Do you believe people come into your life just when you need them?  I do.  Do you believe things happen for a reason?  I do.  Do you believe that we are exactly where we are supposed to be?  I do.

And I believe all this because I am reminded repeatedly that it is true.

This is a story about re-framing fear, flipping on the positive switch and meeting someone who genuinely believes in helping others with no strings attached.

Two weeks ago I was suffering from big time self-doubt and sending lots of negative beliefs to my brain, all of which manifested in my less than chipper mood, my procrastinating behavior and my upset stomach.

It had everything to do with stepping out of my comfort zone.  I invested in an exhibitor’s table at the largest local networking event and wondered what the hell I was thinking.  Not a big deal, you say?  Well, it was to me and it stopped me in my tracks.

And, if stepping out of my comfort zone wasn’t hard enough, it got worse!  First of all, it isn’t cheap and, as a fledgling solopreneur coach who has just started her private practice, I need to be very careful about unnecessary expenses.  Then I thought, would this work for me?  Is a networking event a good place for a coach to meet her target market?  I’m a coach for women and half the people there will be men – am I sure this is the right place for me?  And, how would I find the right women?   I know women in transition don’t walk around with a flashing sign on their foreheads!  I know I didn’t.

I was making myself sick and I was seriously considering backing out of my commitment – something I don’t take lightly.  When I make a commitment, I keep it unless there is some life emergency that keeps me from it.  Throwing up from fear is not a life emergency!  And the day of the event was approaching quickly.

This is where the BELIEVE part comes in.

Enter Shelly Rice.  I didn’t seek her out.  I didn’t even know she existed.

I was speaking with a new connection, April, on Facebook about working together as referral partners for our respective businesses.  As I was giving April some background about me and my coaching practice, she felt strongly that I should connect with this woman, Shelly Rice, about a new women’s organization being formed.  I thought, “It may be good timing to connect with a women’s group – it could put me in front of my target market.”  So, April sent a Facebook friend request and put Shelly and me in touch.  What does this have to do with fear of a networking event, you ask?  You’ll see …

Later that day, Shelly and I connected on Facebook and she said she had a half hour to chat if I’d like to … so, I called her.

In the course of our getting to know each other and hearing more about Wealthy Sisters Network, the women’s organization Shelly and her partners are building, I mentioned that I was about to do this networking thing.  (This is now three days before the big, bad event.)

Shelly got all excited and congratulated me for stepping out of my comfort zone.  Her energy was contagious … I almost got excited myself but, the fear had me in a vice grip.  When I told Shelly how I was feeling (sick) and what I was thinking (quitting), she asked me if I would like to hear some “unsolicited advice.”  Why not.  What do I have to lose?

Now, here comes the best part.

This is the part about someone coming into my life at exactly the time I need her and telling me something that rocked my world at that moment.

Shelly proceeds to tell me that she has been a networking maven for over 20 years.  She has owned and sold national networking organizations.  She teaches classes on networking.  And, she is a renowned speaker on the subject.  Wow.  Who knew?

Shelly shared with me some mood altering – brain resetting – stomach settling advice.  It was as though she physically flipped me upside down, shook me a bit and flipped me upright again.  After she was done with me, the fear I had was gone – it had changed to excitement. The thoughts of procrastination vanished – I couldn’t wait to put concrete plans in place.  And, the knot in the pit of my stomach gently relaxed – I felt incredibly at peace with the decision to host a table at the largest networking event in town in three days.

What was her advice?

  1. Collect as many business cards as I can … everyone at this networking event is there for the same reason – to network.  Not to prospect (although some people are there to do just that – don’t be one of them).
  2. Tell those I meet that I will be calling them after the event to follow up and to schedule smaller gatherings of 8-10 people, in a casual place over coffee, to have more meaningful conversations and share business information.  This will begin the foundation for a strong referral network.
  3. Follow up with each one who left their card and orchestrate the small group meetings and watch what happens.
  4. Schedule a day at a Starbucks or similar casual setting; create two-hour blocks of time and let each person select their most convenient time slot (10-12, 12-2, 2-4).
  5. Ask each person to bring enough business information to share with 10 people and to bring a friend if they’d like, and be prepared to talk about their ideal client.
  6. Share connection information – eMail, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc – and connect immediately to I can begin to get to know each one better.  And then it starts!

Shelly spent 90 minutes on the phone with me making sure I was comfortable with all the information she shared and that I had a game plan to move forward with excitement!  So much for her 30-minute window of time.  She was a networking angel sent to help me and she wasn’t going to stop till she knew I had what I needed.  Bless you, Shelly!  This is why I believe!

So how did it all turn out?

  1. Everyone I spoke to at the event loved the idea of getting together in smaller groups.
  2. Everyone I connected with when I called to follow up are very excited about the idea of building a solid referral network and have scheduled to join me at one of the gatherings.
  3. The first gathering was last week and it was a great success!  Although I had some no-shows and some reschedules, I made some terrific connections with like-minded people who are serious about helping others build their business while they get help in kind.
  4. One of our members created a cloud-based collaboration site for the group to continue to share information.
  5. The next gathering is scheduled for this week … even more people are planning to attend this one.  I am excited!  The fear is gone!

I am again reminded that if you put it out to the Universe, the Universe will respond … I needed help … I met a new connection who knew someone else I should connect with … we connect and, lo-and-behold, she is exactly the person I needed to speak with that day!

Do you believe people come into your life just when you need them?  I do.  Do you believe things happen for a reason?  I do.  Do you believe that we are exactly where we are supposed to be?  I do.

Make this your day ~~ Explore  …  Dream  …   Discover!


Chief Inspiration Officer | SafeHarbor Coaching | For women facing life transitions

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