Permission to NOT network. (And to wear gold pants).
Hey hustlers! I'm a hustler, too. Hustling my ideas. I like connections. I like ink. I like open doors. Networking? Loathe it. And unless there's a dance floor, I always leave the party early.
So, you know when you're at an event and you see someone who is "powerful" and you think you need something from them? And you get yourself all worked up, thinking, "I better go ask. I better go ask." And you force yourself to hit them up. Well...
There are some important distinctions to make about networking: There's fear-driven connecting, and there's pure-enthusiasm connecting. There's having unrealistic expectations about a connection, and there's in-the-realm-of-possible kinds of connections. There's got-a-shot connecting, and misplaced energy at connecting. And yes -- magic can happen from the most outlandish kinds of networking, but magic springs from inner clarity, not force.
Name dropping warning: I was at a party with Oprah's BFF, Gayle King (and Kim Kardashian, who, yes is preternaturally stunning in the flesh, but I digress.) I was in the middle of my Fire Starter Sessions media campaign. So my friend says, "Go talk to Gayle." And I'm like, "I'm not going to talk to Gayle." And my friend says, "Just go fucking talk to Gayle." I was wearing gold pleather pants, so they gave me courage.
But as if Gayle King is going to care about my book, and I'm thinking, This is dumb. I'm wasting her time, I'm wasting my time, this does not feel good or fun or smart. But hey. Let's do this.
So I approach her and pitch my book and tell her that I've been talking to an O Magazine editor about doing something with it. She was polite, despite being more interested in her hors d'oeuvres. Afterward, I felt a bit proud, but not enough to take the edge off of feeling slightly deflated and stupid.
Here's the thing: If I truly felt in my heart that I should talk to Bono, Oprah, or Jesus Christ, then baby, I am there, in killer shoes AND gold pants.
Yet with networking, we twist ourselves up with the challenge of it. We make it a matter of courage and strategy and we override our inner cues.
So ease up on the forced networking. Seriously. There are many successful people who, without networking formulas, have managed to attract the right helpful people and get attention from the merit of their work and energy.
Try this: Only bust a move when you're truly enthusiastic about doing so; when you feel you have value to offer; when you can feel a beautiful pull. Otherwise, save your energy for creating stuff, have a drink, and hit the dance floor.
Life will bring you what you need.