Let's begin by talking about connection. As human beings, we are wired for connection - it's in our DNA. As entrepreneurs, the value of connection magnifies. Networking, a form of connection, plays a pivotal role in our journey towards building successful businesses. Yet, it's not always easy. It requires vulnerability, courage, and trust, or what I often refer to as 'Braving.'
What is Braving?
Braving is a concept I use to outline the key components of trusting relationships, whether they're with our clients, partners, or fellow entrepreneurs. Each letter in 'Braving' stands for a different aspect: Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Non-judgment, and Generosity.
Braving and Networking: How They Connect
Now, let's dig deeper into how each of these facets of Braving can enrich your networking experience.
Boundaries: Networking starts with knowing your boundaries and respecting those of others. It involves clear communication of what's acceptable and what isn't, allowing for mutual respect and understanding.
Reliability: Being reliable is crucial. Can people count on you to do what you say? In networking, showing up consistently and following through on commitments goes a long way in building strong connections.
Accountability: Mistakes happen. Owning up to them, making amends, and learning from them builds trust and shows others you're accountable. It's an invaluable trait when establishing connections in the business world.
Vault: The 'Vault' refers to confidentiality - not divulging information that's not ours to share. In networking, keeping someone's trust is as crucial as earning it. By honoring confidentiality, we foster a safe and trusting environment.
Integrity: In networking, as in life, integrity is choosing courage over comfort, and doing what's right over what's easy or fast. It's about living in alignment with your values, even when no one is watching.
Non-Judgment: Effective networking involves offering and asking for help without judgment. Everyone is on a unique journey with its own set of challenges. A non-judgmental approach enables open conversations and mutual support.
Generosity: Finally, generosity. Assume people are doing the best they can with the tools they have. A generous approach nurtures empathy and understanding, fostering stronger connections.
Braving in Practice
When we practice Braving in our networking efforts, we open doors to authentic and meaningful connections. We build relationships grounded in mutual trust and respect. We create networks that support our growth, resilience, and success as entrepreneurs.
Braving may not be the easiest path, but it's the most rewarding. It asks us to show up, to be seen, and to live our truth. But isn't that why we became entrepreneurs in the first place? To create, to connect, to contribute, and to courageously put ourselves out there?
So, as you continue your entrepreneurial journey, remember the power of Braving. Embrace it in your networking efforts, and watch how it transforms not just your business relationships, but also your journey as an entrepreneur. Here's to Braving the wilderness of entrepreneurship, together.
Now, I'd love to hear from you. How have you practiced 'Braving' in your entrepreneurial journey?
How has it shaped your networking experiences?
Share your stories and insights in the comments below. Let's learn and grow together in this brave space of entrepreneurship.