a small group of us decided to share an airbnb. Honestly, my first reaction when this was suggested was to say no. I love my privacy and personal space, but I knew if I want to get the most of this experience I needed to throw myself into it with heart and soul. Facing my fear, I agreed to share and arrived at the Manhattan apartment to meet 5 strangers from different continents.
Facing our fears is something we have to do a lot in business, it’s what challenges us, makes us stronger and also helps us succeed. Those 5 strangers, over our brief time together, have now become great friends and advisers. We connected not only on a personal level but we shared a passion for business that infused our creativity for our own businesses. Our mentor Todd Herman, likes to describe us as ‘weird’, and it’s a word we embrace. That weekend we were with like minded people who understood our workaholic nature, our desire to be challenged, and our thirst for knowledge.
But returning home it got me thinking, what if I hadn’t faced my fear? What if I have crept into my safe bubble and got myself a hotel room on my own, would my experience have been the same?
The simple answer is no!
Meeting people in person puts a whole new dimension on a relationship, it makes it stronger and more meaningful.
Get out there
Just as I did, go and face your fear. Get up from you comfort zone and experience something new and exciting. You don’t have to take a trip to another country, just push yourself to do something different. Why not have a tweet-up for your social media following and take your online relationships to the next level.
I often find doing a training programme, whether online or off-line is also a great place to build a relationship with people. You can learn together, get frustrated together and succeed together. Don’t fall into the trap doing the same training as your colleagues as it will be easy to just communicate with those that you know. Remember everyone is a stranger to each other at the beginning, you may start that way, but you won’t be strangers by the time you finish.
There are thousands of networking opportunities across the globe. I know how frightening it can be to walk into a room where you don’t know anyone. You worry about babbling or you hide in the corner. See every networking group as an opportunity, the people you meet may not be a direct client, but you never know who they have in the circle of connections.
I’ve learned a valuable lesson, my social connections are amazing but if I take those connections to the next level who knows where it can lead!