Networking that doesn't feel like networking.
Yesterday, I got to meet my new friend, Juyeun of Pulflower LA. I found a sweet, kindred spirit with whom I shared many similarities with: we both hailed from Asia, studied art, and both work/worked in an agency.
At this point of my intro, it’s important for me to give a bit of context on how this meeting came about. You see, I’m shy. No one ever believes it, but a room full of strangers sends me on this adrenaline high, paralleling emotions I still can’t quite understand. They feel like a mixture of the fight/flight concoction. In order to “survive,” I find myself cutting off the nerves and transforming into this incredibly outgoing and seemingly confident being - hence the misconceptions. The girl who wishes she was at home reading a book gets abruptly tucked into my back pocket as I dive headfirst into social gatherings.
Anyway, you can imagine that the word “networking” grosses me out. But as a chronic learner, there’s no avoiding it. If I want to learn, I constantly have to expand my reach. This goes for both skills and my network of people. So began the quest of learning how to cope better in social settings. To not be so nervous, to lose the thoughts of “what if I run out of things to say / what if it it gets awkward / what if they don’t like me?…etc.”
I started listening to “Work Life” by Adam Grant and it’s been eye-opening, to say the least. The latest episode was aptly titled “Networking for those who don’t like networking.” BOOM, BABY. I knew there was treasure hiding in this episode, and the more it progressed, the more I felt like Aladdin walking deeper into that gold-filled cave of secrets. My biggest takeaway? Meet people with the intention of helping them. For example:
Ask them what their current challenges are.
Ask them about obstacles they overcame in their journey.
Ask them what their future goals are and if there’s any way you can help them accomplish it.
That’s how it’s done folks.
Coincidentally, I had just reached out to Jyeun after finding her account on IG. I was attracted by how unique and creative her arrangements were. As I scrolled through her images, i noticed that she didn’t have any products featured with her abundance of beautiful flowers. “Having items to ground her florals would create a fuller composition,” I thought to myself. But here I was, on the other side of the screen, with products to shoot and no florals to pair them with.
I messaged her right away and proposed a collaboration! She was on board, and today we got to meet in person. Guess what? She lives in the same city where I work. WOW.
You see, I had zero hesitation in “networking” with Juyeun because I knew that I could provide something she might need. I sought her out to help her, and now she also helps me in return as a bonus. It’s a beautiful thing to approach the world in this way, I think. All of us seeing how we can serve each other and give to each other in meaningful ways. We ended up having a great time and I was a total creeper who took photos of all her beautiful things as you’ll see below.
Stay tuned for our Pulflower LA x Velvet and Gold’s Collab. I promise it will be worth the wait ;)