Are you an introvert?

A lot of the people who follow me identify this way.  A focus on the intersection of mindsets and time management requires an obsession with all the messy internal stuff. Who finds all of that fascinating? Introverts.

When it’s time for us to grow our business. lots of us introverts are uncomfortable with social aspects like networking, creating partnerships, running events, and speaking.

For some introverts, these things can feel downright daunting.

In fact, these things may feel like they go against your very nature. And who wants to do that?  No one… unless they can be done authentically, in a way that feels aligned with your values and infused with integrityAnd, as a fellow introvert, I’m here to tell you: when you find the right partners, the community you create is the golden ticket to the growth you’re looking for.

So, how can we create a powerful, fun-loving network that will turbocharge our growth?

Start by viewing the world through the right lens

You have a choice: you can view your business world – and your place in it – as competitive or collaborative. And obviously, I have an opinion on which one is better!

If you take a competitive approach, then you will see other business owners as people who might take away your clients. Sharing what you know or hearing about what your “competition” has learned can feel threatening, and your world (and options!) will remain small.

If you switch up your lens and view your professional life as a socially collaborative one, your options will rapidly expand. As you share what you know, refer out to other great businesses, and find opportunities to work together with others, they will do the same for you.

Most people respond to each other through the process of social matching, which means if that’s the signal you send out, that’s the response you’ll get back. Your prophecy will be, inevitably, self-fulfilled.

Basically: You treat the world either competitively or collaboratively, and the world responds in kind.

Not only that, you’ll enjoy your work a TON more.  Cultivating a powerful network takes some effort, but it’s going to be SO worth it. (And don’t worry, I got your back).

Think of it as joining a club full of introverted nerds just like you.

(Am I projecting my own nerdiness onto you?  Maybe.)

You get the benefits of other people’s knowledge and experience and you can share yours with people who are just as fascinated by the details and nuances as you are.

But wait! There’s more …

How to make yourself a top-of-the-pile expert?  Refer out.

In a  professional community, you’re part of a pool of people who can all help each other do their best work by referring people to the business that is right for them. Giving and getting referrals expands everybody’s network.

When you send clients to other amazing people, even if you don’t always get that referral back, you’re MORE of an expert. Why? Because you’re not the kind of person who would steer someone wrong just to get a leg up on somebody else.

That creates trust–both with the client and with the therapist to whom you are referring.

Also, that strong network of yours frees you from taking jobs that aren’t the best fit for you, too. If you can say, “That’s not my specialty, but I know someone who’s an expert,” then you’re not only helping two people – the client and the other business owner – you really are helping yourself.

This all comes down to the difference between a mindset rooted in scarcity (where you have to compete for a small number of customers) to one rooted in abundance. There is work for everyone, whether you’re in a city of ten million, or a town of thirty thousand.

Collaborate, don’t compete, and everybody wins.

participating in a professional community

Business is fundamentally an ecosystem

No one is meant to be everything to everyone. Instead, a good ecosystem allows everyone to do what they are best suited to do well.

Lots of other business owners already understand this. My plumber knows a good window guy. My babysitter knows a pet sitter. And my electrician knows when something is outside her area of expertise, so she recommends someone else she knows is really good.

Like those professionals, you must connect with your own channel partners – other people who want to get your ideal client in a room, too, because they also have something to offer them.

Are you a marriage counselor? You can connect with lawyers who do prenups. Are you a speaker? Anyone who booked you before might be a good referral for someone else who speaks on a similar topic.

Get creative with your thinking.

When you put all of this together, those networking events suddenly seem a whole lot more appealing, right?

Join a vetted, powerful network today in the Great Work Community

About the author

Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist and business coach who helps accidental entrepreneurs get more clients and have a bigger impact. She is the author of Great Work, the host of the Unleashing Your Great Work podcast, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda's TEDx talk has received almost two million views and has been featured on TED's Ideas blog and Ted Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.