Building Relationships – A Lesson From My Mom

It was on this day three years ago that my mom “was entered into rest,” as it says on the memorial card we got from the cemetery. As anyone who has mourned a loved one knows, there are always those days when it’s hard to believe she’s not around. But in reality, she IS still around. She’s in my dreams fairly regularly. In fact, I probably see her more now than when she was alive. And I am still learning lessons from her.

A few months ago, my brother texted me that she was in one of his dreams. “Ugh, even when she’s dead, we’re still arguing about politics!” Yep, see they never leave you. Ha Ha.

On this anniversary, I offer tribute to her, as the inspiration for this business of networking strategies for quiet people.

I had actually decided to close my previous business, Zen Rabbit Baking Company, a month or so before she was diagnosed. So it wasn’t because of her illness or passing; it simply happened to coincide. The following two years were about learning to be okay with being in transition, okay with not having a clear focus. When I was ready for my next venture and considering ideas, I heard Eben Pagan ask this question: What is it you’re great at, that you actually wouldn’t have guessed people would pay you to teach them because it’s so natural and automatic to you?

Remember Curly from City Slickers?

The answer for me was building relationships. That’s my Curley’s one thing. I have friends I’ve had since I was a baby. Where did that innate ability to maintain friendships, and later business relationships, come from?

It came from my mom. She maintained relationships with her friends the same way. My mom and Aunt Carole were friends since they were five years old. Then they went to college together and raised their kids together. My Auntie Ann was her college roommate and she stayed friends with her throughout her life, even though they lived almost 1,300 miles apart. My Aunt Marlene and Aunt Peggy. And remember, this was long before social media and unlimited talk & text plans.

I look around now and see many of my high school classmates are still friends with each other. So maybe it’s not that unusual. But I’ve also seen studies that say just less than half the population has two or more and 48% have only ONE close friend on whom they can call in a crisis. That’s unbelievably sad! All these people feeling isolated, lonely and disconnected.

Despite all the online connection, face to face, human connection is still the way we’re wired. Living in tribes is how humans started out and likely how we will continue.

How Are You at Building Relationships?

Do you have personal tribe of friends on whom you can call at any hour of the day or night? I’m talking about people outside the crazy dynamics of your immediate family. When it comes to your business, do you have a tribe of supporters who would walk over broken glass for you? If not, because they can be critical to your success, how can you find or build one?

Speaking of tribes, have you read Seth Godin’s book “Tribes” yet?

Here is exactly the reason why in-person networking is so vital. As I said, face to face communication is still how humans are wired to build trust and get to really know and like each other. When you join organizations such as the National Speakers Association, or the National Association of Professional Organizers, or eWomenNetwork, or Her Corner, or a Chamber of Commerce, AND you go to networking events and conferences regularly, you put yourself in the position to start and build important relationships.

Yes, it can be scary at first. You feel like you’re the only loser who doesn’t already know everyone. And the more events you go to, the easier it becomes.

You’ve GOT this. You CAN figure it out. Almost everyone does, eventually. If you’d like a little help to shorten the learning curve, or you’d like to go about it a bit more strategically, set a free, 15-minute “Find Out More” call with me here.

Not everyone is or will become as outgoing as my mom was, and that’s okay. I recently posted on Facebook about a presentation I gave called “Ignore Mom’s Advice & DO Talk to Strangers – How to Overcome Your Fear of Networking & Build Strong Relationships for Business Success.” My mom’s friend Tina commented, “I had to chuckle at the title because your mom was ALWAYS talking to strangers.”

You Don’t Have to Talk to Everyone!

Yes, Ha Ha, I didn’t necessarily inherit that characteristic from her. You won’t find me chatting up strangers on the Metro. However, I am grateful for the unspoken lesson from my mom on how to build and maintain relationships and the learned skill of starting conversations at networking events.

When you’re ready to raise your game and want to apply my tips and strategies so you can more easily find clients and get referrals, schedule that free, 15-minute “Let’s Chat” call.

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