As a child, I remember going to the grocery store with my mom and every trip she would either run into someone she knew or make a new friend. She is the mom that fit the phrase, ""knows no stranger". As a kid being dragged around the grocery store, I found this skill of hers to be annoying. Mainly because every trip took twice as long as it needed to. Now I realize how her skill of meeting people, that I once deemed annoying, actually taught me an impactful life lesson.
I realize now that my mother's "know no stranger" mentality was very similar to a mom's version of networking. Though my mom was never in the business world, she was a woman that when she said, "lets get down to business" she meant it. While growing up, I remember on several occasions when my mom needed or wanted something, she would make one phone call and BOOM it was done. As a kid, I thought she had magical powers. In reality, she just knew the right people to call when in need. She always knew someone, who knew someone, that could help. At one point, I thought she was a secret super hero and I wanted those powers.
For me, networking was not a skill that came natural like it did for my mom. I had to be intentional about it. I had to learn how to step out of my comfort zone to meet new people and I also had to learn how to connect with them. Introducing myself to a complete stranger seemed like an impossible task.
It wasn't until I entered my mid 20's that I was put in a job that required me to network. I was no longer able to stay in the confines of my comfort zone. I had to dig deep and find the courage to meet new people and build new relationships. The first few times were rough, but as I learned how to quickly connect and find common ground with others it became easier and easier. But it took a lot of practice.
Now, I love meeting new people. You might be able to look at me and attach the same phrase to me as I did as a child to my mother, "know no stranger". It was because I reached out of my comfort zone that I now have a whole rolodex of diverse friends. I call everyone I meet my friend, no matter where I met them and I am proud to say, "I have some really cool friends". It comes back to my willingness to open my mouth and extend a warm hello.
My challenge for you this week is to be like me and dig down deep for the courage to introduce yourself to someone new. It can be at work, with friends or even at the grocery store. There are so many amazing and incredible people in this world and all it takes is a friendly "Hello".