A couple weeks ago, I bought a ticket to a networking event that’s happening tonight. I’m not going to go.
If you’ve read my bio or even just the footer on this page, you know I’m naturally an introvert (that’s what the I in INFJ represents) and as, such, networking events aren’t my favourite way to pass the time. But that isn’t the reason I’m bailing ce soir.
Here are my 3 reasons to not network (tonight)
1. I bought the ticket because I felt like I should.
Should is always such trouble. As soon as I decide to do something because I think I should, I completely ignore my own inner wisdom, my own rhythms, my own heart, my own desires. And that ain’t right. Should and Joy rarely coexist. And it’s joyful people who do best in business, dear entrepreneurs.
Always, always, always choose Joy over Should.
2. I don’t want to.
See the point above. I know I could jolly myself into the mood for this particular event. I could pick out a cute outfit and admire my business cards (they have the best embossed elephants ever!). I could get there, I could. And it would be fine. But I’ve been trying out a new practice for the past six months especially, and I love it. It’s called Pleasure.
“What would please me, tonight?” I ask myself. And, turns out, it isn’t to take the streetcar to eat a buffet dinner, worrying there’s parsley in my teeth as the woman next to me tries to sell me life insurance. Some nights, that would be fun. The meal would be delicious. The insurance lady could become a new best friend. But tonight, what’s calling to me is a solo dinner at the neighbourhood French cafe (Mr. Klassen’s got a rehearsal), then savouring some home-alone time. I’m thinking lavender-salted bath before curling up with the most recent Camilla Gibb. A pot of mint-nettle-red clover tea. The quilt we bought on our east coast honeymoon over my lap. My legs stretched out, full-length, on the couch. That is the scene that feels most energizing to me tonight.
What I have learned – without fail – is that when I pursue what pleases me, I am so much better at pleasing others.
3. Changing the action doesn’t mean the intention’s lost.
When I bought that networking event ticket, I did so because I was intending to connect with some new people. Earlier today, when I was tempted to talk myself into attending, that was one of the arguments I used: But you wanted to meet new people. Here’s what I had to remind myself: There are at least a hundred different ways to do …everything. There are a hundred ways to mix a cupcake batter. There are a hundred ways to paint your nails. There are a hundred ways to pet a cat. There are a hundred ways to expand the reach of a business.
Tonight, I don’t have to “get out there” but because I am still feeling like I’d like to make connections, I checked in with myself about the more fitting how. “What means of connection would I enjoy today?” And what I came up with is writing this post. And after this, while I’m still logged into my website, I’m going to make some content tweaks to improve my search engine optimization for the workbooks pages. Those activities will probably connect me with more people, likelier to find me engaging, than tonight’s event. Even if you don’t love what you’re reading on this page, because I wanted to write it, because it wasn’t forced, because – for me – it was fun… on some level, you, dear reader, will pick that up. And we will connect. And it will feel good because it’s coming from a good energetic place. Right?
A person who is lit up can’t help but be attractive. In any given moment, choose to do what lights you up.
Although there are business coaches who would insist you need to force yourself out of your so-called comfort zone, I think there are more meaningful ways to practice courage and that, indeed, choosing to do what pleases you despite your inner-shoulds IS an act of bravery. And defiance. And it’s the ticket to growing your business.
Despite missing tonight, I think Pink Elephant’s gonna be just fine.
Writer Carrie Klassen is a green tea enthusiast, novelist-in-progress, fine point pen aficionado, INFJ Scorpio, and president of Pink Elephant Creative, a website writing and design boutique for inspired entrepreneurs. She also writes workbooks and teaches workshops at Pink Elephant Academy for Entrepreneurs.