This month I’ve been immersed in conversations about love and reflecting on how love can open doorways to success, fulfillment, and joy. Love can even help create networking opportunities that might not be there otherwise. You may be wondering, what does love have to do with my soul-centered project or business? Well, a lot. And especially the kind of love you show yourself.
What is Love, Anyway?
I’m not talking about giving yourself a little pat on the back once in a while or treating yourself to a brownie when you’re feeling blue. I’m talking about deep, authentic self-acceptance that comes from a place of compassion and understanding.
None of us is perfect, but maybe you beat yourself up about your perceived failures or lesser qualities. Maybe your inner critic is at full volume most of the time, telling you that you don’t have the talent, you don’t look the right way, you don’t know enough about success to ever find it. You keep telling yourself that you’ll never reach your goals. In short, you are not being loving and nurturing to yourself at all, and this is hindering your willingness and ability to get out there and network effectively. These negative, destructive thoughts are major obstacles to your success!
You Always Hurt the One You Love?
Take a moment to write down your most distressing self-criticisms that prevent you from networking. Some of these might be:
- you don’t have appropriate clothing or clothes that you like
- you don’t have business cards or a website
- you feel too young or too old, and are worried others will think this
- you will only meet professionals in your field who are more knowledgeable than you, and they will not respect you
- you worry that others will think you’re terrible or a waste of time
We all need to live in the present – we can’t try to live up to a standard that’s in the future, or simply isn’t happening now, such as “I can’t get new clothes until I’m thinner.” Image is important and a reflection of how you feel about yourself; at first, “image” might not seem soul-centered, but it 100% is. You need to present yourself in a way that reflects how you feel about yourself and also how you want to be perceived. This isn’t just about your energy and personality, but literally the clothes on your back. Feeling like you don’t have the right clothes or don’t look a certain way is a serious issue that can hold you back. And being perceived as an expert is part of your physical image.
Love Can Lead the Way
Now, think about how you might combat these obstacles, and make a list. Write it down. Perhaps you could shop for a new outfit (and bring a friend who is an expert bargain hunter!). Maybe you could research free business card providers and just get the basics printed. Examine whether or not you actually need a website – many people think that it’s necessary, but depending on what your project is, you may only need the briefest of contact information.
The most important thing to address, however, is the way you treat yourself. When you are able to bring as much love, compassion, patience, and encouragement to yourself as you would to a friend, you give yourself a stable base of self-esteem you can build on.
The Power of Love
Treat yourself well by making sure you have what you need. If your business cards haven’t arrived, make sure you get other people’s contact info so you can follow up with them. If it makes you feel good, get a special case for collecting business cards.
Have one or two outfits for networking that make you feel really good. Before you go to a networking event, take the time to make yourself look beautiful, whatever that means for you. If it’s about applying makeup, do that. If it’s about styling your hair a particular way, do that. It really helps your confidence as well as the image you put forth in the world.
Finally, don’t let your inner critic tell you that you can’t do it. One of my favorite lines from the TV show Lost, is when John Locke, a paraplegic who has regained the ability to walk, is challenged by someone. To whomever tells him that something he wants to achieve is impossible or beyond his capability, he bellows, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” Kick out that mean critic, and let this be your mantra instead!
When you let your love for yourself be your guide, you become more confident in your abilities and powers, and you make a far more positive impression on those around you. That positive energy causes prospects, clients, co-workers and partners to become magnetized to you, and you can create genuine inner and outer abundance in your life!