Networking, while typically associated with extroversion, can present unique challenges for someone like me. As an extrovert, reading social cues for extended periods drains my energy. In this article, I'll share my journey through networking, shedding light on how I've navigated this terrain as an AuDHD therapist.
Redefining Networking Purpose:
Initially, networking felt obligatory, often at the behest of my employer. These encounters ranged from enjoyable social gatherings to nerve-wracking encounters with unfamiliar faces. The constant analysis of social cues left me drained, struggling to strike a balance in conversation.
Transitioning into entrepreneurship was transformative. I realized that my practice was a canvas for my creativity. The deeper I delved into understanding and defining my business, the more confidently I could discuss it. By viewing it as a passion project, networking became an opportunity to share something I was genuinely enthusiastic about.
Leveraging Multifaceted Expertise:
As a multipotentialite, my proficiency in various fields proved invaluable. This diverse knowledge base enabled me to connect with a wide range of individuals. Each encounter became an opportunity to learn, akin to diving into a new book. The key was asking the right questions, fostering deeper connections.
Starting Small, Dreaming Big:
Recognizing the limitations of isolation, I initiated a networking journey. I began by reaching out to colleagues individually, seeking to uplift fellow therapists and establish robust referral networks. Despite encountering unresponsive contacts, I remained steadfast, knowing that my community of like-minded professionals was out there.
Global Connections and Local Engagements:
Venturing into the digital realm, I joined "Unicorn Universe," a LinkedIn-based network focused on aspiring change-makers worldwide. Engaging in meaningful projects, I left with a wealth of insights to apply in my practice. Additionally, I became an active member of the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce and the Art League of Henderson County.
A Commitment to Community:
This year marked a turning point as I resolved to deepen my involvement in the local community. Through this endeavor, I've forged connections with leaders and community members who share my vision. Together, we're creating an inclusive and nurturing space for neurodiverse individuals and their families.
Not content with merely joining networks, I took the initiative to create my own. This networking group has grown exponentially, now boasting an email list of over 200 members. Additionally, it hosts a radio show and an online art shop. These platforms are not only a testament to the power of networking but also tools I'm learning to leverage within my expanding network.
Networking, even for an extrovert, comes with its unique set of challenges. For me, it's the energy expended in reading social cues. However, by embracing my role as an entrepreneur and valuing diverse expertise, I've enriched my interactions. As I continue to build bridges within my community, I am empowered by the knowledge that every connection is a step toward positive change.