For an introvert, I seem to be at the center of a lot of social circles. You see, I’m basically a square. Nerd. Geek. But when I opened my first small business 15 years ago, I came to the realization that I would have to go outside my comfort zone and introduce myself to people. Or go hungry. Luckily, the passion I had developed for the martial arts, yoga, meditation and body work superseded my inherent shyness. I joined Toastmasters International and stayed at it for years, eventually winning an award for Most Inspirational Speaker. I attended health fairs. Then gave speeches. Then developed corporate workshops. Then traveled internationally to lead those workshops.
This weekend found me smack dab in the middle of town at the Farmer’s Market, selling my repurposed products and homemade laundry detergent. But more importantly I was networking, making new friends and educating folks about living more simply and sustainably. One woman remarked “I never thought I’d see a yoga mat here” then introduced herself as a yoga teacher who like me, recently moved from a large city to live in a peaceful place. A slightly stressed woman asked if I could teach a class at her place of business. Sure! Another seasoned yoga teacher introduced herself and said she’d send her students back for my yoga mat bags. Fellow vendors were happy to introduce themselves, told me their stories, invited me to tour their farms, and made my first sale. We are united by our passions for plants, products, people and place.
On Sunday, I was feted by this sweet friend who introduced me to her circle of women friends. Over homemade pizza from a wood fire oven, we swapped stories and got to know one another. I learned that most of them funnel their passions for creativity into making jewelry, art, and other works of beauty. Also, camps for kids, sustainable home construction, and online social work programs. What an energizing, inspiring group of strong individuals!
One conversation evolved around using social media to promote our unique messages, products and services. A savvy artist friend who is opening her first gallery space coached me on how to link this blog to the website to the online store to the Facebook page, etc. She called it triangulating, which is the perfect symbol for understanding how all these online tools link together and feed one another. I’m so thankful for the benefit of her experience & urging to put my Self out there even more.
For this square, triangulating is easy in circles!
Think: How do you share your message and passions with the world? Are you basically introverted or extroverted? What do you need for balance in your private and public life?
Say: Find a way to authentically share your Self with others, whether through social media, social circles, or individually.
Do: Support other people’s passions and gifts. Listen to their stories. Invite them into your circles.