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Facing Your Fear Around New Relationships

AllBright. Sisterhood Works. Networking 101. Facing your fear around new connections. Read and take Marissa King’s exercise.
AllBright, Sisterhood Works: Marissa King, Anna Jones & Debbie Wosskow, OBE
© AllBright 2020

Download The Interactive Worksheet Or Read Below.

Facing Your Fear Of Making New Connections

Tools: Yourself, plus a pen and paper. Time: 20 minutes

Context: For some of us, the thought of networking sends shivers down our spine. Be it stepping into a large conference room and having to make small talk with strangers or taking part in a charity day with a colleague that you’ve never worked with before, we all have our own preferences as to how we want to network.

If you haven’t already done so, take a look at the worksheet ‘Understanding How You Network’ to assess where your energy lies when it comes to making connections, enabling you to lean into the right networking activities for you.

Along with our personal preferences, we also each have an internal self-talk when it comes to networking. For some of us, this internal self-talk can be really helpful in reassuring us, whilst for others, it does the opposite. If you suffer from a negative self-talk, try the exercise below and see if you can find a more successful mindset with which to approach networking.

Before we start, let’s set a goal or outcome we’d like to achieve following this exercise: “To feel positive and confident about my next networking opportunity.”

Instructions : Step 1: Being Aware Firstly, allow yourself to become aware of the sense of unease that you feel. Notice it, accept it and call it out. Take 5 minutes and sit somewhere comfortable, where you won’t be interrupted. Sit in silence and focus on your breath for a minute or so. Now, connect with your emotions around networking and listen to your self-talk. At the end of the 5 minutes, jot down what you notice, think and feel.

For example:
I notice that I feel ………………………………………………… (nervous/anxious/edgy/jumpy/scared/worried/fearful/embarrassed)

I notice I experience thoughts like ………………………………

Step 2: Identifying Limiting Assumptions Our emotions and thoughts come from the assumptions (and often deeper beliefs) that we hold about ourselves, others and the world around us. In this step, we are going to identify the assumptions that you might hold that could be causing the emotions and negative self-talk identified above.

Our outcome is: to feel positive and confident about the next networking opportunity.

Grab a pen and paper, then spend 5-10 minutes answering the following questions:

What assumptions am I making that are stopping me from feeling positive and confident about networking?

After your first wave of answers, push yourself further by asking yourself:

What else might I be assuming that is stopping me from feeling positive and confident about networking?

Keep asking this same question until you have flushed out as many assumptions as you can. When you are finished, move onto the following question.

Of the assumptions I have listed, or any others, what am I assuming the most that is stopping me from feeling positive and confident about networking?

Write it down and circle it.

Step 3: Testing your Assumption In this step, let’s see if the key assumption that is most stopping you from feeling positive and confident about your next networking event is in fact true – or not.

Apply this exercise to the assumption you have just identified as the one which is stopping you the most in Step 2.

Answer the following questions: Do you think it is true that… (insert your assumption) What are your reasons for thinking so?

Step 4: Identifying A Liberating Assumption In this step, we are going to help you identify a more liberating assumption that allows you to move forward in your networking journey.

If you answered ‘no’ to the question “Do you think it is true that…(insert your assumption)” in Step 3, then ask yourself this:

If it is not true that (insert your untrue assumption), name something that you think is true and liberating instead. Jot down your new true and liberating assumption.

If you answered ‘yes’ to the question “Do you think it is true that…(insert your assumption)” in Step 3, then ask yourself this:

You want to feel positive and confident about your next networking event and you think it is true that (insert your true and liberating assumption) – What could you credibly assume instead in order to move forward?

Jot down an alternative true and liberating assumption.

Step 5: Embed Your New Assumption In this final step, we are going to embed your new true and liberating assumption to help you lean into the outcome of feeling more positive and confident about your next networking event.

Defining your untrue and self-limiting assumptions that you hold about yourself, as well as others and the world around you, is important to moving forward in any situation; including networking. The more you repeat this exercise, identifying and challenging your limiting assumptions, the more you will be able to become confident in and enjoy your networking.

© AllBright 2020
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Sisterhood Works: How to Build a More Meaningful Network

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