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      Why are you networking?

      coffee quest 1 | kourtney thomas choice discovery

      Recently, I’ve been on a quest to meet women. I feel a little bit like it’s an Epic Quest to Build the Patriarchy Fighting Army, but it’s not – yet. It’s just a something I want to do to enrich my own life.

      To my surprise, a lot of people I tell about this quest are surprised. “OMG! I can’t believe you’re having that many meetings!” they say. And I’m always kind of like, “Well, why not?” Really, for years, I’ve been thinking about and craving connection with other women, with a community. Now, I’m going after it intentionally.

      “Why not?” usually exposes a wide-eyed look on my conversation partner, like it never dawned on them to just meet people every day for an extended period of time. I think they’re thinking, “But…why?” And I think that’s a valid question.

      Yes, I’ve been about connection. And I have absolutely accomplished that with several new and wonderful friendships over the past couple of years, as well as deep connections with all of my clients. But I did not previously make any efforts to truly connect with this community – in fact, I held it at arm’s length. One foot in, one foot out the door.

      That led to a lot of negativity for me. I was resentful of my environment, I wallowed in my circumstances, I pushed away people and opportunities. If you know me, that’s the exact opposite of everything that I talk about, teach, and coach my clients on. So when we moved back, I knew I had to start practicing what I preach. Take a dose of my own medicine.

      For me, the why behind The Epic Coffee Quest is a few things:

      First, I really do like meeting new people. I like hearing stories. I like listening, and becoming a better listener. I like finding out how I can help and support other women. I like telling my story, when it’s asked. And this process at each meeting allows two women to learn how they can best support and lift each other up in the local community. That’s an ultimate goal, and it supports my mission.

      Next, I need to get out of the house. I work on my own from home every day. The internet is great, but it’s very different than the real world. I always enjoyed the social part of an office environment, so this is my way of recapturing that. (Without all the negative parts – yay!)

      Importantly, I noted that my current network was completely homogeneous. In all of the self-discovery and development I have done this year, that did not set well with me one bit. I was embarrassed, and that’s mine to deal with and work through. But, being intentional about who I’m reaching out to, and meeting women of color is something I can do, now.

      Last, this is the way for me to be positive in my life. This is how I can open up to my environment, circumstances, people and opportunities. This is a way for me to push myself and grow. To learn about myself and my community, and build meaningful relationships that can improve it, and all of us, over time. With every meeting, I come away with a brain and heart bursting with thoughts, ideas, and happiness. I’m excited and inspired, and that’s exactly how I want to feel, personally and professionally, every day.

      There are amazing people out there in the world, many very different than we are, and that’s what makes it, and all of us as human beings, so great.

      Now, I will say, that it could certainly be argued that this process is good for my business. That it’s some form of networking. It’s entirely possible that’s true. Yes, I could be making important connections that will provide opportunities down the road. I’m definitely building wonderful, meaningful, and lasting relationships. But, I want to be crystal clear in saying that that is not a motivation for me. It’s not at all part of my why for meeting new people. It’s not about getting something. I am doing this with no agenda, no expectations, and I think that is a big reason why it’s been going so well.

      When you’re genuine, people respond positively.

      Certainly, this Quest of mine coincides nicely with the fresh start feelings of a new year. But really, I started it in mid-November, and it’s a worthwhile project any time of year. If and when the whys are right, it will turn out to be a great experience vs. a total drag of time and energy.

      So, if this idea has piqued your interest even a little bit, I invite you to explore why it might be something you want to do. If your only reasons are around networking or business opportunities, I’d suggest you give it some time. It might not be the right way to go about building community and connection. But if you’re feeling like meeting new people would be a positive in your life for other reasons, it might be something to consider taking action on.

      And next week, I’ll give you some ideas for how to go about it.

      Off to a meeting!

      If you want first access to The Epic Coffee Quest: Part II and the how-to of it, make sure to sign up for my email list! And if you want to schedule a coffee date, you can always contact me directly here. Full disclosure: I actually drink herbal tea 🙂

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