• Top 7 Benefits of Networking

     

    Networking is a skill like any other you learn for your business, but sadly, it’s generally not taught in school. Typically, it’s something people pick up as they go, and speaking from personal experience, unless you’ve been given good advice or examples, chances are that you’ll make mistakes along the way. Keep making them, and those mistakes can cost you opportunities if they aren’t corrected.

    The benefits of networking is the first part of a series about networking. Over the five articles, you’ll learn what networking is and why you should do it; where to find events and opportunities to do it; how to prepare for it; what to do when you get there; and how to follow up to make your efforts worth it.

    What is Networking?

    The definition of networking isn’t really what people think it is in real use. Many people will tell you it’s showing up at an event, collecting a lot of business cards, talking about your business to anyone who will listen, and maybe making a pitch if they saw a “perfect in”.

    Wikipedia defines it as “…a socioeconomic business activity by which businesspeople and entrepreneurs meet to form business relationships and to recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities, share information and seek potential partners for ventures.” The first “definition” is just about the opposite of what you want to do, and the second one sounds pretty dry. But Wikipedia does touch on the real kernel of truth: relationships.

    networking colleagues

    In practical use in the real world, it can be summed up like this:

    • Networking is a long game that goes far beyond where you initially meet your connections. It’s not just about landing a job or finding your next employee. It’s something you should be doing your whole career, and it will help you build your career.
    • In networking, it’s not about the quantity of introductions of yourself you make, but it’s the quality of the relationships you build (which will help you get quality introductions).
    • Growth is key benefit in networking. This happens both personally and professionally by what you receive from others, but more importantly, what you generously give.

    Top 7 Benefits of Networking to You and Your Business

    1. Networking is an important factor in success.

    Many people who are the most successful in business (maybe the ones that make it look so easy and seem to get all the breaks?), have tapped into a strong network of like-minded individuals that are helping them along the way. You can access that kind of help if you think of it as an investment by putting your time and energy into creating mutually helpful connections. Think of it as part of your career development.

    First, you have to be visible in your community. You have to get out there and connect with people. It’s not called net-sitting. It’s not called net-eating. It’s called NETWORKING. You have to work at it.  — Dr. Ivan Misner of BNI

    2. Meet influential people.

    They say “It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know.” I have one more thing to add to that. “It’s not just who you know, but who knows you.” And I don’t just mean getting an introduction and exchanging cards. That’s the tip of the iceberg, and it’s going to take some time to explore it all. Once you have made some connections, the doors can open to meet people many levels above you in business. As a result, meeting these influencers happen from mutual connections, and it’s a big benefit of networking.

    3. Personal recommendations are a lot more likely.

    There’s nothing like meeting face-to-face, time and again, to really get to know another person. It allows trust to build. Once someone knows you well, they are more likely to help you, perhaps by facilitating a meeting with a higher level person in a company that could direct business or a job your way. This can make all the difference if you’re job-hunting, want to make a career change, or starting a new business. Personal recommendations come with the trust you build in knowing someone well.

    Networking event group

    4. Make real friendships.

    People that you meet at networking events, especially those that are in the same field, understand what other people in your life may not (for instance, what a company going public means, or the frustrations of client troubles). Once you get to know each other better, you can be each other’s sounding board, cheerleader, and support system. It’s the logical next step in forming a friendship, and continuing it could be lifelong. After all, you already have a lot in common!

    Call it a clan. Call it a network. Call it a tribe. Call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. — Jane Howard

    5. Allows you to help others.

    You should approach networking with the mindset of “What can I offer?” rather than “What’s in it for me?”, otherwise you will limit your success. This is the chance for you to be as generous as you possibly can, because helping others is the way to not only pay it forward, but to make an impression that lasts. Forming a mentorship (whether you’re on the giving or receiving side) could be invaluable to your career development.

    6. Opens new resources.

    No one can know everything, but communicate regularly with enough people and you are more likely to tap into the latest news of what’s happening. People you meet in networking will have recommendations about things like business coaches, professional development opportunities, the best people to hire for a job or outsourcing, early information about job openings or shakeups in the industry, books to read, and workshops to attend… The list really can go on, but let’s leave it at knowing that there’s a wealth of information out there, and people will share it with you.

    People networking at event

    7. Boosts your self-esteem and self-confidence.

    There are plenty of readers that will identify as introverts and convince themselves that that means they can’t meet people easily, therefore networking isn’t for them. Networking is for everyone in business. Regular attendance is important, so faces will become familiar over time. Remember, you’re there to be helpful. For instance, you’ll probably be asked for advice, because your opinion will matter. There will almost certainly be an opportunity to offer your skills and expertise because people are valued for what they bring. It may be out of your comfort zone, but that’s where the growth is.

     

    You may be wondering…

    …why I didn’t mention some other benefits that seem obvious, like getting new leads, making sales, hiring an employee, or booking a client. These are all things that can happen at networking events. Of course, the underlying agenda of everyone is to grow their business, but I argue that the deeper nature of business networking is building each other up as we build our careers. In improving ourselves and helping others do the same, the rest will follow. And we won’t have to do it on our own.

    Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity. — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

    To sum up, this and the upcoming articles about networking are written in the hopes of saving others from making the same mistakes I’ve made. For instance, I absolutely know that I’ve missed opportunities to create real connections with people who could have helped me greatly, and all because I didn’t understand how to use networking the right way. I know it’s never too late to develop new skills, so if you’re up for it, follow along. Up next in the series – How to Prepare for Successful Networking. Get it right in your inbox, along with all the upcoming articles. (scroll down to subscribe)

     

     

     


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    networking pin image - 7 top benefits of networking in businessnetworking pin image - how networking can make all the difference to your careerNetworking pin image - 7 important reasons you need networking to be really successful

    networking pin image with quote - it's not called net-sitting. it's not called net-eating. it's called networking. you have to work at it. ivan misner

    networking pin image with quote - call it a clan. call it a tribe. call it a network. call it a family. whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.

    networking pin image quote - nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity - h jackson brown

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 20 Ways to Cope with Anxiety – Mom and Teen Tested

    Green plants next to a stepped waterfall with text overlay: 20 Ways to Cope with Anxiety - Mom and Teen Tested


     

    Anxiety is something often ignored, misdiagnosed, and misunderstood. It’s normal to feel anxious at certain times and everyone does, but when anxiety begins to interfere with your life, it’s most likely an anxiety disorder.  Anxiety is something several members of my family cope with (me included!), but it wasn’t until my middle child was diagnosed that I began to understand that there are effective ways to help ourselves deal with it.

    National prevalence data indicate that nearly 40 million people in the United States (18%) experience an anxiety disorder in any given year. To learn more about anxiety and anxiety disorders: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety

    Over the years, through research, professional recommendations, and testing ways to cope with anxiety by my children and me, we’ve collected over twenty different effective ways to cope with anxiety. We find they can stave off, lessen the impact, or at least shorten the duration of our anxiety. It’s all about living as normal a life as we can. (I often remind my teens, and myself, that “normal” is a subjective term!)

    All of these are good coping skills for anxiety, but choose a few to get started and add more along the way.

    This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Check with your doctor or mental health professional.

     


    Twenty Ways to Cope with Anxiety – Mom & Teen Tested

    1. Control your breathing

    Controlling your breathing will help you feel more in control of yourself and your reaction to the way your anxiety makes you feel. It helps give oxygen to your brain, relaxes your muscles, and encourages you focus on something other than the thoughts that are causing the anxiety.

    2. Positive affirmations

    Clear out the negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Get into the habit of repeating a few of them several times a day, especially in the morning and before bed. They help align your thoughts on healthier ideas. (I know they have a kind of cheesy reputation in some circles, but saying kind things to yourself is a good for you, and much better than the negativity that’s rattling around in your mind.) My favorite app to use is ThinkUp, but you can check out others in a Top 10 list here.

    multi-colored trees next to a wooden bridge with text overlay If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath. Amit Ray

     

    3. Meditate for mindfulness

    I was late to the game in using meditation, despite many friends, professionals, and research telling me how great it was. Meditation has been shown to help anxiety, can actually change the brain, and a whole host of other benefits, and it’s been something that my teens and I enjoy doing together. Our favorite guided meditation app is Smiling Mind. It really does make a difference for our overall day-to-day, so don’t be like me and wait any longer.

    4. Do yoga

    The benefits of yoga include better mental focus, increased balance, burned calories, and stretched tight muscles. Controlled breathing is usually a part of it, which is something it and meditation have in common, therefore it also can be calming for anxious thoughts. I have truly lost a lot of flexibility and balance over the years, and it’s been a challenge, but I’m seeing real improvements and benefits from it. If I can do it, you can, too.

    5. Get out into nature

    There’s a lot of scientific research to show that nature is very calming, and that our brainwaves settle into better patterns when we spend time there. Some research says 10 minutes is enough, others say 20 minutes should be the target time. I say that if the effort has been made to get outside, get in as much as you can. And this doesn’t mean you have to go to the middle of the deep woods. Go to a park, sit under a tree, or walk around your own back yard. It’s the perfect time for #6.

    6. Engage your senses

    We often go about our days mindlessly. This skill helps us be mindful. It’s also a great way to distract attention from negative thoughts. The technique is to choose five things you see, four things you hear, three things you feel (touch), two things you smell, and one thing you taste (in my family, we imagine tasting chocolate if there’s nothing else available). Take a few minutes to be mindful of your surroundings.

    Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

    7. Take a warm shower or bath

    This is a classic way to relax and calm your thoughts. I find that the process of taking a shower or bath is often enough to disengage negative thoughts. The bath or shower is a great place to be alone with your thoughts, however, and sometimes that’s not what we want when feeling particuarly anxious. My family members have playlists of upbeat music they use during that time. (Parents: Having timed playlists also helps eliminate overlong showers or baths.) In any case, the warm water is soothing and it gives you a chance to relax.

    8. Use essential oils

    This section could also be called “Things that smell good and make you feel happy”, which is exactly what I use essential oils for. Citrus oils are used liberally around my house because the bright scents are uplifting for us. For others, it might be warm cinnamon or floral blends. Find the scents that you enjoy and use them to help create a pleasant environment.

    9. Self-care

    Stress is something we all deal with, but anxiety can cause a stressful situation to blow up out of proportion. Self-care can help alleviate stress. Personally, having time alone is essential for me and it’s something I have to go out of my way to create. But, I do it anyway. Whatever you consider for your own self-care, choose something and do it regularly. Paying quality attention to yourself isn’t selfish or a waste of time. It’s healthy and important.

    10. Eat healthy

    This really is another form of self-care, but eating healthy is so important in all areas of your life. Managing your anxiety will be more difficult if your body isn’t healthy, and that includes your brain. We pay special attention to sugar in my family, and here’s why.

    Woman in workout clothes stretching with woods blurred in background and text overlay You don't have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you. Dan Millman

     

    11. Get moving

    Go to the gym, go for a walk, turn on some tunes and dance, attend a yoga class, take a ride on your bike, or any other way you choose to get moving. All that motion helps distract the anxious thoughts, and the resulting endorphins are our body’s way to reward us for the exercise.

    12. Get your Zzzzz’s

    Getting enough rest is important for your mind and your body. But anxious thoughts often keep us awake or wake us up in the night. (I’ve seen my share of 3 a.m. wake up calls from my anxious brain.) A good and consistent bedtime routine is a must, and for that, or to get back to sleep, I need some help. I’ve found using an audio app to be the best solution. My choice is Relax Melodies. I use the free version, but the premium has so many cool features that I intend to upgrade to take advantage of them. (Unpaid review – it’s just that good!)

    13. Limit your social media

    There’s nothing like comparison-itis, family or friend rants, or negative news posts to stir up anxious thoughts, and social media is a prime culprit. If you find that the obviously perfect lives of your contacts (they’re not, of course), online arguments, or troubling world news trigger anxiety, then do yourself a favor and limit your time there. This is equally important for teens.

    14. Be productive

    Diverting your attention from your anxious thoughts to accomplishing something, however small, is a great way to cope with them. Choose something off your to-do list that you can complete quickly. Once you’ve done that, you can tackle the jobs on the list that are making you anxious, since you’re on a roll. (Right?) Another way to help alleviate anxiety and something that causes it is clearing the clutter. Again, set yourself a small task, like clearing a table. It’s a start, and embracing decluttering is going to make your environment less stressful.

    Yellow and pink flowers with text overlay Anxiety is the worst use of your imagination. Creativity is the best. Deepak Chopra

     

    15. Get creative

    Creativity is a great outlet for stress and anxiety. If you don’t have hobbies, I recommend getting one. Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean painting or adult coloring books (although those are great), but it could mean doing crossword puzzles, gardening, sewing, building computers… Really, the list is endless. In short, use your imagination for something positive and creative.

    16. Listen or watch uplifting podcasts or videos

    I’m a big believer in keeping things positive and feeding my mind with only the best ideas. If you haven’t listened to podcasts or videos like TedTalk, you should give it a try. Here’s a few links to get you started.

    17. Spend time with someone who loves you

    Whether this is a friend, a family member, a spouse/partner, or your pet, spend time with someone who is non-judgemental, caring, and helpful in relieving stress, not causing it. My daughter will often come to me for a hug and snuggle when anxiety starts. There’s nothing like laughing, having an engaged conversation, or loving touch to help melt stress and anxiety when they start.

    18. Keep a journal

    Using a journal will be helpful in a couple of ways. First of all, it will allow you to say what you want to vent in a safe place and to get things off your chest and, hopefully, out of your mind. Secondly, it will allow you to keep track of things, times, people or situations that seem to trigger anxiety. By recognizing a pattern, you may be able to avoid an anxious time for yourself in the future.

    Rough brick wall corner with blurred woods behind it text overlay Owning our story and loving ourselves through that proscess is the bravest thing we'll ever do. Brene' Brown

     

    19. Let it go

    Anxiety is often characterized by recurring negative thoughts, and there’s nothing like rehashing an old hurt or disappointment for the gazillionth time to get things stirred up. Forgiving and forgetting can be difficult, but getting anxious about the past on a regular basis is tough, too. Working through those feelings will be beneficial. We can’t change the past or what happened, but we can change what and how we think about them, and, consequently, our reactions.

    20. Talk with a professional

    There may come a point when the coping skills you’re using are enough. There are certainly others that can be incorporated into your daily life. I’m happy to say that the stigma of seeking counseling is less than what it was in the past, and there are programs for all income levels. It’s a logical next step if your anxiety is interfering with your life on any regular basis.


     

    My teens and I may have anxiety, but together, and incorporating these coping skills, we’re happy and healthy individuals living great lives.

    If you’ve benefitted from this article, write your comments below. Save any or all of these quotes and Pinterest-ready images. And please share this article with someone you think could benefit from it.

     

    Wishing you all the best and good living,

     

     

     

    listing of 20 anxiety coping skills

     

     

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  • Five Power Quotes from Strong Women Role Models

    gradient background with text overlay: 5 Powerful Quotes from Strong Women Role Models

     

    This is a collection of powerful quotes from women who are influential role models for women and girls all over the world. If you’re looking for a shot of inspiration, these five women deliver. But, there are so many quotable and impressive women role models out there it was hard to choose, so I’ll be featuring more of them really soon. (Subscribe so you don’t miss them!)  Read on…


    Maya Angelou

    black and white mountain and sky scene with a text overlay: I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass. Maya Angelou

    Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry. Maya is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. source

    Maya has an innate ability to cut to the chase, while still bringing a nurturing feeling to the conversation. I’ve always thought of her as a no-nonsense mother figure.

     

     

     

     

    Dolly Parton

    Sunset with wispy clouds with text overlay: If your actions create a legacy that inpires others to dream more, learn more and become more then you are an excellent leader. Dolly Parton

    Dolly Parton is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist,record producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and philanthropist. source 

    She should be an inspiration to anyone wanting to become something “more”. Dolly’s truly her own creation, and the life she’s built when faced with so many challenges in her early life is remarkable. Read up on her if you aren’t familiar with her story.

     

     

     

     

    Diane Mariechild

    Flowers with a big sky shown with text overlay: A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.

    Diane Mariechild is an insightful author and leads workshops and lectures about women and Buddhism. She helps expand women’s mind through spirituality.

     

     

     

     

    Iyanla Vanzant

    sunset over a lush mountain top with the text overlay The way to achieve your own success is to help someone else get it first. Ilyana Vanzandt

    Iyanla Vanzant is an American inspirational speaker, lawyer, spiritual teacher, author, life coach and television personality. source 

    She’s a powerful speaker, a spiritual leader and an influential visionary.

     

     

     

     

    Oprah Winfrey

    night sky full of stars with text overlay saying Surround yourself with only people who will lift you higher. Oprah Winfrey

    Oprah Winfrey is an American media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer and philanthropist. source

    Honestly, you didn’t think I wouldn’t include her in this list? Whatever your personal opionion might be of her, her productivity and influence are forces to reckon with. She’s an empire-builder and we love her for it.

     

     


    These quotes from influential women role models are powerful. Use them to inspire and motivate you, and don’t ever forget you’re an amazing woman with plenty of strength, influence and passion to make your mark in the world.

     

     

     

    Want more quote graphics? Check these out:

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