"To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart." - Eleanor Roosevelt
You know the saying, "Success in business is all about making connections." Old school thinking would relate that to the "who you know" scenario, but in feminine leadership it's so much deeper.
My friend and business strategist, Lou D'Alo founder of PowerUp! Coaching, describes it as "doing business at the speed of love." Lou and I sat one afternoon on his wooden high-deck with the sun directly above and chatted about how connections are made. With tea in hand, birds chirping in the background and the wind lightly blowing through the beautiful Toronto landscape, we examined how we've both arrived at this point in time in our careers with the success and incredible networks we both cherish. Over laughter and fond memories, we identified that all of the truly successfully entrepreneurs in our networks are very connected.
How have these entrepreneurs developed such incredible networks?
It's simple. Go on a quest to deeply learn about people - what are their values, what do they care about, and what are they up to in the world. I've found that slowing down to 'read the story' of each person I connect with provides me with the gift of an opportunity to identify where we align with values, outlook, and objectives. With this information, I have the clarity needed to offer my support utilizing my strengths and superpowers.
Adopt A Giving And Serving Attitude
Building a strong network is about giving first.
Andrew Sobel, author of Power Relationships, believes that if you want to connect with someone you should find a way to help that person.
Adam Grant's book Give and Take offers some science to show that the most successful people have learned the art of giving as well as how to set healthy boundaries around their generosity when necessary.
"At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel." This quote by Maya Angelou really sums it up. People want to feel like you really care, like you've got their back, like you want to help them.
A recent article on Inc.com published by Jeff Haden explains that people who build extraordinary business relationships are open enough to roll up their sleeves and step in to help solve a specific problem, "Not because they want to build a better relationship, although that is certainly the result, but simply because they care."
What happens after people feel supported? They want to understand what makes you tick and what's important to you. After I spend the time to know and support those in my network, I find that most often what follows is collaboration, celebration, gratitude and/or reciprocation. When you take time to slow down and do business at the speed of love you create powerful connections who in turn have your back.
In 2013 I came across Claudia Chan's SHE Summit, an annual women's empowerment conference in New York City. After a bit of research, it was clear that Claudia's mission is closely aligned with my own and I wanted to support her efforts. During this time, I was the co-founding CEO of the national chocolate company, NibMor, which provided me with the opportunity to reach out to Claudia and sponsor her event by featuring our chocolate. I took it a step further, and reached out to Claudia about 3 weeks before the event to ask her what her biggest challenges were in getting everything finalized for the conference. She told me that her biggest challenge was sourcing other food vendors for the marketplace as sponsors. Wanting to support her deeply, I made the necessary calls to my network and was able to garner interest.
Claudia and I soon became good friends. In fact, fast forward a few years and Claudia reached out to invite me as her guest on a trip to Toronto where she was being featured as a keynote speaker. This event was a pivotal moment in my life. I've met some of my closest friends and colleagues as a result of the Toronto SociaLight event led by Theresa Laurico. Through the connections I met at this event, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Lou D'Alo, my friend mentioned at the beginning of this article.
The incredible human beings I've connected with and the deals I've closed as a result of adopting a giving spirit in my relationship with Claudia has been a 10x return. Yet, I expected nothing.
"You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want," says author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar.
Building a strong connection with others begins with accepting and valuing all the unique gifts that we each bring to the world--and believing that we are meant to share them. Accepting the beauty of ourselves lets others see who we really are, which makes them more ready to trust and receive what we have to offer. The act of loving ourselves enables us to bravely reach out and positively impact life after life after life.
Self-love and an attitude of service creates deep, long-lasting connections that positively impact the world--and pull in an army of people who will have your back! This is feminine leadership; this is doing business at the speed of love.