Episode 222: Does Networking Freak You Out? Cara Steinmann Makes It Fun

Game On Girlfriend Ep222

It’s time to take back the word networking so it doesn't freak us out. Connecting with other entrepreneurs should be something you enjoy doing because you care about people -- that is what’s at the heart of networking.

There's so much that we can do with that without having to feel weird, that rely on your strengths, and that comes naturally as you continue to grow your business.

 

Cara Steinmann is the founder of the Ravel Collective. She helps purpose driven women who are service providers build strategic networks that lead to referrals, collaboration, visibility and fun.

 

If you've ever thought, I don't like this part of my life, or I'd like to pivot around this area, and yet you felt guilty about it, this conversation is going to be really helpful for you. It was very honest. It was very gentle. But it was also kind of unusual in its vulnerability.

Pivot to focus on networking

Cara was working in marketing for 15 years, and when Covid hit she realized she hated her business and she was miserable. She was scared because she knew she didn’t want to work someone else, but she also couldn’t picture what she wanted to do. It was like her imagination went out the window.

 

“I just felt like if I could figure out what I was naturally really good at and what I enjoyed, everything would just be so much easier than it was,” says Cara.

She acknowledged that feeling miserable in her business was a hard thing to admit to herself. Otherwise, she has a great family and loves her life; she didn’t want to seem ungrateful.

Cara fired her clients and blew through her savings trying to figure out who she was. She earned a coaching certification, and while it wasn’t her next step, Cara says she learned so much about self-limiting beliefs.

 

“It really kind of set me on this path of, ‘well, I must not believe that I can have it all, that I can be happy,’” says Cara. “There's something here that's preventing me from making the changes that I want, or having the kind of happiness that I want. I have to figure out what it is. But we have this idea that we're supposed to just figure out what we're supposed to do, and that's it, right?”

 

There will be iterations and changes in your life and business and that’s okay, says Cara. Experimenting and trying different things is part of growing. She says that working on personal development helps your business and networking because we can’t really connect with someone unless we really know ourselves.

Radical self-awareness

“I love the idea of radical self-awareness, because there's this idea that we want to be this person; or we're supposed to be this,” says Cara. “But what about stopping and taking a look at really who we are and what we do best and what we don't do best -- and reframing those things and being okay with that?”

We've been in a cookie cutter assembly line machine for so long. We all think we're supposed to want the same things, and we're supposed to be good at the same things. Cara points to social media and notes that sometimes we start comparing ourselves, and it creates not only this idea that we’re not doing enough but also creates envy and jealousy that can pit us against each other – I have to be more unique, I have to be better. And this is not true.

 

Cara used personality tests, StrengthsFinder and Kolbe to help her find where she was most consistent. She also figured out her core values, which she found to be most valuable of all.

 

“I might not be able to go forward without reducing some of these self-limiting beliefs or reframing them, but I won't know which direction to go unless I know what my values are,” says Cara.

 

Watch: Stop Fighting for Your Limiting Beliefs

Choosing who to network with

Money comes into your business through people. Cara says you can have friends who are in a position to refer you that might be all you need. Be intentional about who you decide to network with.

“When you like people, you want them to win and you send them business, and you buy things from them,” says Cara. “It’s not that complicated; just work with people you like.”

 

It's really easy to find those people if you look at how they act and what they say.

 

The level of confidence it takes to just put stuff out there and not be a perfectionist about it is a challenge. There is a big deficit in women, especially when it comes to creative confidence.

Building reciprocity

There is an opportunity there to build reciprocity by sending the person a message saying how it resonated with you, or telling them they did a great job. People want to be praised for the content they create. Eventually you might get to a deeper level with someone who is in a position to refer you or help you get visibility.

 

Reciprocity is that feeling you get when someone has done something nice for you, and you want to return that feeling to them. One of the easiest ways in the world to connect, to expand your network and build reciprocity is by introducing to people that you know, who don't know each other, but who would benefit from knowing each other.

 

Then they both feel like you did something nice for them and maybe they'll think of you next time they run into somebody who might be a good person for you to know. It’s incredible how much trust transfers when you introduce someone to someone else.

 

Having people in your network that you are willing to be vulnerable with, they can mirror back to you things that you can't see.

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