The Power of ‘Really’ Showing Up

Amazing things happen when you show up in your life and work.  And I mean SHOW UP.  Not simply exist, but make your presence known and participate in the conversation.

The best example I can give is from a recent experience that I had.

Last month, I attended the Massachusetts Conference for Women.  8,000+ women descended upon the Boston Convention Center for a day of learning and inspiration.  The first breakout session I attended was a talk delivered by Author Whitney Johnson entitled “The Disruptive Innovation of You.”

I loved her talk, and during the Q&A I stood up, introduced myself as a disruptor in the legal field, and asked her a question.  She politely answered it, and moved on.

What happened next completely shocked me.

Ms. Johnson’s publisher rushed over to me and handed me her card.  She told me that she’s working with an author on a book about disrupting the legal industry and that I need to talk to her author.

The next day I emailed the publisher with a quick introduction email expanding upon our brief conversation.  The author got in touch with me.  It turns out she is not only writing a book, but she is teaching law and entrepreneurship at a local university and needs someone to teach the class on intellectual property this semester.

In no way could I have predicted that my asking a question about feeling lonely and scared as an entrepreneur would lead to me possibly teaching a class at a major business school in Boston.  The notion that something like this could happen, because I asked a question, intrigued me.  So I decided as part of my New Year’s objectives that I would dare to show up more, rather than be a wallflower on social media and at networking events.

And here’s how that’s going.

Yesterday, I saw a tweet from an attorney about a Start-up Weekend on Cape Cod.  I retweeted it to my followers. Then I emailed the attorney asking “How can I help?”  He then introduced me to the organizer of the event.  The Organizer and I will be talking next week about me being a judge and/or mentor at the event in March.

Fast forward to this morning.  I attended a brand new start-up coffee get together in Providence.  The man sitting next to me introduces himself as someone who is involved in Start-up Weekend Providence and Boston.  I ask him if he knows about Startup Weekend Cape Cod.  No, he doesn’t.  So I introduce him via email to the Organizer.  (You have to love Smart Phones!)

He then asks me what I do.  I tell him about my mission to provide an intellectual property education to entrepreneurs.   It turns out that he works with a professor at a local RI university and mentors her entrepreneurship students once a month.  She has NO ONE to help her with the intellectual property questions that her students have, so he introduced me to the professor.

Rather than just passively retweeting something I saw and then going to the Startup Weekend website for more information, I actively engaged the attorney.

Rather than submitting an application to be a judge to an anonymous inbox, I got a personal introduction which moved the conversation forward.

Rather than telling my new connection “Oh, there’s an event on Cape Cod you should know about”, I was able to make an introduction.  That increased the level of our interaction, and I believe that made him open to making an introduction for me.

Seriously, amazing things happen when you really show up.

Think about how you could be using this technique in your own practice to get referrals, contacts, and clients.  Rather than “like” someone’s post or simply retweet something to your followers, actively engage the author.  Start a conversation.  No one’s going to make a great introduction because you retweeted their tweet.  They should say ‘Thank You’, but they’re not going to go the extra step.

I am making a conscious effort to show up and engage in 2013.  How about you?  Will you join me and step out of your safe, comfort-zone and engage your friends and followers?

I’m still not sure what will happen from all of this but just having these opportunities feels amazing.  I am so excited for 2013.  I know it’s going to be a good year.

All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.

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