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Forget Networking > A Nourishing Alternative 🥰

Forget Networking > A Nourishing Alternative 🥰

Many people (especially introverts and anyone with a big heart) feel some dread around the typical networking expectations to move your career or business forward. And yet, there’s also that “should” feeling about networking. 😟

I promise you there are ways it can feel good, even great, when you need to connect regarding your career or business. It can simply be about making genuine one-to-one connections. And for people with a big heart, like you, you’re already good at that. Genuine connection is nourishing!

A good starting place to make it feel better is to stop calling it networking. I recommend words like “heart-to-heart connecting” instead. Then I feel great about it and know what to focus on. It’s not salesy or icky. It’s a genuine caring about people and connection. And that’s all it takes.

We’ve been talking about this in my heart-centered business groups this month and I’ll share some of what has happened.

For homework, I had my group members listen to this podcast discussing authentic one-to-one outreach, about exactly how to keep it simple and enjoyable. It features Caroline Leon, a conscious business coach, who happens to be a fellow HSP introvert.

Caroline says it’s not about selling or asking for anything. And then it happens to help you too, when you let go of getting something from it. I agree.

My group members are discovering how fun and easy it can be with this heart-centered perspective on board. As they’re trying this on, they’re reporting in so much goodness, feeling more connected, and more freedom from old ideas about networking.

image: doodle with sparks
All these little moments of outreach can build up into a network of sparked and alive connections. Let it begin with me.


Here’s a wonderful example of what happened to me when doing this. I sent an email to someone who took my Career Clarity Course last year to say I was thinking of her and was curious how it was going now.

It was great to hear back, and then it led to a video of her talking about her experience with the course and how good she’s feeling now. (That video is now on the career course info page.) It makes me smile to see her big smile.

Whatever you want to call it —
heart-to-heart connection, authentic outreach, tending to friendships —
we could probably all stand to do it more.
For ourselves, for others, and the greater good.

Let’s Create More Connection for the Greater Good

Lack of meaningful connection is a major problem in many societies today. A loneliness epidemic, some say. Jessica Gifford from ProjectConnect shared this sad statistic with me: “According to the U.S. Surgeon General, over half of Americans are lonely, with serious consequences to their mental and physical health.”

We have gotten more used to phone screens and Netflix, and are way out of practice with genuine one-to-one connection. We’re not getting our basic connection needs met despite how much inundation of light “connection” online.

We can be part of what’s needed in the world today, as we stretch our authentic outreach muscles.

It can be easy: Send some simple notes to say “Thinking of you.” No need to complicate it.

More connection can actually help reduce that sense of overwhelm.

It’s good for the soul. And can make life easier in many ways, personally and professionally.

Yeh, but what about…?

  • “But don’t I need to still ask for something?”
    – Sometimes you do want to invite them to one of your offers or to ask a question, yes. But before that, it’s about genuine connection and keeping those lines of connection open. Then, invitations and questions can flow more naturally. For initial outreach, a simple “thinking of you” kinda note is nice, and you can include your email signature with more about what you’re up to (e.g., website, blog, LinkedIn link).
  • “But what if it leads to a flood of email replies or requests for making plans?”
    – Give yourself breathing room for how soon you reply and whether and when you make a plan. Just because you say hello doesn’t obligate you to more. You get to have boundaries.
  • “But I don’t know who to reach out to.”
    – You’d be surprised. Slow down, look through your contacts. They all count, not just work-related connections. Listen to the podcast I mentioned, where she addresses this. It will help.

For More Heart-centered Connection

Check out these nourishing options:

  • ProjectConnect
    To help address the loneliness epidemic, ProjectConnect is a group curriculum that provides a step-by-step road map for helping participants build connection quickly. You can get training to run ProjectConnect groups in schools, workplaces, community centers, or other groups. It’s making a difference.
  • Retreats for Introverts and HSPs
    A space to rest, embrace who you are, enjoy meaningful connections with kindred spirits (when you feel like it), and immerse yourself in nature and creativity. (Use BLACKSWAN50 for $50 off.)
  • SOULpreneurs Circle
    I host a small group for heart-centered solopreneurs who might be introverted and/or highly sensitive. It’s great for camaraderie, calming, and growing our businesses together in alignment with who we are.

I hope you enjoy some meaningful connection soon.

Picture of Val Nelson

Val Nelson

I’ve been a self-employed career/business/purpose coach since 2009. I help introverts and HSPs (like me) who want to make a difference — in a way that fits our practical needs too.
Val Nelson | Coaching | Groups | Courses | Newsletter | LinkedIn

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