We’ve all heard the expression, “Kids say the darnedest things”, right?
Sometimes those things are embarrassing, sometimes hilarious, sometimes they sting (due to the truth behind them), and sometimes they really get the wheels spinning in your head.
“Mom, you don’t have any friends.”
Ouch! While said in jest by my teenage daughter a few years ago, this was one of those times where the wheels started spinning! I know she was just teasing me, but the statement was truly instrumental in me making some major life changes.
For starters, it made me take a long, hard look at my j-o-b. While my day-to-day job was fine, I enjoyed it for the most part, the company, and overall industry that I supported, was simply not one I was proud of. I looked around and noticed that I was giving much more of my energy to an employer that I didn’t enjoy or trust, spent more time with people that I was basically assigned to partner with, than my own family. I felt my priorities were out of the alignment with what I was wanting for my life.
Fast forward to leaving that employer, and the corporate world all together, and entering the world of entrepreneurism. Now I get to partner, collaborate, and surround myself with people of my own choosing and it is simply refreshing!
In the course of networking and building my business, I befriended a woman and we started chatting occasionally and meeting for coffee every few months. During one of those coffee dates, we started talking about networking, as she had recently embarked on a new business venture of her own. Each of us were looking for ways to increase our reach, meet more people, make new friends.
A few coffee dates later, an idea was born to start a local women’s group! At first, we were focusing on networking. That made sense for two new entrepreneurs, right? But in one of our brainstorming sessions, the question arose, “What would make you want to go out in the evening, say after a long day of work?” For me the answer was quite simple, and it wasn’t to attend yet another formal networking group. It was simply to meet new people and form new friendships. (Remember, “Mom, you don’t have any friends” was lingering in the back of my brain!)
I think as grown women, it is sometimes difficult to make new friends. As a military spouse, I’ve been forced to figure it out, otherwise I would have led a very lonely adult life. But for many women, they simply go to work, take care of their family, and that’s it. They may be friends with neighbors and other moms from their children’s various sport teams, but again, those “friendships” may feel forced, the same way work colleagues often feel. The connections are made for you and are not necessarily of your choosing.
So, we sat down and drafted a mission statement: We are a fun and caring community of local women coming together to develop friendships, share ideas, support, encourage, and network. We decided on a name, had a friend design a logo, threw up a Facebook page, and started planning events. BOOM, it truly was that simple, Chick Clique was born!
If you are in any type of relationship driven business, expanding your reach and making new connections is essential. For me, I’m not simply looking to meet people to give my “pitch” to. I’m looking to make real connections with people, get to know them, listen to their needs, their frustrations, their dreams, etc. If I can help by offering one of my services or products to them, that is great. If not, that is fine too. My hope is that I’ve developed a new friendship, or in the very least, been a resource to them, instrumental in them meeting new people and developing their own new friendships, uplifting and encouraging them along the way.
So, the next time your child says something to you that strikes a nerve, sit with it for a while. Ponder whether that message was sent to you for a reason. I know my life has been enriched in the few short months since starting this local women’s social group. The “icing on the cake” for me is when other women thank me for starting this group, organizing our events, etc. I’ve realized that I was not the only woman craving a community of fun and caring women looking to develop friendships, share ideas, support and encourage each other.