Have you ever considered the importance of having the right support at the right time? It can mean the difference for someone wavering in self-confidence, or who is ready to quit just as success is ready to emerge. Last night, I saw a wonderful example of support for a budding entrepreneur.
I attended a networking event last night and true to the introvert strategy I have worked out for myself, I set a goal of meeting 5 people. Five people. That’s it. Take the pressure off. I will never be the extrovert who wings around the space and meets and greets gobs of people. Nor will I collect cards and names with abandon. Nope, not me.
Once I discovered this strategy, from a post in author Susan Cain’s blog Quiet Revolution, I could face networking events with more confidence and less anxiety. I could in fact, feel more comfortable at choosing to go, knowing I had found the magic elixir of networking for introverts.
True to form, I also was able to make a connection in which I could engage at a deeper and more prolonged level of conversation. I met a delightful father/son duo. The father was there to support his teenage son who is the one with the business. Lawn mowing. He has 25 customers. He’s working out the scheduling and how to meet the demand.
Leadership support modeled from the homefront
What I especially appreciated in my interaction with the two, was the encouragement and support the father was giving to the son. For starters, he spent his after-work time to drive his son from their small community to the city. Then the two of them sat side by side and the father listened to what his son had to say about his business. If there was a lull he helped fill in some of the conversational gaps.
I suspect the networking for this young man was less about gaining more customers and more a stand-alone lesson. What does a networking event look like, what happens there and what could you expect? I think many of us, if the situation were reversed, and we were out of our age group, or comfort zone, would find the experience daunting. We might not even go, if we didn’t have support.
And that is where I see a real opportunity for any and for all of us to make a difference in the lives of others and for ourselves.
Personal leadership is about decisions of how we will lead our lives. We know at a fundamental level, that we need others. For our emotional survival and our success overall. As we create a vision, it’s best if it includes how and who will be a part of creating it. And, how we will likewise support the efforts of others.
Much of our lives are now lived digitally or virtually. On the one hand this opens the world. On the other, can prevent us from reaching out to provide the support so deeply needed. In person is great if we can get it, but a message via our online networks works too. Whether it’s feedback on attendance at an event (like networking!) or taking on a project or engaging in personal development. It’s not about giving validation, because it should be done for its own sake, but it is helpful to know when efforts are seen and appreciated.
Entrepreneur or Employee, Encouraging Support is Advantageous
Each of us needs a core group of supporters. Just because we are older doesn’t mean this goes away. Whether you are an entrepreneur or working for someone else, it helps to have a connection with someone who encourages you. The best kind of support combines passive and active.
Passive support is when those whom you support know you are there, beside them. Literally or figuratively, they know they can turn to you, should the need arise. And sometimes, the role is more active. When you see hesitation or doubt you can step in and provide the right words at the right time.
This is not a special skill, nor something you train for. Rather, the only real requirement is to look around and notice. To make an effort to reach out, to connect with others.
I appreciated what I saw last night, between this father and son because I knew that this was a son who could count on his father. Of course, ideally that should be what every child could count on, but as we know, that’s not the case.
That’s where you come in.
There are far too many opportunities to knock others down, but here’s one to help others succeed. It really doesn’t take much to help someone see their own light. The only question is, will you take the time to do it.