Leadership Inside Out

Issue 31

🖼️ Reframing to Breakthrough

June 22, 2024

This past week I witnessed a transformation within myself. Change happens over time, often without full awareness of how far we’ve come.

Today’s personal reflection invites you to consider how a few reframes could lead to breakthroughs for yourself.

📖 Since my first internship at an M&B bank in downtown Denver in the early 2000’s, I saw how valuable connections are in getting a job and making my way into the world of professionalism.

“My network” (my aunt’s husband’s cousin) had introduced me to the opportunity where I got to wear professional clothes, take the lightrail downtown and work from the 37th floor in the tallest building in Denver. And yet, the concept of “working my relationships” for personal gain made me uneasy.

In my mind I was a committed learner and hard worker, but not a “strategic networker”. During that first internship I felt more comfortable with the door man vs. asking to be mentored by any of the professionals in the office.

Early in my career when I saw other people “get ahead” by knowing someone in power I was repelled even more by the idea. Relationships are not a commodity. I do not want to get to know you simply because of your positional power. I never want to be someone who uses people. That’s how I thought about networking.

Over the years there have been a number of conversations that expanded my thinking and helped me feel authentic as I expanded my network.

Here are three helpful re-frames when it comes to networking.
  1. I have something to offer. It’s not about getting something. No matter who I’m connecting with, I choose to focus on others instead of my own agenda.
  2. There is a diversity of bonds within this web of human connections. Some are strong ties, some are momentary ties of inspiration and knowledge exchange. Some inspire curiosity or reflection. Others are the long connections that create collaborations, shared meals, and deeper support on this journey called life.
  3. It’s about community. When I drop the notion that networking is about getting something for myself and instead grow relationships from a community building framework it feels fun and life giving.

This past week I traveled to Seattle for the AFP NW conference to speak on a panel about Radical Shifts in Leadership needed within the social impact sector (I.e. Let’s stop normalizing burnout and martyrdom). The opportunity came about through my network, or people I call friends, in which I had built authentic relationships. Throughout the conference I was able to be myself and simply enjoy being in community.

Friday afternoon as I made my way to the airport I felt my heart completely FULL. I had made genuine connections. I offered my perspective, presence, and genuine desire to serve and connect.

In technical terms, I spent my time in Seattle “networking”, but nothing about it felt like the old ick that I used to experience. I was myself, I was there to offer what I do, and I accepted the joy of human connection. I wish my 20 year old self knew this was possible.

Over the past several years I worked within coaching to transform my mental hangups on networking and I am grateful that through that work I have found a way to bring all of myself into building connections that enrich my business and life.

I’m happy to meet powerful organizational leaders, and popular podcasters AND I will always honor and respect the conference kitchen staff and the airport janitors and everyone in between just as much because human connection is my value and nothing changes that.

Perhaps networking isn’t your particular hurdle. Whatever the hurdle, there are ways to reframe and learn a way that FEELS good and authentic as you pursue your purpose living out your potential.

Reflection Questions:

  • How could you reframe that one thing that seems to be a hangup for you?
  • What personal values and authentic way of being support the reframe you are seeking?

Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of being who you think you are supposed to be.

You belong in any room you enter.

— Shonda Rhimes

When I think of these 2 quotes by the prolific Shonda Rhimes I feel inspired to throw out any imposter syndrome or mental hangup that keep me from offering my perspective and gifts to the world.

Shonda is the first Black woman creator and executive producer of a top 10 network television series, the mega-hit Grey’s Anatomy. She’s also the creator of Scandal and the executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder and Bridgerton.

Resource for My Fundraising Friends:

How you FEEL about work matters. If you are stuck in overwhelm, pessimism, or fear, I guarantee the work will be hard.

​What if you felt that year-end could be enjoyable?

I teamed up with Jess Campbell and 19 other fundraising support partners to provide a year-end fundraising bundle of tools and tactics.

I contributed my Mindset First for an Enjoyable Year-End video training and workshop.

Check out this bundle & get your hands on resources to jumpstart your year-end fundraising.

Con Amor, Sonya​

Your journey is unique. The fear or mental hang ups are not.

Explore how my coaching can provide support and encouragement in your journey today.