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Play The Game - Make Networking "Work" For Your Business

Career

How many times have you heard other Entrepreneurs talk about networking? It could be an event they attended last night, last week, online, offline…..it’s exhausting just listening to others discuss the topic, let alone doing it for your own Business! When it comes to marketing your Business, there is no one magical key that will make it work, you have to do a little bit of everything, including networking.


Everyone networks and sometimes, they don’t even know it. What exactly is networking, well there are tons of definitions and most of them are customized to sell someone’s product or service as it relates to networking.

But the plain definition is the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or Business according to Webster’s Dictionary.

The keyword in that definition is productive, meaning it's working for both parties. That’s what this column will cover over the next few months. Some items you need to have in check before you start networking are:

Your Goals

What are your goals for networking, other than gaining more customers? Think about the other things you need in your Business, strategic partners, other services you need, when you have a need, you become a referral for someone else. How often do you want to network and how much time do you have. Like anything else worthwhile, this process takes time.

The Pitch

What do you want others to know about your Business? When you are asking for referrals, your needs will change as your Business progresses, so painting a picture for others to see is crucial to getting quality referrals. Keeping it fun and fresh.

How You Plan to Build Relationships

Networking in a sense is helping others so listening is key to networking. Asking questions is the key to the networking kingdom, the more questions you ask of others, the better you will be able to help them and vice versa.

Where You Plan to Network

Chamber events, trade shows, women-only, most cities you can find events to attend for breakfast, lunch and after hours. Keep your networking efforts under control and yield the best results by creating a networking calendar.

"The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work." -- Robert Kiyosaki

Integrating Networking Into Your Daily Life

Becoming a master connector will not only help others you do Business with but it will help you. Again, your needs are a referral for someone else, just like someone else’s need may be a referral for you.

Evaluation

Like any other marketing activity, you need to monitor your results. Make changes if necessary and always look to improve your results.

6min read
Health

What Sexual Abuse Survivors Want You to Know

In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.


For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.

Believe it or not, I am happy about that.

The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.

It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).

These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.

So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.

Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.

The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."

In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.