The angst that builds in anticipation of having to attend a networking event has yet to subside. Though, I don’t expect it ever will.
T-25’s Shawn T had once said, “You grow when you are pushed outside of your comfort zone.” Now, yes, he was referring to doing that 11th burpee when you thought you were only expected to do 10, but this holds true in all facets of life.
Today I have a real estate investor networking, which I attend every month. There is this sort of conflicting feeling I have before the event…. Usually the thought about whether or not I should go.
On one hand, I want to work out, and get home after a long day at work to hang with my family, EAT, read my book, write and maybe watch Moving Art on Netflix, if I’m feeling really wild (Yeah, I’m really that boring).
In addition, my personality as an introvert inhibits this combative thought, similar to one I imagine a prey have when in the face of their predator.
I just want to run when I am confronted with having to attend social events filled with strangers. I know many people have these same sort of feelings toward networking—feeling super awkward, insecure and out of place in the room—and that is normal.
The people I perceive to be not-normal are those who don’t feel that way. Yeah, you know them. Those weird people who thrive in a social environment… Yeah, quite the contrary.
Currently, I am already stressing my attendance at this event. I go every month, meet new people every time, yet somehow it never gets less awkward.
Still, as much as I want to cop out of going, I never regret attending once I am there. This is something I have to remind myself of every time I try to convince myself, “I can’t go this time, I… [Insert excuse here]”.
The first networking event I ever attended, I stayed in the back of the hall with my notebook scribing, “The, The, The” over and over again. Yup, I was essentially a procrastinating SpongeBob. (See below)
Luckily, my mentor had finally arrived and I stuck to him like white on rice.
I am not proud of such clinginess (Yes, boys, you’ve been warned), but it was like being at a party where the person you came with is the only one you know in the whole room.
Thankfully, he began to introduce me to other seasoned investors at the event as his assistant, and finally after 45 minutes of being a wallflower, my mouth had opened.
“Uhhh, yeah… I help Mark find deals,” I stuttered.
“Oh that’s great. What market do you focus in?”
“I look in North Jersey, Central Jersey, and Shore Points.”
They laughed jovially.
“So, all of New Jersey basically.”
I realize then my focus was probably too broad.
For a follow-up embarrassment, they asked, “How many deals have you done with Mark?”
Where of course, I shamefully answered, “None, but we almost had a one once.”
I could not get over the magnitude of humiliation I experienced talking to these experienced investors about almost-deals.
Still, after the event had concluded, I made some viable connections with people who I continue to see every month and make more and more connections every time.
These networking events are far outside of my comfort zone, but that is just the reason why I push myself to go.
Networking is scary and tiresome but so necessary because one connection can catapult your success.
You never know who you might meet.